time-lapse of whaleboat construction
mouse over the images to read their bios
Anajess joined Rocking the Boat in September, 2011, as an On-Water student but switched to Boatbuilding after a year. She is a 17-year old senior at Hyde Leadership Charter School in Hunts Point.
"At the end of the project I can say that I took part in building something amazing. I'll know I helped build that for the rest of my life."
Alyssa, a 16-year old junior at Aquinas High School in the Bronx, joined Rocking the Boat in March, 2012. Alyssa's strong interests in making art and music translate naturally into her fascination with the boatbuilding process.
Sekou, the veteran of the group, Sekou arrived as a refuge from Liberia in 2009 and joined Rocking the Boat two months later. He is an 18-year old senior at Bronx International High School.
"The whaleboat is in my mind always. I take it personally. It's my goal — I have to finish it. You always got to finish what you start."
Jennifer, 17, is a senior at Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School in the Bronx and older sister of Jessica. She followed in her brother Danny's footsteps and joined Rocking the Boat in summer, 2010.
"I'm finally starting to see some progress, finally seeing the shape and it feels like we're getting closer to finishing. It feels amazing!"
Jessica, 16, a junior at Central Park East High School in Manhattan, joined Rocking the Boat at the same time as her older sister, Jennifer. All three Martinez siblings were together at Rocking the Boat for close to one year.
"Working on the whale boat has inspired me to live in a brighter future, acknowledging the fact that I created something so huge, with great people. Working well with others which brought us together as a family."
Diana joined the Boatbuilding Program in July, 2011 and became an Apprentice a year later. Her involvement as a Boatbuilder and exposure to the On-Water Program have helped broaden Diana's perspective on her classes at the High School for Environmental Studies in Manhattan, and she would like to pursue a career in environmental engineering.
"Working on the whale boat has allowed me to break out of my shell and has taught me skills that will benefit me in the future. Building this whale boat has kept me devoted and committed... I can strive for anything and know that I can accomplish my goals."
Natividad joined Rocking the Boat in September, 2011. The oldest of five children, she is a 17-year old junior at Hyde Leadership Charter School.
"Working on the whaleboat at Rocking the Boat is the highlight of my day. It relieves my stress and has increased my patience. Also, guys think girls can't use tools. This is a way to prove them wrong!"
Edmanuel grew up in the apartment directly above Rocking the Boat's former shop. It was almost inevitable that he would become involved in the Boatbuilding Program and now, several years later, he has joined the full-time staff as the Assistant Boatbuilding Job Skills Program Director.
"This is the biggest boat I've ever worked on. I love what I do. It doesn't feel like work—this is a huge part of my life."
Basilous, a 20-year old freshman at Borough of Manhattan Community College, helped build eight wooden boats during his tenure as a student and repaired many more as an Apprentice before starting work on the whaleboat. He is excited to be able to see the project through to its conclusion as a part-time Program Assistant.
"Working on this whaleboat for the Mystic Seaport Museum has been a wonderful experience so far. This is a really important project to us because it is the biggest one we have ever had. We are honored that we were among those who were chosen to do this."