BY ARIANA PARADES-VINCENT, 11th Grade
The Fall of 2012 saw School Without Walls Sailing Team compete in its second sailing season since its creation in March of the same year. The high school sailing team is run through DCSAIL, a non-profit organization aimed at making sailing more accessible to urban kids during the summer. During the school year, students from schools all over the Washington Metropolitan area come together to learn and participate in the fascinating sport of High School Sailboat Racing. These high schoolers come from schools across the region, most notably Walt Whitman High School, The Washington International School, Bishop O’Connell, NCS, Flint Hill, along with many others. Though each school has its own respective team, everyone practices together, and a strong sense of family quickly develops throughout the entire team.
The sailing team is a great opportunity for those who enjoy and love sailing and want to get into very competitive racing, or even those who have always wanted to try sailing for the first time. The School Without Walls Team consisted of six students. Returning veterans Ariana Parades-Vincent, Tijani Gavian Marou (both 11th graders), and 10th grader Becky Edmonds practiced on Walls’ Varsity Division, joined by first-timer Clara McCurdy (also 10th grade). Our JV (Junior Varsity) division was composed of newcomers Ellie Edgell (11th) and Jackson Engman (10th). Both began the season without any racing experience, but quickly picked up the techniques, and by the end of October, sailed their boats with a precision and confidence unmatched by anyone.
This past season, School Without Walls competed in multiple Regattas, both on the JV and Varsity levels. We not only raced against fellow DCSail teams, but against highly competitive teams from sailing towns of Baltimore and Annapolis. We displayed our ability to hold our own against many reputable teams, and proved ourselves as worthy opponents.
The high school sailing program is a great opportunity to not only learn the art of Sailboat Racing, but to meet many other people from various different schools, improve communication skills, become a better racer, and, most importantly, enjoy being on the water and have fun. Though some of us began the season never setting foot in a sailboat, each member of the School Without Walls has proven that they are up to the challenge, whether it be high seas, high winds, or high stakes.