University Prep Schools in Detroit announced a new sailing program in partnership with the Detroit Yacht Club on Friday.
U Prep Schools will offer the four-week class to 25 of its University Prep Science & Math (UPSM) middle and high school students this summer. The school system will pilot the program within the UPSM district, as an extracurricular supplement to the students’ science and engineering coursework. The program, which was made possible by an initial anonymous donation of $100,000, is slated to run from July 7 to August 1.
"We are really looking to change the game when it comes to urban education in Detroit; not only in the classroom, but beyond," said Mark Ornstein, CEO of University Prep Schools, which oversees operations at UPSM and its sister district, University Prep Academy. "University Prep Schools’ students deserve every advantage and opportunity afforded students with significantly more resources. With the help of the community and that of the Detroit Yacht Club, we’re leveling the playing field with this program."
University Prep Schools and the Detroit Yacht Club will launch the program in conjunction with the club’s Junior Sailing Program. UPSM students will learn the basics of the sport from some of the club’s instructors and returning sailing program alumni.
Students were required to apply to participate in UPSM’s inaugural sailing club and were selected based on academics and essays. University Prep Schools received more than 30 applications from across its STEAM district.
"We could not be more thrilled to be able to offer this program in partnership with University Prep Schools," said Commodore Frederick Carr of the Detroit Yacht Club. "As one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious boating clubs, we have always offered our members a robust sailing program. To be able to share that opportunity with students who have a demonstrated interest in the sport and help further their learning in a meaningful way, is truly awesome."
Carr believes the sport can add practical, real-life value to learning beyond the classroom.
The collaboration with Detroit Yacht Club’s Junior Sailing Program will give UPSM students the chance to participate for at least the next five summers. While the anonymous donation will help to fund the start-up costs associated with the program, the school system still needs donations to cover the costs of equipment, life jackets and materials for the students and to maintain the program.
"We couldn’t be more grateful to the Detroit Yacht Club and our generous donor for making this program a reality," said Margaret Trimer-Hartley, Chief External Relations Officer at University Prep Schools. "When people realize the importance of education and how much the little things can change a child’s life, everyone benefits. Sailing is a fun way to infuse rigorous STEM content into an extracurricular activity and demonstrate a practical application of math and science. Such real world connections make learning more powerful, improve retention and stimulate a student's desire to learn more."
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