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Cape Fear Academy students help get USS NC shipshape

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Instead of working with text books and pencils today, Cape Fear Academy eighth graders used brooms and hoses for quite a lesson in history.

More than 50 students are helping swab the deck of the Battleship North Carolina.

It is not a typical day at school or even a typical field trip for that matter.

"We are cleaning the Battleship to help out," student Laura Hodgson said.

For the next couple weeks, this is how the eighth graders of Cape Fear Academy will spend their Fridays.

"I am kind of excited, because the Battleship represents Wilmington," student Elizabeth Baker said.

The Battleship staff is also excited about the added hands on deck.

"It's a lot of extra hands that are well needed," Battleship Promotions Director Heather Loftin said.

Nearly 60 extra sets of hands are helping to wash more the more than 700-foot long deck.

"We are scrubbing the deck," teacher Paul Gilbert said. "It looks great. It is a Herculean effort."

But for the kids, the work is effortless.

"It doesn't feel like actually work," Hodgson said. "You are just kind of having fun when you are doing it."

The Battleship has about 25 employees, so the added man power goes a long way.

"It is hard for us just to maintain," Loftin said. "Having them help us out to clean is really exciting for us, and we really appreciate their help."

And school leaders are teaching the students to appreciate being part of a community.

"At this age it is very important to be competent in something, and I think they are getting all of that today," Gilbert said.

Taking the lesson of the importance of giving back out of the classroom and and putting it in the real world.

The work the students are doing will help prepare for tourist season. Staff at the Battleship say the busy season starts in May. About 200,000 people visit each year.

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