For years, the latest New Yorker of the Week has taught high school students the skills needed to captain life at sea and on land. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
A group of high school students are sailing toward success, taking on a nautical adventure full speed ahead every week on the Hudson River.
"It just feels very exploratory," says student Julian Quinonez. "It feels like I’m going to this place that nobody else has really gone before.”
Leading the way is Robert Burke, the executive director of Hudson River Community Sailing.
"There’s a real desire for young people to explore and to take risks, and there is very little positive opportunities to do that," Burke says.
The nonprofit originates from Manhattan's Pier 66 in Chelsea.
HRCS develops leadership and academic success in students from low-income neighborhoods by teaching them the mathematical and maritime knowledge to captain a boat.
"One of the great things that we do is really give young people that sense of responsibility and ownership in a real way. There’s consequences for our actions," Burke says.
Here, students harness the power of teamwork and gain the confidence to navigate life's challenges.
"The skills that I learned as in, like, working with people and communicating and leading can definitely help me in whatever job," says student Tiffany Yu.
"Being able to communicate with your crew, working together as a team to make the boat go, I think all those skills really translate into real-life situations on land," says Alex Baum, youth programs director with Hudson River Community Sailing.
Since Robert took the helm of HRCS in 2012, the program has introduced hundreds of students across the five boroughs to new possibilities.
"They're learning about themselves and they're challenging themselves and finding those limits, limits that far exceed, I think, what a lot of these kids come here knowing about themselves," said Donald Rotzien, program development and growth officer with Hudson River Community Sailing.
"Robert, to me, I can honestly say he’s like a father," says student Samuel Rosario. "Robert taught me many things that I wouldn’t have learned if I didn’t take the sailing program."
So, for steering students on the right course, Robert Burke is the latest New Yorker of the Week.
For more information about Hudson River Community Sailing, visit hudsonsailing.org.