I think it is time for a heartwarming story.
I recently came across a lovely story of a class of junior high school kids that launched a boat out into the Atlantic Ocean in October 2020. The students were from the Rye Junior High School in New Hampshire.
The students built the six-foot-long boat as part of a class assignment that they began working on in 2018. In the cargo area of the boat were artifacts from their town, including fall leaves, a few New Hampshire commemorative quarters, and a GPS tracking device. The students lost track of the boat a few times, but on Jan. 30, the boat came back online. It had arrived in Smola, Norway, a small island near Byrnes.
The kids reached out to officials on the island and told them the story of the little boat. Searchers went out across the island to locate the boat, and on Feb. 1, Karel Nuncic, himself a middle schooler, found it. Not much of the boat was left, the hull and keel were gone, but the deck and the cargo compartment were still intact.
That little boat traveled 8,300 miles in 462 days, enduring hurricanes, loss of GPS signal, gooseneck barnacles, and loss of most of the boat! But, that little boat carried more than just a few trinkets; that little boat carried the hopes and dreams of the kids from Shelia Adams’ class.
This is more than a school project; this is a story of hope. The kids working on the project hoped that the boat would make it somewhere, and it did. Likewise, the teachers had hope that not only would the boat find its way to someplace, but that the kids would learn something along the way, and they did.
When the GPS signal alerted them that the boat had made landfall, they had hoped that someone would find it. Using social media, they posted on the Facebook page of a local hotel, and they were able to make connections with the community. Those who went out looking hoped that they would find the little boat and discover what was inside.
I think we can all use a little bit of that hope right now. We live in some crazy times, and many of us are on edge. Although it has been difficult, I have not given up on hope, and stories like this refresh my desire and hope that all will turn out just fine. That may be a little simplistic, but sometimes the simple things get us through the dark times.
There is a plan for the students from the class in Rye and the class in Norway to speak together about their experiences. I can only imagine that many friendships might come out of this story as hands reach across the Atlantic in friendship.
The Rev. Dr. Peter-Michael Preble is pastor of St. Nicholas United Methodist Church in Hull Village and the Bereavement Coordinator with the Brockton Visiting Nurse Association. Follow him on Twitter @FrPeterPreble
Submitted by the Rev. Dr. Peter-Michael Preble