F.D.S.H. Titanic sinks | News, Sports, Jobs


-Photo by Hans Madsen

Nate Opande, 17, a Senior at Fort Dodge Senior High works on getting aboard one of the cardboard boats the iJAG students had constructed and tested Wednesday morning. The vessel took on water and sank.

The fate of the vessel F.D.S.H. Kid President was sealed quickly Wednesday morning as the small cardboard vessel, and its pilot, demonstrated why ships are built with keels.

It immediately capsized, dumping Captain Antonio Martinez, a senior, into the water.

He did not, however, go down with the ship. Instead, he helped remove the sodden lump of cardboard and tape from the water of the Fort Dodge Senior High School pool.

“The boat floats,” he said, “but not with a person in it.”

The boat building was a project in the Iowa Jobs for American Graduates program.

-Photo by Hans Madsen

Contae Futrell, a junior at Fort Dodge Senior High paddles the cardboard watercraft the “Unthinkable” across the pool Wednesday morning. The cardboard, plastic garbage bag and tape construction vessel was the only one that made it across.

Instructor Jerry Ellendson said the students had spent about two weeks working on their designs, constructing the vessels and then finally Wednesday, testing the poolworthiness.

“It’s a short project where they work on teamwork, problem solving and communication,” Ellendson said.

Those lessons are more important than learning naval engineering.

“About two out of seven will float,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong.”

He did not add the additional challenge of placing a replica iceberg mid-course.

-Photo by Hans Madsen

Layla Nore, 17, a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High works on getting back to “shore” Wednesday morning as her groups cardboard boat breaks apart. The vessel was built to resemble a tug boat.

“Next time we’ll have to do that,” he said.

The boats are only supposed to use cardboard and tape. A few of the teams stretched that a bit. One had a 5-gallon water bottle, a miniature inflatable pool and plastic bags.

“I let that slide,” Ellendson said.

The only boat that made it across to the other side of the pool, and then got to show off by making it back to its home port, was a creation called the “Unthinkable.”

Contae Futrell, a junior, was part of the team that built the F.D.S.H. Unthinkable and the one chosen to pilot it across the pool.

-Photo by Hans Madsen

Fort Dodge Community School District substitute custodian Grant West uses a floor washing machine to mop up the water left by the students dragging the remains of their cardboard boats to the trash bin from the pool.

“It was hard to paddle,” he said.

The design, which resembles a flat rectangular box with plastic bags taped to the outside, was an accident.

“We started up messing up,” Futrell said. “Then we decided to put bags on it.”

Another of the boats, this one looking something like a gingerbread man, floated for a bit before the cardboard became water logged, lost its structural integrity, then sort of crumpled around Nate Opande, a junior, who was to have piloted it.

“I had faith,” Opande said. “Me and my friends made it. I was on top of it.”

-Photo by Hans Madsen

Antonio Martinez, a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High, finds out that the lack of a keel can lead to an unstable vessel as he tries to paddle his groups cardboard boat across the pool Wednesday morning. Senior Nate Opande, 17, helped get the vessel out of dry-dock.

His experience with ship building helped exclude any sort of naval engineering career from his future.

“After what happened here,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

The remains of the craft were salvaged before any of their parts made it into the pool filters and that priceless necklace onboard, the one that ended up on the bottom, well, that might still be there Or not.

-Photo by Hans Madsen

Fort Dodge Senior High Senior Nate Opande, 17, gets a little push from shore Wednesday morning as he attempts to get one of the student designed and built cardboard boats across the pool.

-Photo by Hans Madsen

iJAG instructor Jerry Ellendson drags the sodden remains of one of the student built cardboard boats the class tested Wednesday morning.


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