On Friday, 5th of April, 2019, the NPO, PROJECT CONNECT’s Adopt-a-Ship (AaS) committee organized the 2nd meeting between the teachers, Piraeus school board & special programs heads and the shipping representatives who are participating in the AaS program, held at the Piraeus Marine Club.
The meeting commenced with Dr. Adamantia Spanaka, Tutor-Counselor at Hellenic Open University and Founder of Logos2Learn excellent presentation about why AaS is relevant and ended with a question and answer game for the teachers to collect ideas about the further implementation and the evaluation of the program.
The teachers from the 7 schools each reported their experiences and progress with this new program. They described the enthusiastic 5th & 6th graders who were so inspired they produced lots of artwork, songs, books and even a school play around shipping. For example, they created a big red book and school play made by the primary grade school of the Athens College Grade in Cantza directed by their teacher Chrysostomos Lefteratos.
The teachers confessed their own amazement at the caliber of the correspondence from the Captains of the vessels, how polite, caring and willing they had been to share their sea life experiences and knowledge about their work and their families with the school children. The children get a chance to practice their English, responded Mr Nikas, President of the Piraeus Elementary school district, when a teacher stated the only obstacle his class found, was the correspondence was in English. Although there are 2 Greek speaking Captains enrolled, the remaining five are English speaking masters.
Two of the Seven shipping companies participating in the program were represented and seemed very interested. Mr George Gourdomichalis, Managing Director of Phoenix Shipping & Trading S.A., spoke encouraging thoughts. Phoenix has provided 2 managed vessels to the program, one assigned to public school and one assigned to a private one.
The first vessel enrolled was by Ariston Navigation. Its Crew Manager, Captain Panagiotis Katsivardelos was there and expressed that they are available to the teachers for any guidance that will be helpful.
Adopt a Ship is a project-based learning program specially geared for young elementary age school children, to learn about an exciting industry called shipping and the sea environment. One school teacher said, first, it is important to note that the students got excited when they learned they would “adopt” a whole ship, for the school year.
Non-for-profit, PROJECT CONNECT, manages the project in Greece because it sees the positive impact it has on everyone involved (teachers, students, families & shipping) and that this has been the missing link for communicating what Shipping is about. It clearly opens children’s horizon’s, and this is what PROJECT CONNECT is all about — offering hope and opportunities to young Greece, while sustaining excellence and promoting the success story of Greek Shipping, said Effie Kotika, member of Project Connect and coordinator of AaS.
Besides having received the authorization of the Ministry of Education, PROJECT CONNECT achieved the official endorsement from the Ministry of Shipping because of the relevant subject matter.
Greek shipping is one of the largest in the world and offers great potential to future Greek seafarers, said Mr George Tsavliris, Honorary Chairman of Project Connect and President of CYMEPA that manages and implements AaS in Cyprus on behalf of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC).
Ms. Notias, founder of PROJECT CONNECT, who also runs a Bunker broker business, thanked her cronies and clients for their keen willingness to support. These are shipping companies such as: Ariston Navigation, Phoenix Shipping & Trading, Medferry Shipping, Apollonia, Starbulk, Lotus Shipping and Eurobulk, who enrolled their vessels, Lotus Shipping, Dynamarine, the Hellenic Short Sea Association and the Propeller Club of Piraeus who paid for the IMO Route Maps that are distributed to each class, so they can follow the vessel all over the globe. Elnavi, Greek Shipping Miracle, All About Shipping, Piraeus365, Maritimes.gr, Shipping, Crisis Monitor for their promoting this beautiful gift to the children made possible by the captains themselves who take the time to correspond and share.
Ms Notias said, she believes credit must be given where credit is due. Special thanks goes to University of Piraeus Shipping graduate 2018, Ms. Despoina Tourtoglou, who volunteered her time to create the Little Adopt a Ship Greek maritime booklet and CYMEPA’s Secretary General, Mr Michael Ierides and Mr Alex Josephides, Cyprus Shipping Chamber, who have offered all the guidance and necessary AaS teachers material, to get this jump started in Greece.
Ms. Notias invites all Greek ship owning and trade associations to join Adopt-a-Ship, by end May 2019, for the next school year. She informs, “There are 19 schools waiting in line, for ships right and we don’t want to let the classes down.”
She said, “It is in our shipping industry’s best interests to — together — help see this thru, in Greece. On another note, we have embarked on a journey to brand shipping thru this program while the children’s ”sea voyage” experiences thru the Captains are embedded in their minds and inevitably become a topic of conversation at the family dinner table.”
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AaS volunteer coordinators, Effie Kotika and Fani Tseliou will respond accordingly.
For more details PROJECT CONNECT’s www.project-connect.gr