BJ Cummings engages with students at Seattle's new Maritime High School

BJ Cummings is displayed on a large monitor at the front of a classroom full of high school students.

BJ Cummings, UW SRP Manager of Community Engagement, joined a classroom of students at the new Maritime High School via Zoom. 

The UW Superfund Research Program was honored to be invited to speak to students at Seattle's new Maritime High School, which opened in September. This high school is anchored in the Duwamish Valley and has a focus on serving underrepresented students in the Highline School District and surrounding areas. The Maritime High School focuses on research-driven education and is committed to equitable access for all students. It seeks to provide education for maritime careers with a strong sustainability lens, preparing students to address interdependent environmental, social and economic challenges.

The Northwest Maritime Center, Highline Public School District, Port of Seattle, and Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition all partnered to design and launch the new school. According to the Northwest Maritime Center’s website, “The global response to climate change will be waged on, in, and around the ocean. Maritime industries will be essential to creating climate solutions, from sustainable fisheries to efficient and clean movement of goods and people over the water, and the development of offshore renewable energy sources. Students will understand how to simultaneously promote economic growth and social inclusion, and be part of the solution to end the catastrophic consequences of climate change.”

Students in the program are also learning about the Lower Duwamish Superfund Site and the role of maritime industries in past pollution and future solutions to the environmental health impacts of the site. In September, UW SRP Community Engagement Manager BJ Cummings met with students in Maritime High School’s inaugural class. The students had all read Cummings’ recently-published history of the Duwamish River, The River That Made Seattle (UW Press 2020), and enjoyed the opportunity to ask her questions about the ecological and social changes that led to the listing of the Lower Duwamish Waterway Superfund Site and the community’s vision for the economic, social and environmental future of the river.

UW SRP looks forward to supporting the educational goals of the new Maritime High School and working with its students and community partners in the years to come!