Students resurrect Titanic from depths of their imaginations

Dave Mathieson
Published on April 4, 2012
Chris St. Peter built a model depicting the Titanic as it slipped from the surface of the North Atlantic.
Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News

RIVER HEBERT – Taking a trip from River Hebert to the Titanic would be a big chore.

A person would have to drive about 225 kilometres to Halifax, navigate a boat about 725 kilometres southeast of Halifax to the site where the Titanic was last seen above water and, finally, they’d need to guide a submarine almost four kilometres down through the dark, cold water to where the Titanic sits on the ocean floor.

There’s an easier way to see the Titanic.

Instead of traveling almost 1,000 kilometres a person can travel to the Joggins Legion on Saturday to see Titanic models on display, made by Charlene Daborn’s Grade 5 and 6 students at River Hebert Elementary School.

The students made the Titanic models at home over the last two weeks.

“They could choose their materials and they could get some help but they couldn’t let the parents overtake the project,” said Daborn.

Many students used Bristol board and cardboard to make their models, and some students used unconventional building materials.

12-year-old Breanna Cormier used Rice Krispies to build her Titanic, Gary Payne used modeling clay, while other students used Lego blocks or Styrofoam.

Chris St. Peter depicted the Titanic in the midst of sinking, with a box painted blue representing the ocean, while half his Titanic is tipped nose-first into the box, with half the tail sticking up skyward.

St. Peter said painting the box was the ‘funnest’ part of the project, and the hull of the ship was the toughest part.

The 100th anniversary of the Titanic striking an iceberg and sinking to the ocean floor will be recognized throughout the world on April 15.

The Titanic began its maiden voyage in Southampton, England on April 10, 1912, and after making stops in France and Ireland, sank April 15, 1912, in the North Atlantic, never making it to New York City.

The students learned about the tragedy while building their models.

They learned there were more than 2,200 passengers on board, of which 705 survived, and that many more would have survived if there were lifeboats for more than half the passengers.

They learned that smoke came out of only three of the smoke stacks, while the fourth was for show, and that only one seventh of an iceberg is above water.

They also learned that 150 people who died in the tragedy are buried in Halifax.

Also, 14 years before the Titanic hit the iceberg Morgan Robinson wrote a novel called Futility, which is eerily similar to the events that took place 14 years later. The novel is about a British passenger ocean liner called the Titan, which was considered unsinkable. In the novel the Titan hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic, sinks to the ocean floor, and almost everybody on board dies.

The student’s models will now displayed Saturday as part of the community’s Titanic commemorative event in recognition of Edmund Burke.

Burke, using his wireless radio in Joggins, was among the first to hear about the sinking of the Titanic. He heard the distress calls sent by Morse code from the doomed ship.