GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

Seventh-Graders Research Perfect Story

The lives of six fishermen lost at sea is not only becoming a movie but has also captured the interest of some local seventh-graders.

The story, brought to the world's attention through Sebastian Junger's book "The Perfect Storm," had a deeper meaning for students such as Joe Curcuru.

"I learned Gloucester is more than a fishing community and fishing is more than just a job -- it's a life," he said during a field trip yesterday.

He was among 50 O'Maley Middle School seventh-graders who cast off on a walking tour yesterday to interview people about "The Perfect Storm."

The children equipped themselves with questions, notepads, sketch sheets and cameras.

Led by teachers Ann Ziergiebel and Ann Caulton, they talked outside with Gregg Sousa, the owner of the Crow's Nest, Scott Memhard of Cape Pond Ice and Warner Brothers publicist Rob Harris.

The student project grew out of a partnership with The Perfect Storm Foundation, which is assisting students with research and making educational connections to the book and movie. The foundation's activities will include creating Internet links, making newsletters and filming a video of the project.

"The issue is, how do we deal with the stories that make up our lives and our communities? This is a story and there is so much to learn for it," Ziergiebel said.

For this trimester, students are seeking to answer questions about how conflicts are resolved and what are the choices people make in order to survive. This is the perfect story on which to focus these questions, she said.

Ziergiebel, a language arts teacher, said the seventh-graders are looking at stories and the words people choose to tell those stories.

"The book and the movie are a great vehicle to look at that," she said. "These children want to probe the stories of Gloucester that are swirling around them."

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail