William Federowicz: 2008

Booth Hill Elementary School in Shelton, CT

Each year, Mystic Seaport presents the award, to a teacher who draws upon the rich array of educational opportunities offered at Mystic Seaport to create innovative and experiential classroom lessons. William Federowicz, a sixth grade teacher at Booth Hill Elementary School in Shelton, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Mystic Seaport Orion Award for Excellence. Federowicz was honored at an awards dinner in May.

Federowicz, along with fellow teachers Chris Margait and Eileen Moore, has developed and implemented a Mystic Seaport-centered interdisciplinary unit for sixth graders at Booth Hill Elementary. Through the integration of language arts, science, social studies, art, music and physical education, Federowicz brings Connecticut’s coastline to life and shows students how important their impact can be on the ecosystem and their community.

In Federowicz’s classroom, students take an in-depth look at cetaceans and their current role in ocean ecology, as well as examine the historical impact whales have made on New England’s economy. Throughout the school year, students keep a “whale man’s log,” which acquaints students with the unique life of a whaler and also helps students better understand the relationship whaling had with individuals and communities. Students also learn sea shanties, create scrimshaw and reenact period dances.

A year-end field trip to Mystic Seaport is the culminating educational experience in Federowicz’s classroom. Once on Museum grounds, students participate in an historical scavenger hunt which utilizes the instruction and knowledge they have accumulated throughout the school year.

Congratulations, Bill!