HAL DRUMMOND: This is the radio room, and this is all original gear.
SARAH BAUGHN, REPORTER: Hal Drummond is standing in the communications nerve center of the 70-year-old Jeremiah O'Brien, berthed at Fisherman's Wharf.
As a tour group listens, he points to a huge steel box covered in dials and switches and reveals a few radio-room secrets.
DRUMMOND: You can't transmit except if you're transmitting a distress call.
BAUGHN: But this tour is really a class. Standing behind Drummond is Tam Ngo, a sophomore from Raoul Wallenberg High School in San Francisco's Western Addition.
TAM NGO: I have never really even been on a ship before last year.
BAUGHN: And now he's spending the summer on board the O'Brien, guiding visitors through the radio room and all around the historic ship.
Tam is in a pilot program where Wallenberg students work alongside O'Brien crewmembers and earn community service hours.
For most of these inner-city San Francisco kids working aboard a ship, or even visiting the waterfront, is almost as exotic as a trip into space.
MESHELLE PEREZ: When I was growing up here I didn't know ships were in San Francisco at all, I just thought that it was just a city and that's all.
BAUGHN: Mechelle Perez has lived her whole life in the city. This is her first time aboard a ship.
PEREZ: Looking out at the bay, I just saw water, I never saw like boats.
SARAH CARTER: Ok, how many docents volunteers do we have, one two...
On the main deck the 20 students from Wallenberg High are getting their first assignments from an O'Brien Volunteer, Sarah Carter.
CARTER: If you are a steward volunteer go back to the galley where you were working with Pat. The docents will go with Hal.
BAUGHN: The program is a chance for these students to learn about the O'Brien, one of only two operational Liberty ships left, and a survivor of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The students will gain job skills, and help visitors discover a key piece of U.S. history.
Mechelle Perez is already planning for her stint in the ship's store.
PEREZ: Ah for me this summer? Learning more about the boat, helping a lot of people to, like, showing them like them about the boat, and telling people to come to the boat to see, to experience the boat like I am right now.
BAUGHN: Wallenberg High School social studies teacher Judith Mahnke is hoping for something more when the students return to school in the fall: a tour for the whole school.
JUDITH MAHNKE: That's my fantasy, that my student volunteers there will have this opportunity to share it then with the rest of the school and their teachers. And be really proud of what they've done.
BAUGHN: Hopes are high on the O'Brien that this year's pilot program will lead to more students working onboard - next summer.