Going to high school on Governors Island has its advantages! The last three Thursday's in July, park rangers at Governors Island National Monument were proud to introduce the New York Harbor School's incoming freshmen to Castle Williams and its beautiful view of the harbor, whose waters they will explore during the next four years as they learn all about marine science and technology.
The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School is a New York City public high school that offers a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum teaching maritime skills and environmental stewardship by utilizing New York City’s waterways. Governors Island National Monument has a cooperative agreement with the school that allows collaberation on a number of fun and educational programs throughout the year, including a National Park Service after-school club.
As part of their summer orientation, cleverly named "InDock" the incoming freshmen camped out on the island, where they were treated to a nighttime tour of Castle Williams, one of the two 200 year old fortifications on Governors Island and one they pass every day on the way to school. Later used as a prison for captured Confederate soldiers and as a military prison for the U.S. Army until 1966, the Castle makes for a spooky destination as the sun sets. The students had a great time not only learning how Castle Williams protected valuable New York Harbor, but also exploring the scary, darkened cells of the historic building.
After the tour, the students got a lesson in making smores from their friendly neighborhood park rangers, program leader Kevin Credo, Joe Korber, Katie Moscowitch and Aleysha Taveras. For some it was their first time cooking this classic campfire treat! With a view of each of the historic forts that make up the National Monument, the campfire area was the perfect place to introduce the students to the part of the island managed by the National Park Service.
The park staff looks forward to working with this great group of students over the next four years, and sharing with them even more about the fascinating military history of the island!