JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Students at Harbor View Elementary embarked on an exciting journey, one that is helping to form global connections. We’re on James Island for our Cool School of the week.

Mrs. Laughlin’s SAIL Gifted and Talented class purchased a boat from Educational Passages. They put it together with a GPS tracking system. They placed a time capsule inside with items that represent Charleston. The Coast Guard to launch the boat offshore in May. Students tracked the boat all summer and it landed in Ireland in October.

Harbor View Elementary students in the gifted and talented class, appropriately called SAIL have sailed new waters, well sort of. Mrs. Laughlin’s SAIL Gifted and Talented class purchased a sailboat from Educational Passages.

“We put it together. It’s a self-steering, three-meter long sailboat with GPS tracking system on it, and we put together a time capsule of things the students thought that would represent Charleston, and we gave it to the US Coast Guard to launch offshore. They launched it for us last May, and we all tracked it over the summer time, and we came back to school kept on tracking it, and eventually just wound up in Ireland,” Laughlin says.

The sea voyage to County Mayo Ireland took 155 days. Laughin says, “There is a school named Drumgallagh School that has gone through the contents, and has the boat on display right now. It feels great! It’s like a nice international connection. My students are going to be able to communicate with these Irish students eventually and learn a little bit about their culture and teach a little bit about ours.”

Principal Lara Latto says it’s a unique and engaging project that makes learning fun. “It’s very exciting to have that project here at our school and to watch the sailboat travel across the seas. For them, it was learning about the current, and how long it will take for a sailboat to reach another destination, tracking it on the maps, just following along with its adventures. They’re also talking about the different regions as well. I’m sure now they’re learning a lot about Ireland.”

They now have a new view that extends beyond the harbor to around the world. Fifth-grade student Cole Fritz says, “I think it’s really cool that it actually almost hit cliffs in Canada and took a sudden turn and landed in Ireland. I find it very cool that we may be able to communicate with other students across the world.”

Mrs. Laughlin says they are still trying to figure out the next step. They will either go get the boat or have the students in Ireland re-launch it.

Coming up Friday on News 2, we’ll present the Harbor View Sailboats with our Cool School award.

We want to hear about the good things that are going on at your school. Just send an email to Octavia at omitchell@ wcbd.com.