For over 100 years, Massachusetts Maritime Academy has been preparing women and men for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea. As the nation's finest co-ed maritime college, MMA challenges students to succeed by balancing a unique regimented lifestyle with a typical four-year college environment. As a member of the cadet corps you will live, study, sail, work and play in an atmosphere that encourages you to be your best.
The Gloucester Schooner Festival awarded its 2018 college scholarship to Corryn Ulrich of Gloucester on Thursday for the second consecutive year, and festival Chairwoman Daisy Nell was asked what makes Ulrich so deserving.
"This letter," Nell said, holding up the letter Ulrich wrote as part of her application for the $1,000 scholarship. "The letter and this young woman."
In a sense, they are one and the same.
The letter penned by Ulrich, who is about to enter her sophomore year at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, spoke of her love of Gloucester and chronicled what she described as her new outlook on life and her growing resiliency following her freshman year at the academy on Buzzards Bay.
In doing so, she spoke directly to the mission the festival committee envisions for the scholarship as a method for enticing the city's next generation of sailors, captains and others to work and play on the water.
While handing over the scholarship, Maritime Gloucester Executive Director Michael DeKoster said Ulrich had clearly made the most of her opportunities and activities during the past year and described her as working to be "the better you that you already are."
Ulrich, a 2017 graduate of Gloucester High School, is an emergency management major at Mass Maritime. In her letter she spoke of traveling with about 50 classmates to Eustis, Florida, in January to help Habitat for Humanity build homes for military veterans.
She also wrote about developing, as part of her classwork, an emergency operations plan for Gloucester. She excelled in the classroom, registering a 3.5 grade point average and earning a place on the President's List during her second semester. She also played on the academy's women's soccer team.
Ulrich, the third generation of her family to attend Mass Maritime, said she's heading to Buzzards Bay before the start of classes to work as one of the cadre of undergraduates that helps organize and run the school's orientation program for incoming students.
"I'm really looking forward to that because this year I'll be on the other side," she said.
Her letter also made clear her love for her home city. She comes by it honestly.
Her mother, Leora Ulrich, said Corryn's great, great grandfather, Arthur Edward Aldrich, was a schooner captain sailing out of Gloucester around the turn of the 20th century.
City records show Aldrich was the master of the schooner Mary A. Brown and was one of five who died in a storm off the coast of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, on Dec. 4, 1900. His is among the honored names on the cenotaph at the city's Fishermen's Memorial.
"Despite all the wonderful experiences I had, nothing compares to the feeling of being home in Gloucester," Ulrich said, reading her letter aloud at the award ceremony at Maritime Gloucester. "There is a distinct feeling of community here that I can't find anywhere else."
She spoke of the inspiration and empowerment she receives from being on and around the city's historic harbor, from the small dinghies that dot the harbor to the much larger mid-water trawlers, Challenger and Endeavour, which tie up at the Jodrey State Fish Pier.
Seeing them, she wrote, "makes me realize I have the power to be just as dominating as the Challenger in Gloucester Harbor."
Nell was right. Pretty good letter.
Article originally written for Gloucester Times by Sean Horgan.