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From Student to Student: Maritime High School

Release Date: 

January 24, 2024

The following is a piece by SBE Student Communicator and intern, Indiana Hilmes. 

I almost always jump at the chance to visit high schools in other cities. I’m from a small town in Eastern Washington called Selah, so when I visit larger cities, at first it’s the strangest experience to be in a place filled with people I know nothing about. When I visited Maritime High School in Des Moines (Highline Public Schools) back in early November, that same feeling of unknown remained, but my curiosity was heightened even more when I discovered how these students get to learn. These were students who not only studied English and math (just like me), but they also had extensive knowledge surrounding the maritime industry and trades.

(Photo caption: Maritime students at Duwamish site, courtesy of Highline Public Schools).

Each week, students at Maritime actively participate in field projects outside of the classroom where they collaborate with both industry professionals and members of the community. Classroom-based project work is done at the school. Students can do remote learning from home for a day each week, depending on their project focus and their personal progress  (teachers work closely with their students and are able to work with them to meet standards frequently).

Students work on projects like boat construction, building and taking care of ports and marinas, making sure the water stays clean and healthy, and more. The school has resources for students interested in the maritime field like the apprenticeship and career guide. At Maritime High School, students will get to know a lot about these jobs during their study.

I was excited to sit down with a couple students at Maritime and talk with them about what they do. In the interview (filmed by my counterpart, Star) they were clearly passionate, knowledgeable, and excited to share their learning experiences. You could feel that their education is special to them.

You can watch the interview on SBE’s YouTube channel.

A lot of the lessons students talked about reminded me of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in my area. My biggest regret in high school is not taking more CTE classes. This is where a lot of hands-on learning happens. As someone who has barely taken any interesting electives in high school, the idea of taking notes while on a boat is something I can’t even begin to imagine. There are so many unique experiences I could’ve pursued had I tapped into CTE sooner. However, Maritime High School students have built-in tools at their school to grow and explore their own interests, whether it’s within the maritime industry or beyond (congratulations to them!).

(Photo caption: Star films Indy as she interviews Maritime HS students, courtesy of Highline School District)

I feel proud to know that our state is opening doors for students to pursue their passion while also being prepared for the bright futures ahead of them. Thank you to principal, Jamila Gordon, and Highline Communications Director, Tove Tupper, for giving me and my colleagues an impactful look into Maritime!


Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer