Ponderosa High School and Career Training Center
Alternative Education Schools
Alternative Education Students Gain Career and Life Skills through Ponderosa High School’s Boat Works Program
By Students Andrew Lemus and Brianna Villar
Ponderosa Boat Works is located on the campus of Ponderosa High School and Green Careers Center in Ben Lomond. It is an Alternative Education classroom, working under the umbrella of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and closely affiliated to the Regional Occupational Program. The program is designed to raise student awareness of possible careers in Santa Cruz County’s maritime industry while repairing, restoring and building boats on the Ponderosa campus. Once repaired, restored or built, the students launch the same vessels and become proficient in handling them in open water.
Ponderosa Boat Works has already completed a small rowing dinghy, Smalls, (launched December 7, 2012) and has made repairs to four other El Toro prams*, enabling them to row the vessels at numerous ash breeze** regattas. Monthly field trips have exposed the students to the business side of our county’s marine industry. Speakers from Down Under Dive Service, Ballinger’s Rigging, Pacific Yachting, and the Santa Cruz Port Authority have graciously allowed students to visit and learn about their specific maritime operations. Paul Tara, local sailing legend, has visited the school and provided Power Point presentations about marine safety and navigation, as well as the history of sailing.
Currently the Ponderosa Boat Works is putting the finishing touches on a double hulled Fiberglass El Toro for a south county sailor. They are progressing on a 1910 Kennebec (a canoe company still in operation) canvas covered canoe, where it is hoped that the owner will come and direct the recanvasing of the vessel. Their next restoration, Almost Zen, a 1970's El Toro/tender* made from mostly recycled and salvaged parts, is now in its reconstruction phase and it is hoped to be ready for rowing and sailing by the year end regatta. The Boats Works is also refinishing paddles and iokas** for the Santa Cruz Outrigger Club, where once a month they practice with the club, aiming towards a possible coeducational entry in the Aloha Days Outrigger Regatta in Santa Cruz this August.