Ahoy, Followers –
It’s me, Little Buc, the official mascot of Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Follow The Voyage-Share The Experience Program.
I was first invited aboard the TS Kennedy for Sea Term 2017 to engage the program’s youngest participants. Within a few weeks, followers of all ages were reading my daily posts. I was thrilled to learn that my fan base included middle school students, high school students, and adults. When the ship returned to Buzzards Bay at the close of Sea Term, I was treated like a celebrity. Everyone wanted their photo taken with me. Since then, the TS Kennedy has been my home.
If you are one of the 20,397 students following Massachusetts Maritime Academy cadets during Sea Term 2023, you are making history. Since it began twenty-five year ago, this is the greatest number of followers the FTV-STX Program has ever had. Our followers come from thirty-four different states, four U.S. territories, and eight foreign countries. For the first time, we are delighted to welcome classes from twenty-three Department of Defense schools and schools located on military bases. Seven of our participating schools share their name with our training ship, Kennedy and thirty participating schools are located on islands. We also have one hundred thirty homeschool students participating in the program, our largest number to date.
If you are a one of the many parents, grandparents, friends, and community members following our cadets, welcome! I encourage you to check out my daily blogs too.
Now that you’ve met me, I want to introduce you to three VIPs (very important people) connected to Sea Term 2023. First, is Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, the President of Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Admiral McDonald has worked tirelessly to make the Academy the world-class college it is today. He is a champion for all of his cadet, including those departing on Sea Term 2023. Although he will not be aboard the TS Kennedy for the cruise, he will meet the ship at its final port, Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a celebration. And… Admiral McDonald is a big fan of me, Little Buc.
Next up, is Captain Michael J. Campbell, the Master of the TS Kennedy. The safety of the cadets, his crew, and the training ship is his #1 priority. He works long days, overseeing every aspect of the voyage. It is always an honor to have Captain Campbell invite me into his office for a chat. Be sure to read Captain Campbell’s daily Captain’s Log.
Both Admiral McDonald and Captain Campbell were once cadets at the Academy.
The third VIP that I would like to introduce you to Robert Sirois, the Regimental Ship Commander. His friends and I call him Bobby. He is the highest-ranking cadet aboard the TS Kennedy. For months, he has been working closely with Captain Campbell, members of the Commandant’s office, and the cadet leaders (called rates) to prepare for Sea Term 2023. He’s attended meetings, created schedules, and made presentations. I admire his enthusiasm. It seems like he is always smiling. You wouldn’t believe his vast knowledge of the TS Kennedy and everything ship-related. The best part of all, Bobby is happy to share what he knows with his fellow cadets, visitors to the ship, and even me. I often ask Bobby a lot of questions, but he doesn’t seem to mind at all.
With Admiral McDonald back on campus, and Captain Campbell and Regimental Ship Commander Bobby Sirois aboard the TS Kennedy, Sea Term 2023 is in fantastic hands, and as you can see by my photos, so am I.
Again, welcome aboard, Followers! Let the adventure begin!
Your favorite green pirate,