CLEVELAND, Ohio — Families watched the horizon at the Port of Cleveland, looking for the tall masts of the schooner "Denis Sullivan."

It was an emotional wait for Donna Sturgill. 

"You know, I'm tearing up just thinking about it", she said waiting for her daughter Alayna. She joined 18 other teens on a six day trip on the tall ship, sailing from Milwaukee through the Straights of Mackinaw, down through Detroit and into Lake Erie. 

It was all made possible by the Rotary Club of Cleveland and Project YESS. 

The students went through an application process for the trip and had to write essays explaining why they wanted to go. 

For Nyomi Morris, the trip was like nothing she'd ever experienced. "We always had a helping hand, you know, but we also had enough responsibility to have a purpose on the boat so we were all working together. A lot of teamwork."

Six days away from home is a long time and the students were greeted with lots of hugs from friends and family. 

Donna's daughter Alayna said her favorite things were the food and the stars at night. "When you're out in the middle of Lake Erie or Huron or Michigan even, you can see the stars really bright." She and the other students will have a lifetime of memories made on the trip, and the sharing of those stories will commence right after a few more hugs.