September 21, 2020

Cleveland, Ohio – Students enrolled in Cleveland Metropolitan School District Schools may be learning virtually for the first nine weeks of the school year, but CMSD CEO Eric Gordon has been encouraging its community partners to continue to find ways to engage students in safe and meaningful activities.  PHASTAR Corporation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and co-founder of CMSD’s Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School, has provided Davis students the opportunity to participate in the unique youth boating education program, Spirit of America, throughout the month of September.

Spirit of America is a national youth boating education program that got its start right here in Northeast Ohio.  The program introduces students to various aspects of boating, including paddle sports like kayak, canoe, and paddle board; as well as power boats, sailing, jet skis, and large vessels. PHASTAR signed an agreement with the Spirit of America Foundation in summer 2019 to begin offering the program to Davis A&M students in the Spring/Summer of 2020.

Students who were freshmen at Davis during the 2019-20 school year were to have all participated in the program at the end of the school year.  However, the state mandated closure of all K-12 schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to put on the program as intended. 

Over the summer, PHASTAR shifted gears and began making plans to offer the program to a smaller group of students with social distancing and risk mitigation protocols in mind.

Students enrolled in the Advanced Maritime course at Davis were the first to be offered the chance to participate in the Spirit of America program. Registration was then opened to other students at the school in grades 10 through 12.

The program began the day after Labor Day with a two-day Ohio Boater Education Course. The following week, students participated in a Water Safety/Drowning Prevention class and a day of paddle with kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards.  Students will meet for one to two days per week throughout September to complete the entire program.

This week, students will get an experience on a large vessel that will take them out on Lake Erie.  On Wednesday, September 23rd, they will get an introduction to sailing.  Staff and volunteers from The

Foundry will assist PHASTAR’s Spirit of America team with this portion of the course, with sailing being conducted out of The Foundry’s sailing facility at the Historic Coast Guard Station.

The jet ski portion of the program will not be conducted this year, due to the close proximity of students and instructors required.  Students participating in Spirit of America in September 2020 will be invited back in Summer 2021 to complete the jet ski portion of the program, provided that social distancing guidelines have been lifted. The plan is to offer the full Spirit of America program to Davis A&M’s current freshman class next summer at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Currently, social distancing is encouraged as much as possible, and masks are required for activities in which students, staff and volunteers may be in close proximity.  The program so far has proven to be a hit with the students involved, who are already making plans to come back next year to help out with the program as volunteer instructors and mentors for the younger students.

Media are invited to attend the sailing event on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, which will begin at 10:00am and run through 3:30pm. Interview and photo opportunities can be arranged.

PHASTAR Corporation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation born out of vision to improve the quality of education and public services in Northeast Ohio.  PHASTAR currently includes three areas of operation: Education, Aerospace, and Maritime. PHASTAR is also a co-founder of Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School. For more information visit

Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School is a cutting-edge public high school designed for students who wish to pursue their curiosity or passion for aerospace or maritime in a supportive environment that prepares them for college, careers, and citizenship.  Founded in 2017 through a unique private-public partnership between PHASTAR Corporation and CMSD, Davis A&M includes 9th through 12th grade, and will have its first graduating class at the end of the 2020-21 school year. For more information visit

Spirit of America Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization and a national education foundation. Spirit of America is ‘America’s Premier Youth, Family and Community Boating Education Program’ and affords the resources of traditional and non-traditional education, in a way for our students to learn, react, and develop lifelong learning skills and ambitions and empower our youth to advance their confidence, self-esteem, teamwork and safe boating practices while nurturing responsible behavior. Spirit of America provides a unique, safe, and educational introduction to all types of boating and water-based activities, utilizing the National Education, Physical Education, Next Generation Science Standards, unlimited components of STEM, and all of the National On-water and Knowledge-based Education Standards, in the most diverse hands-on classroom in America. We demonstrate that the likelihood of advancing community opportunity where programs exist is extremely high, spurring other beneficial actions, and being the ultimate force multiplier, while we continue to provide a resource for American communities and for the future of our marine industry.  ‘Teaching The Way Our Children Learn’ 

Contact:           Drew Ferguson, President        

                        PHASTAR Corp.                                   216-701-5582