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Are You Ready to Level Up? Nauticus to Explore the Art & Science of Video Games

Visitors will test their skills and explore over 120 of the most influential video games.

Norfolk, VA.– On Saturday, January 28, Nauticus’ 6500 square foot exhibit gallery will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind video game arcade with the opening of the international exhibit, Game Changers.

Developed and produced by subject experts from Ingenium – Canada’s Science and Technology Museum, and managed by Science North, Game Changers takes visitors on a fascinating journey to discover how innovation has shaped the video game industry while exploring 120 of the most influential games.

“This exhibit has a universal appeal,” said Stephen Kirkland, Nauticus’ CEO & President “I’m pumped up to play Pac Man, my eleven-year-old daughter can’t wait to learn more about Sonic, and video game afficionados will love the more in-depth tech exhibits. Our team plans to host video game competitions, event nights and more for the community to get their game on!”

Game Changers Highlights Include:

  • 16 playable games featuring Pac-Man, Tetris, Super Mario Bros, Angry Birds, Guitar Hero, Sonic and more.
  • Step inside a game and create your own video game character – using Kinect technology.
  • Discover original concept art, storyboards, level designs, and scripts of some of the mostinfluential games ever developed.
  • Listen to experts from the industry explain how they develop the games you love.
  • Explore technologies game creators use to develop storylines, graphics, gameplay, and audio.

• Experiment with augmented and virtual reality to see how these technologies may alter the gaming experience and more!

Most importantly, leave your quarters at home! Access to Game Changers is included in Nauticus admission. As always, Nauticus members are free. Game Changers will open at 11 a.m. on January 28th, 2023, to the public and will run at Nauticus through April 30, 2023.

Plan Your Visit

Nauticus will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here.

About Ingenium – Canada’s Science and Technology Museum

Ingenium – Canada’s Science and Technology Museum tells Canada’s innovation story in an immersive, educational, and fun way. To learn more, please visit

About Nauticus

Game Changers and additional exhibits are supported by the Nauticus Foundation. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources.

For more information, visit

Waterfront Parade Ushers in Holiday Season This Weekend 

 Lighted Sailboat Parade anchored by Sail Nauticus Academy students 

Norfolk, Va. (December 8, 2022) — The Elizabeth River will look much brighter this Saturday evening as the Sail Nauticus Academy students take the helm for a lighted sailboat parade. The fleet of sailboats, owned and operated by the Nauticus Foundation, will be decked with lights as part of WinterFest on the Wisconsin, a holiday light experience aboard the Battleship Wisconsin. The parade occurs along the waterfront adjacent to the battleship and will be free and open to the public along the boardwalk. 

“We are excited to welcome back our Academy students and their families this Saturday,” said Sail Nauticus’ Manager, Sarah Linden-Brooks. “For the second time, we will be ending our fall sailing season with a campus wide celebration including cookies and cocoa, a lighted sailboat parade, and offering families the opportunity to explore WinterFest on the Wisconsin.” 

The Sail Nauticus Academy is a part of Sail Nauticus, a Norfolk-based, nonprofit sailing school and community sailing center. Through a partnership with Norfolk Public Schools, students in grades 6-8 are given the opportunity to participate in the Academy, promoting STEM activities, career development opportunities and life skills through the sport of sailing and maritime science. 

“Our Academy program is the heartbeat of Sail Nauticus and providing meaningful experiences for the whole family strengthens our community and connects and reengages students,“ Linden-Brooks said. 

This weekend’s parade begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, December 10th. After the parade, grab a cup of hot chocolate at Griswold’s Café and stick around for Winterfest on the Wisconsin

WinterFest’s general admission and member tickets are on sale. Book your night to discover your holiday spirit exploring this dazzling, waterfront light festival of over one million lights. 

Plan Your Visit 

WinterFest on the Wisconsin runs November 9, 2022, to January 1, 2023, and is open each Wednesday – Sunday, in addition to select Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the holiday season. General admission pricing is $18.50 for adults and $16.50 for children. Nauticus members receive a discounted rate. WinterFest ticket purchasers between December 1 – December 31 will automatically be entered in our Carnival Cruise Giveaway. Visit 

About Sail Nauticus 

Support for Sail Nauticus directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides a life-changing experience for underserved youth in our local community. Our mission is to inspire, instruct, and impact Hampton Roads kids through the use of sailing and maritime sciences. 

Cruise Giveaway Celebrates Carnival Partnership

Free cruise for two awaits one lucky WinterFest on the Wisconsin guest.

Norfolk, Va. (Dec.1, 2022)— To celebrate the recent announcement that the Carnival Magic will sail from Norfolk for six months in 2023, Nauticus and Carnival Cruise Line have teamed up to present the WinterFest on the Wisconsin Great Cruise Giveaway. Throughout the month of December, all guests who purchase an online ticket toWinterFest will automatically be entered to win a free six-day cruise departing from Norfolk in 2023.  The lucky winner will cruise aboard the 4,000-passenger Carnival Magic, the largest vessel to ever homeport from Virginia.  

“Nauticus is the only museum in the country that also manages a cruise ship program,” said Stephen E. Kirkland, Nauticus executive director.  “WinterFest on the Wisconsin has become a holiday tradition for Hampton Roads and so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a vacation dream come true.”

All guests 21 years or older who book their WinterFest on the Wisconsin tickets online during the month of December will automatically be eligible to win the six-day cruise.  Tickets purchased onsite at Nauticus will not be eligible for the giveaway.  Some restrictions and black-out dates apply.  For more information on the WinterFest on the Wisconsin Great Cruise Giveaway, guests are encouraged to visit

WinterFest on the Wisconsin features more than one million holiday lights, live entertainment, tree lighting ceremonies, and seasonal shopping.  This season WinterFest nearly doubles in size with an all-new experience called Mistletoe Marina – an immersive waterfront journey featuring lights, beautifully-decorated boats, interactive fun, and two shows nightly.     

Plan Your Visit

WinterFest on the Wisconsin runs November 9, 2022, to January 1, 2023, and is open each Wednesday – Sunday, in addition to select Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the holiday season. General admission pricing is $18.50 for adults and $16.50 for children. Nauticus members receive a discounted rate. Visit

WinterFest on the Wisconsin


Additional 2023 Carnival Sailings from Norfolk Are First Step in Discussions About Proposed Year-round Operation Starting in 2025.

Norfolk, VA (Nov. 14, 2022) – Carnival Cruise Line today announced it will more than double the fun and the cruises it offers from Norfolk, Virginia, in 2023, and extend sailings to a consecutive six-month period from May through October. The announcement is a first step toward a proposed year-round cruise program from Norfolk starting in 2025, as Carnival and City of Norfolk leaders discuss necessary terminal and port improvements to support an expansion of operations.

With plans to welcome about 100,000 guests next year, Carnival’s increase in operations will bring the highest volume of cruise guests in the history of Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise Center. The new 2023 offerings go on sale today and will include four- to 10-day voyages aboard Carnival Magic. Available itineraries include Eastern Caribbean, The Bahamas, Bermuda, and Canada and New England.  

“We have been working closely with Norfolk city officials on this expansion since our successful restart earlier this year and it’s great to now share our plans with our guests,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “We look forward to building on our 20-year commitment to this community and continuing the momentum toward further expansion in the future, while increasing our positive economic impact in Norfolk.”

Carnival has been sailing from Norfolk since 2002 and Carnival Magic, which began sailing seasonally for the first time in May, became the largest ship to embark guests from the port, following enhancements to Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise Center. Carnival Magic accommodates up to 4,724 guests and offers bow-to-stern fun including a wide variety of stateroom accommodations, a multitude of dining options, Carnival’s signature entertainment, the Cloud 9 spa, water slides and the Serenity, adult-only retreat.

“For twenty years, Norfolk has valued its partnership with Carnival Cruise Line. Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for our cruise program and our community,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander. “For a full six months next year, guests from across the Mid-Atlantic will have the chance to board a Carnival ship from Norfolk and beginning in 2025, our collective goal is for Carnival to set sail from Nauticus year-round”

Carnival’s plan to deploy Carnival Magic for a longer stay in Norfolk is part of a larger expansion of the cruise line’s mid-Atlantic guest operations. In the spring of 2023, Carnival will begin offering year-round service from New York when the 5,260-passenger Costa Venezia joins the fleet as Carnival Venezia. This will allow Carnival Magic which has been splitting its spring/summer season between New York and Norfolk, to remain in Norfolk for half the year.

To book a cruise on Carnival Magic from Norfolk in 2023, click here.  For additional information on Carnival Cruise Line and to book a cruise vacation, call 1-800-CARNIVAL, visit, or contact your favorite travel advisor or online travel site.

About Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line, part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is proud to be known as America’s Cruise Line, for carrying more Americans and serving more U.S. homeports than any other. Since its founding in 1972, Carnival has continually revolutionized the cruise sector, making a cruise vacation an affordable and popular option for millions of guests. Carnival operates from 14 U.S. and two Australian homeports and employs more than 40,000 team members representing 120 nationalities. Carnival currently operates 24 ships and is in an exciting period of growth, with Carnival Celebration and Carnival Luminosa, which began guest operations in November, and three additional ships joining the fleet by 2024.

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About Nauticus

Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, Virginia, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. For more information, visit

New Holiday Marina Experience Highlights WinterFest on the Wisconsin

Tickets on sale NOW for the area’s largest waterfront light show!

Norfolk, Va. (Oct. 5, 2022) — More than 1 million lights and the all-new Mistletoe Marina will usher in the holiday season as Nauticus presents its annual WinterFest on the WisconsinThe region’s newest holiday celebration welcomed more than 65,000 guests in 2021, and Nauticus anticipates record attendance again this year. Tickets are on sale now

This season, guests will experience even more magic in the all-new Mistletoe Marina. This ultimate holiday destination is an immersive waterfront journey featuring thousands of lights, beautifully decorated boats, live entertainment, and interactive fun. Nestled between Nauticus and the Half Moone Cruise Center, Mistletoe Marina is a true waterfront wonderland. 

“This is an ambitious new project that nearly doubles the size of WinterFest,” said Nauticus’ executive director, Stephen E. Kirkland. “It has all the charm of a New England seaport right here on the Elizabeth River.” 

Aboard the Battleship Wisconsin this season, visitors will explore nine dazzling light trails and all-new interior spaces will be opened below deck. Also new this season, the battleship’s historic wardroom has been transformed into a magical Santa experience. Guests can purchase an additional ticket to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate with Santa as a talking book and bookworm celebrate the 400th anniversary of the classic poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

WinterFest on the Wisconsin kicks off in time to celebrate Veterans Day weekend on Wednesday, November 9 at 7 p.m. Active-duty service members, veterans, and their families receive $5 off general admission tickets through Sunday, November 13 while supplies last. Military Appreciation tickets must be purchased online, and service members must provide valid ID upon check-in. 

WinterFest general admission and member tickets are now on sale. Proceeds from WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly provide support to the Battleship Wisconsin through the Nauticus Foundation. Learn more at

Plan Your Visit

WinterFest on the Wisconsin runs November 9, 2022, to January 1, 2023, and is open each Wednesday – Sunday, in addition to select Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the holiday season. General admission pricing is $18.50 for adults and $16.50 for children. Nauticus members receive a discounted rate. 

WinterFest on the Wisconsin is generously sponsored by TowneBankCentura CollegeTidewater TechAviation Institute of Maintenance and Media Sponsor WVEC 13News Now.

About Nauticus

Support for WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides interpretation and restoration of the Battleship Wisconsin and allows Nauticus to open new onboard spaces and experiential learning opportunities for students, families and visitors.

For more information, visit or

Welcome Home Sailors: Battleship Wisconsin Holds Biannual Reunion

By: Megan Roche

For many, stepping aboard her decks again is a tearjerking moment. The Battleship Wisconsin hosted her crew well during World War II, the Korean War, and the Gulf War, and many of her former crewmembers come back bi-annually to celebrate the vessel she was then and the place she has now become.

Hosted by the USS Wisconsin Association, The 2022 annual reunion took place from September 28-October 2, 2022, at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel. Approximately 200 former crewmembers attended the celebration, spanning all three generations of veterans who served, along with hundreds of family members in tow. The 2022 reunion also marked the first reunion since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Events of this year’s reunion included a steel beach picnic, a shipmate workday, ice cream social, silent auction, gala, dinner cruise, and day trips to nearby Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. Shipmates also gathered throughout the week on their own to enjoy time with former company mates. 

Basil Figliano was on board the Wisconsin during the Gulf War. The 2022 reunion was the first one he’s ever attended. He served on board as a third-class fire controlman, where he helped fire the 16-inch turret guns. He remembers his time in the service with nothing but pride and joy for both him and his country. He felt the same sense of pride during the reunion weekend. 

“This is a second family, all these guys that you served with and who served before you, you are bonded for life. As I got older, my service meant more to me. When I first got out, I said ‘I’m done, see ya,’ and now I’ve grown more of an attachment to what I did and who I served with. I realize more so what I had and what I did,” Basil says with tears in his eyes. 

For older veterans, the reunion allows for showcasing the battleship to grandchildren and great grandchildren. Dominic Menta stepped aboard the decks of USS Wisconsin in 1952. As a photographer, he helped capture any and all moments aboard the ship, from the mundane day to day operations to special events. He recalls the moment when he first walked up the gangway.

“When I first went aboard the ship, I was not familiar with the Navy or ships or anything. The only thing I knew that went into the water was a rowboat. When I saw that big thing, I thought ‘What did I get myself into?’ As soon as I walked up the gangway and stepped on deck, I felt the hair on my arms stand up and a voice in my head said, ‘Welcome aboard son, I’ll take care of you.’”

Those words still hit him every time he comes home to Norfolk and steps on her decks again. 

Menta has attended every reunion since they started bi-annually back in the 1990s. 

Former crewmembers are not the only people who enjoy the reunions. For spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren, this is a special moment to watch their loved ones interact with the people they served with. Irma Hooker, wife of BJ Hooker who served on the Wisconsin from 1989-1994, was dating BJ back during his service days. The high school sweethearts remained in contact through letters and the rare phone call while BJ was on the gunline. 

When news spread of the reunion this year, the Hookers weren’t sure if they could attend. Irma took plans into her own hands and booked the hotel before BJ even knew what was happening. Irma understood how important it was to reunite BJ with his former Navy mates.

“This weekend has been so meaningful, almost borderline making me want to cry. To sit back and see them going back in time, to see them looking at the ship, going down the hallways that they crossed daily, you can just tell it’s a timestamp of their life. This is the biggest group of them to come together since their time in the Navy, and they have all picked up right where they left off,” Irma said. 

Throughout the weekend, Irma noted, BJ often thanked her for making sure he didn’t miss out on the opportunity to attend the reunion. As veterans and their families departed after the five-day extravaganza, many of them felt a sense of reconnection with other servicemembers and a renewed sense of pride with their Naval service. 

For the vast age range who attended the annual reunion, pride was prevalent throughout the weekend. Whether it was a first time visit since the end of their service or a frequent visitor, the feeling of patriotism and joy could be felt by all around. The countdown to the reunion in 2024 is on!

While the reunion honors the service of Wisconsin sailors, so do Nauticus’ staff and volunteers on her decks on a daily basis. In addition to self-guided and guided tours, Nauticus offers a plaque program that provides the opportunity to commemorate, memorialize, or celebrate your veteran or loved one throughout the battleship. Plaques start at $250. All monies raised go directly toward the restoration, preservation, and interpretation of the Battleship Wisconsin

Nauticus To Host Inaugural SailFest

New event to raise funds and awareness for Sail Nauticus.

Norfolk, Va. (July 28, 2022) – Nauticus announces the launch of the first-ever SailFest to celebrate their signature program, Sail Nauticus. On September 24, 2022, the community is invited to raise funds on and off the water in support STEM and leadership development for students in Hampton Roads.

SailFest, a two-part event, will feature a unique regatta titled the Cofer Cup, followed by a Pier Party celebration on Nauticus’ cruise pier. 

The Cofer Cup invites sailors of all skill levels to form or join a team to race along the Elizabeth River in Sail Nauticus’ fleet of Harbor 20 sailboats. The winning team will have their name featured on the official Cofer Cup trophy and will be displayed for public viewing inside Nauticus’ exhibit halls. 

Following the race, the community is invited to Nauticus’ cruise pier for a “Pier Party” to enjoy an afternoon of games, live music, local food trucks, beer by Elation Brewing Co, sunset views and more. SailFest sponsors will also compete in the Corporate Challenge, a fun and unique set of races led by Sail Nauticus instructors while Pier Party attendees cheer on the winners.

“Participating in this event is an incredible way to experience and support our transformational after-school program, all while having fun!” said Sail Nauticus Director, Sarah Linden-Brooks. “This event will provide a glimpse into how sailing empowers local youth by building leadership and communication skills. Whether you choose to participate on the water, or party on our pier, doing so will make a difference in the lives of Hampton Roads students.”

All event proceeds benefit Sail Nauticus’ programs, including the Sail Nauticus Academy. The flagship program for underserved youth in Hampton Roads provides the opportunity to develop leadership and academic success through the art and science of sailing.

SailFest will be held rain or shine. Cofer Cup registration is $275 per boat and $375 after August 15. Pier Party tickets are $55 per person and will be $65 after September 1. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Current event sponsors include: Wolcott Rivers GatesPortsmouth River CasinoSouthern BankVirginia Maritime Association, Hampton Roads Shipping Association and Elation Brewing Co.

About Sail Nauticus 

Support for Sail Nauticus directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides a life-changing experience for underserved youth in our local community. Our mission is to inspire, instruct, and impact Hampton Roads kids through the use of sailing and maritime sciences. To learn more visit

About Nauticus
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, VA, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources. For more information, visit

The Past, Present and Future of Drones

By: Megan Roche 

With Drones: Is the Sky the Limit now open, what better time to learn about these small but powerful fascinating machines.

Military Strategy 

There are many names for drones, some of which include Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. A Venetian attack in the 1850s led to the first drone concept, an unmanned balloon filled with bombs. Other early ideas included the quadcopter and radio guided drones. 

The Battleship Wisconsin used RPVs during its time in the Persian Gulf. Sailors aboard the Wisconsin mainly used RPVs to observe enemy movements, assess damage, search and rescue, for artillery targeting, and for air support. They would launch the RPV off the fantail, from either the port or starboard side. To recover the RPV, football-esque goal posts would be mounted on the fantail with a net stretched to each post. The pilot would fly the RPV into the net, and it would be lowered onto the deck.

During the Gulf War, her RPV videoed the surrender from the Iraqi people on March 1, 1991. Currently displayed at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Wisconsin’s RPV has been dubbed the “Flying Lawnmower” due to the sound she made after the booster rocket dropped.

Birds-Eye View 

In current day, a common public usage of drones includes photography and videography. Andrew Richard, a local Hampton Roads drone photographer and videographer, shared how he uses the technology of in his business, often times to get the shot that nobody else can. 

“Photography and videography with drones are a good place to start when it comes to learning how to fly a drone. Drones can produce amazing photos that are impossible to duplicate by a ground-based photographer.”

Commercial Uses 

Drones are still used in the military, but have become a popular tool for businesses. Law enforcement, real estate, inspections, and agriculture are some of the industries that use drones in the workplace.

According to Professor Julie Young at Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly Thomas Nelson Community College), drones will become the future among other instruments that are being developed.

“A drone is really a tool that is used to help get a job done. The drone itself can be used in all different ways. A drone is the universal tool that can be enhanced with instruments, such as cameras and thermometers.”

It is possible that drones will be used for other purposes in the near future, such as grocery delivery, package delivery, and more.

Drone Licenses

From a commercial standpoint, every individual who makes a profit using their drone needs to be licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration. VPPC’s certificate program is basically a drivers education program for drones. In their class, potential pilots learn how to read aeronautical maps, fix their drone, identify restricted airspace, and more. 

Open now until October 9, learn more about drone technology in the summer exhibit, Drones: Is the Sky the Limit. Through interactive displays and stations, explore the past, present and future of drones. Then, test your pilot skills in the Drone Zone obstacle course.

Have a “Round” at Nauticus’ Battlechip and Sip

Make Father’s Day memorable at a unique waterfront golfing experience.

Norfolk, Va. (June 1, 2022) – For the first time in the history of Nauticus, guests will have the opportunity to drive biodegradable golf balls off the historic Battleship Wisconsin’s fantail to hit an interactive floating water target positioned in the Elizabeth River. 

Nauticus is partnering with Maryland startup, Splash City Golf, on Father’s Day weekend, June 18 and 19, 2022, to offer this unique golf experience to its visitors.  

“Working with the Nauticus team to create a driving range off the Battleship Wisconsin is a milestone moment for us. We envisioned hitting biodegradable golf balls at some pretty cool spots when we started the company a few years ago, but never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d get an opportunity like this,” said Splash City Golf President Daniel Bucci. “We are very excited to see golfers try and hit our target from such a unique tee box.” 

Using a drone-operated floating target, this setting is a perfect blend of naval history with new technologies and is timely with the debut of Nauticus’ summer exhibit, Drones: Is The Sky The Limit?, on June 18. This new exhibit allows visitors to explore the history of drone technology, from the earliest unmanned flying machines to advanced systems of the 21st century.  

Battlechip & Sip activities will be open on Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Visitors will enjoy food and drink specials aboard the ship in addition to entertainment by media sponsor, US106.1. Golf ball purchases will directly support restoration and interpretation efforts aboard the Battleship Wisconsin. General admission is required to participate.  

Nauticus members are invited to an early preview of the exhibit and exclusive driving range access on June 18 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Drones will open on June 18 at Nauticus through October 9, 2022. Access to the new exhibit is included in Nauticus’ general admission.

Plan Your Visit 
Nauticus will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Paid admission includes access to the Nauticus museum, special programming, and the Battleship Wisconsin. As always, Nauticus members are free. Tickets and additional details are available online here

About Nauticus 
Battlechip & Sip is supported by the Nauticus Foundation. The Nauticus Foundation is the nonprofit, 501©3 that supports the mission and activities of Nauticus. Nauticus’ mission is to benefit the community through education, impactful experiences, and sharing access to maritime resources.  

For more information, visit

Start on Success Program Helps Prepare Norfolk Students for Life Beyond the Classroom

By Megan Roche

You’ve seen them around the Nauticus campus: taking tickets, greeting guests, teaching educational programs, and stocking the gift shop. Norfolk’s Public Schools’ Start on Success students are an integral part of Nauticus staff who help bring the best experience to all visitors.

The SOS program is a grant funded program for rising seniors who are receiving a standard or advanced studies diploma. The program is employer based in which students participate in an education for employment class during their first semester of 12th grade and a paid internship in their second semester.

Students greeted guests and showed them how to navigate the museum.

Each department had a different focus; but a skill they all learned was customer service.

Nauticus staff members from different departments mentored the students.

Students in the program are exposed to the work world, learning skills like resume writing, interview techniques, self-advocacy, and a balancing a paycheck. Each week when they come to Nauticus, they work their assigned job and put their classroom skills to the test. In spring of 2022, seven NPS students worked in the education department, the gift shop, guest services, or as members of the battleship crew. 

As our Nauticus SOS students get ready to graduate, we sat down with each of them to highlight their experiences.

Dejah Jenkins: Education/Discovery Crew Member

The biggest skill I will take away is communication and people skills.

Working here helped me a lot. This job made me work harder and taught me to never give up. It also showed me that I can do more than one thing at once. I realized that I can go to school and keep my grades up while working.

I love working with kids and showing them the sharks.

Zoey Hixson: Guest Services Ambassador

The most important skill I will take away is patience. I work at our main escalator a lot which requires me to usually stand in one place for long periods of time.

I would really advise them to pay attention to what they are being told. It is important to pay attention because you can easily tell guests the wrong information. Those guests aren’t going to trust what you are saying.

I really love watching the kids when they first get on the escalator. They are always really excited, and it brings me happiness.

Ethan Foster: Gift Shop Associate

I will take away the fact that it is important that I am an organized person, on time, and paying attention.

Students should be productive, no matter what type of job you have here. You have to push forward and past whatever stands in your way. Keep moving toward success.

Having this job has helped me become more responsible with my goals. I also really learned the importance of managing my time.

William Armstrong: Battleship Crew Member

Nauticus taught me that I like to talk to people and give everyone a good experience during their visit. 

Even though I am a super nice person, I am really shy. Working here has helped me overcome that.

I really loved when I met the staff on the battleship for the first time. It’s nice to meet new people.

Levi Hollister: Education/Discovery Crew Member

I really learned the importance of being focused. You have to make sure you are prepared for when guests come and ask you questions. You want to introduce guests to your area as best as you can.

I would tell the next class of students to not think too hard about it. If you go slowly with it, you should be successful.

This program has helped me learn the skills for working around all different types of people and personalities.

Dominic Lanier: Guest Services Ambassador

You always want to have a big smile on your face while you are here and have great communication skills. Working here you are going to deal with people that may not be happy. At the end of the day, just do your best.

Working here has taught me how to not talk so fast and how to explain things slowly.

My favorite experience was meeting my fellow coworkers.

Zachary Potter: Battleship Crew Member

I think the most important skill, whether it’s your first job or not, is people skills. You are going to be working with, greeting and dealing with people that you don’t know. You want to make a good impression. 

Don’t sweat so much. You are going to come out of the program with so much confidence. You might not have an idea of what you are getting yourself into, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be just fine once you get into the field.

Working at Nauticus, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Once I started, it kind of got easier. I changed my personality where I’d really like to be more of a people person now. 

I really love giving the Command and Control tours on the battleship. The tours really take you into the depths of the ship’s history. I love the CEC and simulating what it was like when the ship was in combat.