Videos: Teenage Boatbuilder Launches Boat

March 11, 2011

[Updated with additional videos] Yesterday afternoon [Mar.10] Berkeley Institute student Alton O’Connor launched his new boat,  which he painstakingly built “from scratch” on the Berkeley premises over a two year period.

Alton O'Conner Boat Launch  Bermuda Mar 10th 2011-1_wm—–Alton O'Conner Boat Launch  Bermuda Mar 10th 2011-1-3_wm

The teenager said he always wanted to build a boat, and said having completed it and being able to put it into the water it is a big deal, and said it showed him he can do anything he wants if he puts his mind to it. He ended by saying “dreams come true of you put your mind to it.”

Alton O'Conner Boat Launch  Bermuda Mar 10th 2011-1-2_wm—–Alton O'Conner Boat Launch  Bermuda Mar 10th 2011-1-4_wm

The teenager said teachers stepped up to assist him during holidays, weekends and after school, and Alton expressed his gratitude to them. Mr Trevor Haynes, his carpentry teacher, had been instrumental in the process. Alton also thanked people including his school Principal and sponsors before offering those present a ride in the 13-foot boat.

Those present included Minister of National Security David Burch and Senator Laverne Furbert, who both spoke at the launch, congratulating him on his efforts. Senator Furbert said Alton is one of many of the young people in Bermuda doing great things, while National Security Minister David Burch congratulated the teenager, and said they will assist him in achieving the next step in his dreams.

After extending his thanks to all those that helped make his dream come true, Alton launched the boat into the waters of Ferry Reach, watch below:

Mr Trevor Haynes, Alton’s carpentry teacher, spoke at the launch, commending Alton for his dedication on taking on such a large project. Mr Haynes said the Berkeley family is all very proud of Alton, and that around the school he is known as the “boatman”. He spoke of Alton texting him on weekends enthused to work on the boat. Watch below:

Berkeley Principal Michelle Simmons also attended, and said Alton has been an inspiration to other students, and called for a well earned round of applause for the teenager. She also commended Mr Haynes, saying he went above and beyond the call of duty, to help Alton fufill his dreams. She then lead everyone in singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Alton, who just turned 19-years-old.

Read More About

Category: All, News, Videos

Comments (36)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. small biz says:

    See…… not all young black males are a problem!
    Well done Alton!
    Lets see now how many people comment here on this achievement. When bad things happen everyone always has lots to say. Lets see if this young mans positive works can become the ‘most’ commented on.
    Also congratulations to his parents for raising a decent positive young man.

    • bernews says:

      And we made it! It’s now #11 on our “most commented” posts for the last 2 weeks. This is the first time an article about something positive has ever made the “most commented”, so thanks to everyone for their comments!

  2. Ex Berkeleyite says:

    A job well done to this young man….keep striving towards your goals and sure enough they will be achieved!!!!

    We need more young males like this, that are dedicated to positivity!!!! Good job to all those that were involved

    • Marcia says:

      Good job Alton! This is impressive. Keep up the good work! Good job to the positive role models who supported him. I hope Alton is following the comments being posted. You should feel very proud of the hard work you put into this project. We need more stories like this to overcome any negativity surrounding us.

  3. Fed Up Bermudian says:

    Right on, Mr. O’Connor!!!! THIS is the kind of news we have all been waiting for. Thank you for being a role model for your peers, thank you for being a ray of hope for those of us who feel like giving up on our young people. Thank you for the reminder that there’s so much potential out there that we need to celebrate and nurture. I agree with Small Biz- let’s hear it, folks. This is truly good stuff!!! And why I can still be proud to be Bermudian!

  4. Sheriff says:

    Well done Alton! Keep up the good work.

  5. itwasn'tme says:

    somthing I’ve wanted to do since 2001…..good work kid

  6. Firstlady says:

    Congrats on a job well done!

    And your absolutely right, once you believe you can achieve.

    Strong roots derive from St. David’s, and this is a part of our culture. Thank you Alton for carrying on a are the master of your fate!

  7. Opinion says:

    Glad to see something positive about the youth again in Bermuda. Alton’s deed is an example of a person who rather be his own person than a sheep like so many of us have become. Good job mate.

  8. S Brown says:

    Well done, good to see a combination of a talaented youth and the public school system producing good results.

    Im thinking of buying a boat from him in a few years.

  9. Conscious Sista says:

    Excellent Job Alton!! I followed your story when you appeared in the newspaper in the early stages of your endeavour and to now see you cast your boat to sea, I am extremely proud of you. Although I don’t know you personally, you make me proud!! Keep moving in this direction and you will experience great things in life!

    I also would like to say I am proud and encouraged by Mr. Hayes and Mr. Sargent for their attention to and support of this young man. It was your interest that help Alton to be encouraged to make his dream come true. You both are a fine example of what a positive male influence can have on our young men. I hope there are more men like to the two of you out there to help our young men be stirred in the right direction. God knows we really need all the help we can get to get those that have gone astray back to where they need to be.

    Again, congrats to Alton O’Connor on your accomplishment and have a great summer fishing!! Remember: Water safety first!

  10. David E. Chapman says:

    Well done to Master O’Connor! You have accomplished a feat that I know myself and many others both past and present have wished to be able to do. You are making your ancestors proud, carrying on a tradition and legacy of Bermuda’s people. Your accomplishments truly exemplify the providence of ‘actions speak louder than words’.

    This young man, and all of the young men and women who are accomplishing achievements by making use of their talents and gifts, needs to hear praise and encouragement from as many of us we can.

    The Berkeley Institute and staff, and most of all his parents and any family that have been involved in this young man’s upbringing, need to also be congratulated for a job well done! This young man is obviously only scratched the surface of his full potential!

  11. junior burchall says:

    an outstanding young man – very grounded and mature beyond his years. i had the pleasure of teaching him when he was a student at Dellwood Middle School. i fully expect that he will continue to chase down his dreams and transform them – by sheer determination – into reality.

    GREAT job, Alton!

    Mr. Burchall

  12. Larry Marshall Jr. says:

    Great job. Wish you well.

  13. Triangle Drifter says:

    Good job. Hope it gives you many years of service. It takes time to do. I built a simple one many years ago. The criteria was that I could use no more than 3 sheets of plywood. 1 for the bottom. 2 others for sides & seats.

    Satisfying once finished.

  14. Wonderful says:

    GREAT job. :) Keep it up and yes you can do all things just keep it up.

  15. Winnie says:

    Well done you represent a beacon of hope for fellow youngsters to follow. Keep it up the sky the limit.

  16. Real Talk says:

    Very, very inspirational. Congratulations to Mr O’Connor and the others who helped make this young man’s dream a reality through their assistance and encouragement.

    Well done!

  17. Good work but... says:

    Well done Alton to follow through on the project. I don’t mean to rain on your celebration but it would have been nice to see the bottle in a plastic bag when it was broken on the bow, as it would have been difficult to pick up every last little piece of glass. People do swim there in the summertime, crossing those rocks in bare feet, just as you were in the video.

    • Terry says:

      I am sure the glass was removed as the young man was still barefoot whilst wakling around the bow area.

      Great work young man. It’s great to see interaction with authority as would his seniors be. He took critisism and guidence and help from those that offered. A rare attribute in this day and age.

      Best for the future. Victor O’Connor and all those ship builders are proud of you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are u serious. Out of all the positive in this article you still had to find SOMETHING negative to talk about!!! Really!!! We can see how you look at things in life with your glass half empty.

      Great work Alton. Your family are proud of you. Continue to strive for excellence.

      • shamel says:

        serious…it’s a ritual right this young man has EARNED to break de bottle! what you want the photographer to freeze-frame them cleanin up as part of the story? it’s called journalistic relevence yo. big respect to this young man!

  18. US Observer says:

    This is a great example that all it takes is a little effort and determination. This is also the opportunity to take Alton as an example and to follow in his footsteps. The people of Bermuda have been and always will be willing and able to help our young men, speaking from experience.

    Alton, I am sorry I was not able to be there today however I will have a gift for you upon my return. Thank you for giving yourself…

    This is just the beginning and it is our responsibity to continue to encourage, help and push you more.

    Thank you!! :-)


  19. Bigus says:

    Well done Alton your family has a long line of shipwrights and I can only guess you will proudly add your name to that list. I would only have wished you had researched a Bermuda design to have built maybe even one from one of your fore fathers designs.

    I can tell you without doubt that when the seagull races originally started in
    ST’Davids years ago some of the most sought after designs were the O’Connor boats that were known for being both fast and seaworthy. Today you can still find one or two still in existence although they have been eclipsed by the newer poorly designed lightweight hulls.

    If you get a chance take a look at the old “Silver Dollar” made by Victor O’Connor she is in St Georges moored by the old coal docks in Slip road Wellington you will not find a better seaworthy design in the land.

    In any case best wishes on what seems to be a bright future as you so rightly put it you can do whatever you set your mind to with that attitude i expect to see good things from you in the future.

    • Terry says:

      Bigus….One mans “Silver Dollar” is another mans “Gold Penny”. You know what I mean.

      • Bigus says:

        Indeed my friend indeed or maybe even a Hardback or was that Leatherbacks boat?

  20. Nikki S says:

    Congratulations Alton!!! Very kind and wonderful young man! I am wishing you the very best in all of your future endeavors…

    From, one of ur Young Life peeps… :)

  21. W.T.F.??? says:

    Nice boat you got…
    now take it out of the water unless you want a ticket!!!

    Reg #’s are required on BOTH sides!

    • Come on people... says:

      Kick any puppies today?? Let the kid enjoy his moment you grumpy old curmudgeon.

  22. Terry says:

    No good Marine Officer would give him a ticket. It was a launch and show his endevours.

    Get a life people.

    • W.T.F.??? says:

      what would you know…oh yes…what was it now…20 plus years ago you were a bermuda cop.

      • shamel says:

        are you intent on raining on the biy’s parade? go denigrate a real criminal amd leave the positive youth alone.

  23. Raquel says:

    I’m so proud of you God-son!

  24. Paulo Correia says:

    Well done, indeed! Nice to see a young man putting his mind and hands to great use. The future bodes well for him.

  25. Paulo Correia says:

    Also, what really matters in life is the passionate pursuit of something you love. Mission accomplished!