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educational passages

The Rye Riptide washed up on the shores of Norway.

This story brings a whole new meaning to the word friendship.

In October 2020, the middle schoolers of Rye Junior High, in Rye, New Hampshire, bid a bon voyage to their handmade mini-boat, which set sail off the coast of New Hampshire to who-knows-where.

Measuring only 5.5 feet, the “Rye Riptides” was indeed a small ship. It ran crewless, but carried a bountiful cargo of colorful artwork made by students, along with a GPS tracking device that reported the boat’s location … sometimes.

Cut to 462 days and 8,300 miles later, and what started out as a simple science project became a surprise discovery for some Norwegian sixth graders, and a fun new connection across the Atlantic.


Rye Junior High had partnered with Educational Passages, a nonprofit organization that aims to connect students around the world to the ocean and each other. Once the kit arrived, the kids started building while learning about ocean currents, science and math. However, science teacher Sheila Adams shares that the more artistic, right-brained activities equally found their way into the curriculum. “The students needed to use their writing skills to inform others about their mini-boat project, describe our school and town to people of other languages, just in case, and write requests to get the boat deployed,” she said in a release.

…not me feeling jealous of some middle schoolers right now…

COVID-19 nearly threatened to knock the Rye Riptides off its course. The boat had been constructed, but not yet decorated, when students were moved to taking class online. Then, there was the matter of launching the boat. Which Cassie Stymiest, director of Educational Passages, noted was “challenging with all the restrictions in place.” Luckily, creativity, resourcefulness and a little technology saved the day. Working remotely, each piece of art was done at home, then scanned, printed and made into a collage. Then, Ms. Stymiest connected with the Sea Education Association (SEA), which set the Rye Riptides on its journey.

Seriously, my inner child is geeking out with this stuff.

Would the boat make it to Europe? Rye student Solstice Reed wasn’t so sure. “Honestly, I thought it would sink,” she admitted to the Portsmouth Herald. Considering the boat was cruising the ocean waters during hurricane season, the skepticism was well-founded. During the more tumultuous periods, the GPS signal only came in intermittently. And for a long while, there was nothing but radio silence.

But then, at long last, on the small Norwegian island of Smøla, the Rye Riptides successfully made it to dry land. Sure, it was a bit dismantled and covered in barnacles, but inside, all the adorable trinkets remained intact. The Smøla students peered with wonder into their bounty of photos, signed facemasks, fall leaves, acorns and state quarters, gifts sent out almost two years ago.

The voyage of the small boat has gone viral in a big way, sailing across social media, and making headlines. And now, Educational Passages plans on facilitating video meet-ups between Rye Junior High and the school in Norway, “to continue building this new relationship to learn from each other and about the shared Atlantic Ocean between them.” Plus, NPR reports, the students of Smøla would be writing a letter to their new American friends.

Human connection found its way across the sea in the most wholesome and magical way. It’s really cool to see that educational programs like this exist, impacting both the hearts and minds of young students. Mission, successful.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Golden retriever has cutest reaction to sister walking.

Here at Upworthy we look for stories that will make you smile and warm your heart and, let’s face it, we could all use a little help in the smile department these days. When we ran across this ridiculously sweet story on The Dodo about a golden retriever and his little human sister, we simply had to share it with you. Taco is a 3-year-old golden retriever who has been lovingly waiting for his new baby sister, Vanora, to be able to play with him, and the day has finally come.

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