HAVERHILL — Whittier Tech students recently continued the tradition of designing and building a float for the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ annual Santa Parade, introducing the community to the school’s new marine technology career pathway.
This year’s blue-and-white float depicted water and whitecaps, with a white Whittier Tech boat riding the waves. Penguins are riding inside. Whittier Tech launched the marine technology program for 2022-23 to meet a demand for service technicians on the East Coast.
Lorraine Post 29’s 58th annual Santa Parade was held Nov. 20. The theme was “Santa’s Ugly Sweater Party.”
The float was designed by art instructor Paul Murray, who worked with art classes, the Art Club, and many career pathways to make the effort a success.
Carpentry students built a form to hold the boat on the float, as well as wood forms to make the waves and the form of a polar bear.
Metal fabrication students built an armature with a spring to hold the narwhal at the front of the boat, and springs for under the polar bear’s water skis.
Students in the auto body/collision repair program cleaned and repainted the boat, and cowling on the outboard motor was provided by marine technology.
Electrical students set up the brake lights and power outlets.
Art students made papier-mache penguins, the narwhal and polar bear, painted the sideboards, and contributed to making the fabric look like water and waves around the boat.
Paul Murray, marine technology instructor Mike Murray, Whittier Tech cheerleaders and Art Club members accompanied the float along the parade route.
Librarian and media specialist Rich Porcelli and maintenance staff member Josh Bellman drove the float. Porcelli has maneuvered the school float and served as sound producer for 25 parades.
“It is always nice to hear the excited shouts of, ‘Look, here comes the Whittier float’ and to see the smiles and the people dancing to the music,” Porcelli said. “After 25 parades of walking along with, riding on, and then driving the float, it is the main thing I am going to miss.”
Porcelli passed the keys to the float to Bellman, who will take over driving duties next year.
“The Santa Parade is always a highlight of the holiday season, and our students are proud to contribute to the event and show the skills they have acquired,” Superintendent Maura Lynch said. “Congratulations to all who contributed to this project.”
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