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Education

Jefferson's Maritime Academy Marks Third Year

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Robin Sussingham
Jefferson High School

A magnet program in Tampa that prepares students for careers in the maritime industry is celebrating the start of its third year tonight with an event at the Sheraton Riverwak. The program now hopes to attract more business support.

There are nine juniors enrolled in the Maritime Honors Academy at Jefferson High School in Tampa. And several of them say they completely changed direction after learning about the shipping industry for the first time. Ashley Hallaian is one such student.

"When I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist," says Ashley, "but now seeing all the opportunities and all the great chances I have with the maritime community, I want to go more into that, and I want to be a ship pilot."

The Tampa port section of the Propeller club, a group that promotes shipping and maritime interests, partnered with the Hillsborough School District to create the program.

Maritime academy director John Paradis says the freshman class has gotten larger every year, and this year there are 45 freshmen enrolled. Now they're hoping to spread the word and attract more shipping-related businesses who can offer training and internships.