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Alumni Profiles

Many Island School alumni have used their semester experience as the main focus of their college essays. Read below to learn a bit more about some of our alumni and read an excerpt from their college essay.

Anabelle Florio

Semester: Fall 2011

Hometown: New York, NY

High School: Columbia Grammar and Prep in New York, NY

High School Graduation Year: 2013

Expected College Graduation Year: 2017

Major/Interest in College: Environmental Studies and Journalism

Favorite Memory or Experience at IS: 8 day kayak/reuniting after kayak rotations

I think about things that matter to me most: how I’ve changed at the Island School from clinging, camouflaged into the background to boldly embracing the unknown — the excitement of capturing dinner spear fishing, carelessly spinning with friends as we collapse into gales of laughter onto dizzy sand, and running off the dock with soap suds swirling in my eyes during ocean showers. I think about overcoming my fear of public speaking when presenting my research on bio-digestion to environmentalists and smiles shared with Ecuadorians after a long day of planting trees in the Amazon. And I think about fishing with my dad back home at sunrise as the crisp Atlantic laps at our waists. As I drift to sleep I realize that I am alone, but I don’t feel lonely. I am not memorizing, but I am learning. Through shifting paradigms, I have transformed.

Anne Vetter

Semester: Spring 2011

Hometown: Kentfield, CA

High School: Urban School of San Francisco in San Francisco, CA

High School Graduation Year: 2012

Current College/University: Gap Year, beginning Colby College in Waterville, ME in the fall of 2013

Expected College Graduation Year: 2017

Interests and/or Major at College: Creative Writing, Photography, and Environmental Studies

Favorite Memory or Experience at IS: Either beaching myself in front of everyone during 8-day or when we went out and caught and tagged a reef shark for a change of pace in shark research.

I learned that more minds meant more potential and that a power of a true leader comes not from her mind, but from the minds of those around her. I began to achieve in a way that I had never achieved before; I truly could see how much of an impact I had made on the Island School community.

Brandon Gell

Semester: Fall 2010

Hometown: Chappaqua, NY

High School: Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY

High School Graduation Year: 2012

College: Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT

Expected College Graduation Year: 2016

Major/Interests at College: Environmental Science, Architecture

Favorite Memory or Experience at IS: My best memory of The Island school was revealing the compost tea machine I had made with Nate to the rest of the community. It felt great to use knowledge and skills gained over the semester to actually build something that was going to have an impact on the way we composted and grew our food.

I returned from The Island School more in touch with the person I am:  someone concerned about the environment and its fragile state; someone involved with the community rather than competing with it; someone cognizant of the importance of sustainability; someone aware of himself as an individual who can make a significant impact. I came to understand that being an effective leader has nothing to do with being in charge but everything to do with empowering others to be their best and to work together toward a common goal. I became a listener better able to appreciate others’ points of view, and it taught me that one is never too young to begin solving real life issues.

Hammy Wallace

Semester: Fall 2010

Hometown: Cold Spring Harbor, NY

High School: The Taft School in Watertown, CT

High School Graduation Year: 2012

College: University of Denver in Denver, CO

Expected College Graduation Year: 2017

Major/Interests in College: Mechanical Engineer; enjoys skiing

Favorite Memory or Experience at IS: How I felt after my 4 mile swim.

As my excursion neared its end, I thought about how the months at The Island School had prepared me to endure two days of solitude, and how those two days had in turn prepared me to take the next step in my life and reach my full potential.  I had become independent throughout these months and felt ready to develop my skills as a leader.  In those two days I realized for the first time I was more comfortable with the influence I had over myself than the influence of others.  As I walked away from my beach, I knew I was prepared for my future socially and academically.