Sturgis Sets Sail

By Chris Beard, Sturgis Sailing Coach

[Editor’s Note] In the original charter for Sturgis Charter Public School, the founders proposed the school would “take full advantage of Cape Cod’s marine environment and maritime heritage.” Thus, nautical traditions play a key role in school culture. The founders named the school for Barnstable shipmaster,  Captain William Sturgis (1782-1863), and chose a sextant for its logo. Just as William Sturgis signed on board for his first voyage, freshmen “sign on for a term of duty,” signifying their request to begin the voyage.  At the end of each graduation ceremony, seniors “sign out” next to their original signature, signifying completion of the voyage.  Science field trips provide opportunities for students to explore the marine environment of Cape Cod. The goal is to raise student awareness  of the importance of estuaries, provide students with experience by actively participating in true collaborative science research, and to utilize previous skills learned in classrooms.

What’s missing from the above description of Sturgis maritime heritage? Sailing! When new students come to Sturgis, they are strongly encouraged to take part in clubs and activities. If they don’t find a club that meets their interests, they can propose one. Once the proposal is approved, the next step is finding a faculty advisor and recruiting students. Despite strong interest in nautical traditions since our founding, it is only in recent years that students from East and West campuses joined together to create a student initiated sailing club. Together with the help of faculty advisers Amy Peterson, Nick Conti, Rich Mathews, parents Merrily Coyne and Kristi Trelegen, students were able to establish the club in 2012 through donations and fundraisers. Thanks to their vision and hard work, the Sturgis Sailing Club is now entering its fourth season.

Many students who grow up on Cape Cod have numerous opportunities to enjoy the ocean and learn about the Cape’s rich maritime traditions. During the summer, local community recreation centers and yacht clubs provide opportunities for young boys and girls to learn to sail, develop racing skills and compete against top competition during racing events. High school sailing teams provide another excellent outlet for competitive team racing during the spring.

Sturgis student sailors wanted the opportunity to participate and compete in the Cape & Islands high school sailing league which is part of New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA). Most high schools on Cape Cod enjoy the benefit of sailing programs. The Cape and Islands League was established about 25 years ago and now includes 13 teams: Bishop Stang, Barnstable, Dartmouth, Dennis-Yarmouth, Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, Monomoy, Nantucket, Nauset, Old Rochester, Sandwich, St. John Paul and Sturgis.

Chris Beard – Sailing Coach

As a new faculty member at Sturgis in 2014, I was happy to join the team as their coach. I inherited a great group of students who were not only motivated but also terrific sailors. Similar to the students, I benefited from early sailing experiences growing up in Bar Harbor, Maine where I developed a love for the ocean and the outdoors as a child. I began teaching sailing as a junior in high school and it was these early experiences and passion for teaching which led me to pursue a career in education.

Sturgis Sailing Club members are very proud of how far they have come in just a few years. By establishing a sailing team at Sturgis they have created an opportunity for themselves to enjoy something they love as well as passing on the team to future generations of sailors at Sturgis:

“During the fall of my freshman year I met a few other students who shared my love for sailing and together we started the Sturgis Sailing Club. We made connections and raised enough money over the years to be a competitive team on the water each season. Sailing each spring has definitely been the highlight of my high school experience.”- Hannah Trelegan, Sturgis East, Class of 2016

“Seeing the team succeed is a point of personal pride because of how far I’ve seen it grow since I was a freshman. I’m very proud of what we made of this team and I’m excited to see where it will go in the future.” – Molly Rowland, Sturgis West, Class of 2017

“It was JFK  who once said “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.” That sentiment rings doubly true for Sturgis….The lessons of independence, teamwork,  problem solving, and risk management learned on the water pay dividends far beyond the race course….I have already witnessed the development of these qualities in peers learning to sail and navigate. – Holden Ramage, Sturgis East, Class of 2017

“Sailing is also a method to accelerate my mind, and test my finesse to think fast, and figure out ways to sail fast. Additionally, it synergizes teamwork with creativity.” – Travis Sroczenski, Sturgis West, Class of 2017

“Sailing means a lot to me. When I am sailing I feel in control, strong, and most of all, I feel free.” – Ella Strano, Sturgis West class of 2019

Now entering our fourth season, Sturgis sailors are looking to continue their momentum and success as a club. The club will host its annual Dinner and Silent Auction Fundraiser on Friday, April 8th. Appropriately, this year’s fundraiser will take place at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis, which has generously offered to donate their beautiful venue for the event. Sturgis Sailing Club is appreciative of the maritime history reflected by Sturgis namesake Captain William Sturgis and pleased to host our fundraiser in a space that pays tribute to Cape Cod’s rich maritime history. If you are interested in attending, tickets are $15 per person. All proceeds will support operation costs of Sturgis Sailing Club.

Sturgis Sailing Schedule 2016

Sailing Club Videos

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