Newspaper article on the
HighTechScience.org's Boat Donation
to the Barton Study Center - Boca Raton, FL

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The following article appeared October 10, 2006 in the

 An investment in youths.

Businessman donates boat to the Wayne Barton Study
Center in Boca.

By Rebecca Huval
Staff Writer

   
Boca Raton businessman Rick Newman already donated science supplies this year to the Wayne Barton Study Center. But one day this summer, Newman told Wayne Barton, founder of the free after-school program in Boca Raton, to meet him at the Marina One docks in Deerfield Beach.

   Barton didn't know why, he said. "How would you like a boat?" Newman asked Barton when he arrived. Then Newman walked down the dock and pointed to his own boat, Barton said.

   Newman donated his 22-foot Chaparral powerboat to the Wayne Barton Study Center, also known as Barton's Boosters, for middle and high school students. Newman said he bought the boat eight years ago but used it less than six times.

   The center started in 1991 and serves about 100 students, with a capacity of 150, Barton said. He agreed to start swimming and fishing programs at the center after Newman donated his boat this summer.

   Barton recently announced the boat donation to a classroom of about 30 children as Newman leaned against a sidewall.

   The children whispered "Yes" and "That's awesome," as they glanced at the man in the Hawaiian T-shirt they knew as the "scientific guy." Barton led the children to see the boat on a trailer in the parking lot.

   "I've never been on a boat," said Lamar Perry, 11, of Pompano Beach. "I want to learn how to fish so I can go fishing with my uncles 'cause they always go."

   Some children even looked forward to learning science on the boat.

   "I read they've found this one fish in the Atlantic Ocean that was extinct for thousands of years," said Evodio Goddard, 13, of Boca Raton. "I'm a science man. I want to study the fish we catch. I also like the speed. I want to drive. And if my sister's here, I want to see the shriek on her face."

   Newman said he decided to donate the boat after he and Barton discussed past donations about a week before they met at the docks.

   "I met with Wayne, and he told me 90 to 95 percent of the kids didn't know how to swim," he said. "When we're surrounded by canals, intracoastals and the ocean, that's just unacceptable. For that age group, drowning is the No. 1 cause of death in Florida. I don't know why they don't make it mandatory in school."

   Barton will contact a YMCA and American Red Cross to arrange a basic swimming program, he said. Children will have to take a swimming course and pass the final test to get on the boat. When enough children pass the test, Barton said he would start a fishing club that uses the boat on the weekends. But only children who improve their grades and behavior will be able to join.

   "Kids say to themselves, `Should I join a gang or have fun at the study center?'" Barton said. "You have to compete with these gangs that are getting stronger and stronger in south county. We have to give these kids better choices. We're losing so many young people. You see it on the television and you feel hopeless, but you can do something. You can direct kids to the right choices. And this boat will be a huge incentive."

   Newman's Web site, HighTechScience.org, lists the 20 science centers he has started at schools and museums coast to coast, including the recent Barton center donation. The science lab Newman recently donated to the center is worth about $10,000 and includes materials such as butterfly, bug and bat displays, a Geiger radiation counter, digital telescope, plasma lightning display and a NASA clock.

   The students there know him for his collection of robots and electrical cars.

   Barton said he's glad Newman donated something other than money. But the boat still needs a thermostat and repairs on the hydraulics that lift the engine.

   "This boat impacts the kids a lot better than a million dollars, not that we don't need it," he said. "But this is a long-term donation that will save lives."

    For more information on the Science & Technology Centers, visit:

www.HighTechScience.org


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