Middle schoolers set sail across Teardrop Lake in cardboard boat

On May 4, with plastic-wrapped paddles fashioned from lacrosse sticks, five students and history instructor LT Kevin Bissmeyer set sail across Teardrop Lake in a cardboard boat.

Cadets who braved the maiden voyage were seventh grader Robert Abbott and eighth graders Kevyn Bruce, Jordan Hornick, Isaac Gastelum and Nehemiah Simmons.

painting“The boys designed and built the boat themselves, with a little help from myself and Coach Bissmeyer,” CPT John Noel said. “We used over 600 yards of Duct Tape, three gallons of Elmer’s glue and over 150 pounds of cardboard.”

According to Noel, the project was devised to simulate the famous crossing of the Delaware River by George Washington. The attack, which was depicted in a well-known painting by Emanuel Leutze, IMG_20160428_215108_123surprised the Hessian and British forces in 1776 during the Revolutionary War.

“Named The Christmas Nightmare after the events of the Battle of Trenton, which occurred on Christmas, this cardboard beauty was constructed sporadically over a two month period by the 8th grade social studies classes of CPT Noel and myself,” Bissmeyer said.

Cadets originally intended to participate in the Float for the Food Bank race April 30 but
were unable to attend due to inclement weather.
28_best_bissmeyer_hornick_simmons_gastelum_abbottThe boat sailed for 6 minutes and 27 seconds before it was dragged ashore by “deck hand” Guido Arredondo ’20. The vessel teetered a few times during the voyage, but no passengers fell into the water.

“I didn’t know cardboard could float,” onlooker freshman Sergio Contreras said. “It was fantastic how it could actually float.”

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF THE BOAT PROJECT?

Building the boat was hard and took time and patience — waiting for the glue to dry and cutting everything out and putting Duct Tape on. Kevyn Bruce ’20

The hardest part was when we first started, because we didn’t have an idea of what should we do. Enrique Acevedo ’20

Building the skeleton of the boat. We had to make sure it was super stable. Jordan Hornick ’20

group_hornick_simmons_gastelumi_abbott_bissmeyer_bruce_arredondoDID YOU EXPECT THE BOAT TO SINK?
WHY OR WHY NOT?

I thought it would sink. Michael Naughton ’20

After I saw the boat was complete, it looked sturdy and huge so I knew the boat would float. Kevyn Bruce ’20

I expected it to float, but only for a short bit of time. Jordan Hornick ’20

Yes, because was cardboard and there were a lot of people in the boat. Enrique Acevedo ’20

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN THE BOAT MADE IT TO LAND?

8I was proud of … the boat and it was a success. Kevyn Bruce ’20

Surprised. I didn’t think we would’ve made it that far. Jordan Hornick ’20

I felt great because the boat didn’t sink and it was worth it. Enrique Acevedo ’20

For video of the boat launch, click here.