The Landing School Marine Systems student Robert Blocker helps rig outboards during his internship at Portland Yacht Services in Portland, as part of his practical hours toward graduation. Courtesy photo

ARUNDEL—Students at The Landing School are presenting  final projects and receiving  diplomas over the next few weeks and months despite the numerous obstacles presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, school officials say.

Two weeks ago, students with the Yacht Design Program celebrated a virtual graduation with family, friends, school supporters, board members, faculty, and staff, while the Wooden Boat Building Program planned to host an onsite, socially distanced “model review” on May 22.

To commemorate the event, The Landing School President Richard Downs-Honey visited local students with members of the school’s faculty and board of directors to deliver letters of congratulations and appreciation.

“This year really illustrates the resilience and flexibility of our students and faculty,” said Downs-Honey. “When the COVID-19 crisis hit, most of the students were nearing the end of their classroom work and were launching their hands-on training. We were able to support them through online meetings, shipped materials, and a handful of internships at yards that have been labeled essential businesses.”

Prior to graduation, students must complete a certain number of classroom and practical hours before submitting a capstone project, senior exhibit, or show evidence of proficiency in their line of study, he said.

For the Yacht Design students, this translated to a single boat design that brought together all they’ve learned at the school, while demonstrating a vessel that showcased their individual tastes.

Students in the Yacht Design program at The Landing School in Arundel presented their final projects at a virtual graduation on May 15 Courtesy Photo

The Wooden Boat Building Program allowed its students to work from home on models, with guided instruction.

The Yacht Design Program is eight months, but three of this year’s 10 students are graduating with an associate of applied science degree in marine industry technology after also completing one other program at The Landing School, school officials said in a news release. Students are eligible to pursue bachelor’s degrees through The Landing School’s partner universities.

Overall, the school, established in 1978, has approximately 50 students ranging in age from 18 to 57 in four two-semester programs: Yacht Design, Composite Boat Building, Marine Systems, and Wooden Boat Building. The remaining programs at The Landing School will host graduation ceremonies as permitted in the coming weeks and months.

“We have viewed this academic year as an opportunity to expand how we offer training to our students,” Downs-Honey said. “We look forward to greeting our new students this fall, as we have every year for over 40 years, but with even more open minds about how to train the future of this industry.”

The Landing School has open enrollment and is accepting applications for the 2020–21 academic year.

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