A sky-high view of fish lake, with canoes following the students' outrigger. Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review

The winds were too light for sailing, but the students had fun paddling around Fish Lake.

In Spokane, Washington, Shaw Middle School students launched a Marshallese-style canoe with outrigger and sailing rig after participating in a summer program with a boatbuilding focus. There is a small group of immigrants there from the Marshall Islands, and the program’s aim was to help with communication, reading, and feeling more connected to both their heritage and to their school in the hope of increasing graduation rates.

Read the whole story at The Spokesman-Review.

Students paddle their decorated outrigger.Jesse Tinsley, The Spokesman-Review

The program was part-English class, part-boatbuilding and relevant culture class for students who might otherwise not thrive in the American classroom environment.