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Students learn about careers in marine industry at midcoast high school

Belfast Area High School's Marine Institute shows students the possibilities of what a career on the ocean could look like.

BELFAST, Maine — Belfast Area High School's Marine Institute is showing its students the possibilities of what a career in the marine industry could look like.

The institute's first project was creating a kelp farm. A group of students seeded three 400-foot lines ahead of the winter. On Thursday afternoon, a few students headed back out to harvest.

"This is an example of a really interesting opportunity for them to match curriculum with a hands-on experience," Jessica Woods, Belfast Area High School principal, said.

Woods said she hopes the program inspires students to explore the careers midcoast Maine has to offer.

"We want our kids to have aspirations to certainly go and explore the world and do the things, but some of our kids stay right here and we want them to know about careers in our local industry," Woods said.

For one student, this program is everything he could've asked for.

Felix Duggin and his family moved to Maine two years ago from Nebraska. He has always wanted to be a marine biologist, so his parents set their sights on living along the coast.

"I just love the ocean and love everything to do with it," Duggin said. "Having these kinds of oceanic experiences is just wonderful."

David Black is a fisherman who volunteers with the BAHS Marine Institute.

He lets students board his boat, the Mary Sea, with hopes they can realize they, too, could make a good living working on the ocean.

"Every time we've taken them, they always come back with big smiles," Black, said. "They really enjoy being out here, and without this marine institute at Belfast Area High School they might not have that opportunity."

His daughter, Genevieve Black, is a teacher at the high school involved in the program.

"Being able to pass knowledge on is super exciting," Genevieve said. "That's something my dad did for me. You know, when we were out on the boat I learned so much."

The Department of Education awarded a grant to Belfast Area High School to create the marine institute, according to Woods.

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