New home for Maritime Academy of ToledoWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
The Maritime Academy of Toledo is now operating out of its new home in the former maritime union building on Water Street in Downtown Toledo.
The Maritime Academy moved into the state-of-the-art marine training facility which it is leasing from the American Maritime Officers Plan (AMOP).
“We now have the best marine educational facilities in the country,” Superintendent Renee Marazon said.
She reported that the AMOP came to the academy about using the training facilities and left all the equipment and simulators for the students to use.
The Maritime Academy is a tuition-free public charter school for students in grades five through 12 and also offers certification training for adults in the maritime industry. The academy was founded in 2005 and previously operated out of a Downtown building on Monroe Street.
Today, 193 middle and high school students are studying marine subjects, learning to navigate a Great Lakes freighter or to play the steel drums in the school band, all while preparing for college and a possible career in the shipping industry.
The new facility offers students an education using maritime and nautical themes in traditional subjects with hands-on learning in a boat building laboratory, two navigation simulators, ship-size galley, commercial laundry, and other hospitality amenities for potential positions on cruise ships and freighters.
The curriculum at the academy focuses on one of the world’s most valuable resources, the navigable waterways of the Great Lakes, its islands, rivers, ecosystems, food chain and supply, recreation and impact on the region’s economy.
“Our challenging curriculum and strong code of conduct set high standards for our students,” Marazon said. “We support our students with individualized attention and hands-on learning opportunities that keep them engaged.”
Quincy Cunningham is an example of many students who are taking advantage of the educational opportunities at the Maritime Academy. He was once a shy child who struggled with reading comprehension, Marazon said.
“It opened a lot of opportunities for me and helped me to pursue a career as a veterinarian for large mammals,” Cunningham said.
“When students have a passion for what they want to do, we help them pursue it,” Marazon said.
After four years at the academy, Cunningham will graduate at the top of his class having earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He plans to attend Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.
His mom, Patrece Tolbert, credits the one-on-one attention and hands-on learning experiences he received at the maritime academy for his success.
“We learn more here from better teachers who work with students one-on-one with hands-on training,” said Daryl Winfree, a junior from Toledo.
“There’s more attention focused on individual students in smaller classes,” said William Moore, a senior from Toledo, who plans to join the Marine Corps after graduation in June.
The Maritime Academy has a staff of 30 professionals, including a licensed career tech instructor who happens to be a licensed sea captain as well, Marazon said.
Rick Brown, instructor and marine CTE program director, heads a three-year career tech program for the students who also attend classes at Owens Community College. Students can earn up to 24 credit hours toward an associate degree, Brown said.
The Maritime Academy of Toledo is one of only 18 maritime academies in the U.S., the only one on the Great Lakes and only middle and high school combination, Marazon said.
The academy also serves an important role in retraining adult mariners and educating adults seeking to begin new careers in the maritime industry, she said.
Marazon said the academy hosted its first fundraiser, an Admiral’s Ball and Silent Auction, on April 16 with a theme based on the sinking of Titanic. The use of the facility’s indoor pool and movie theater are being auctioned for company or family parties.
The fundraiser will educate attendees about a capital campaign to raise $2.5 million by the end of 2012 for the purpose of purchasing the building from the American Mariners Organization.
Marazon said the academy is planning a Fourth of July Picnic for 30 select people with a balcony barbecue and excellent vantage point for viewing the annual fireworks display on the Maumee River.
The fundraising events are sponsored by the Maritime Academy of Toledo Foundation, a nonprofit 501-C3 organization, which oversees the operation of the charter school and promotes adult job training programs in the maritime industry.
The Maritime Academy has the capacity for another 100 students at its current location. Parents interested in obtaining information about the academy or touring the facility may contact the academy at (419) 244-9999 to arrange a meeting or go to www.maritimeacademy.us.