“Semester Debrief” By Cacique Marianne Foss-Skiftesvik and Brandon Gell
Today was not necessarily a typical Sunday here at Island School. Instead of having a sleep in, we had an eight o'clock circle leading into a group breakfast. We had our usual Wednesday and Sunday morning breakfast of granola. After granola breakfasts a week and an unbelievable amount of Nalgenes full of granola on kayak, many of us have either grown to love or hate it. Then at nine o clock, the majority of students were having their final meeting before being able to get the next certification for scuba: Advanced Open Water Certification. We have been working up to getting this for the majority of the semester and it was very exciting to finally reach that point. Then at ten o'clock, we had our second circle of the day transitioning our time into the sad task of packing. We had the ability to send one bag home and live out of our other bag from the next two days. It was tough for many of us to face the fact that we were taking the first step towards the end of our time here together. I know that I personally was having some trouble so Catharine helped me pack even though she probably had a million other things to do.
All afternoon, we then had the opportunity to have our last exploration of the semester. Many students spent it either going to places they had never been before but wanted to go, or going back to places where they had some of their best memories. I had considered going some where I had never gone before because that is something we as Island School students are always encouraged to do, but my friends and I realized that we didn't care where we spent our exploration time, we just wanted to spend it together. So, I decided to go to one of my favorite beaches with a few of my closest friends here at school and we had a picnic full of talking, laughing, and just having a good time, spending our last free time together which was all that we had cared about. We reflected upon old memories, the good and the bad, and we even talked about memories we hope to share in the future. Even though we knew that we would see each other after Island School was over, it is still sad to know that we only have two more days of our semester left together. It’s hard for many of us to understand that this campus will no longer be ours, but it will be passed on to the Spring 2011 semester.
As Will, Liam, Pibl, George and I (Brandon), sat on the edge of the water, we all reached a sense pleasure as we reflected on the semester while viscously eating a chocolate cake that our dear friend Sheva made for us at the Coffee Shop. Our traditional debrief was in session, but we all knew that this one would be slightly different than the rest. Every weekend preceding our final one, we have spent our Sunday exploring, then our day would culminate with eating of the cake of our choice, ordered from the Coffee Shop. I can remember a particularly good debrief earlier in the semester when we had just discovered the high rock caves. We biked to the Coffee Shop eager to talk about what we had experienced when we realized there were no cakes left. It was still a great debrief but we realized we don’t need cake, although it is still very nice. Being our last debrief, we reflected on the semester and what had occurred up to that very moment. It was sad, yet in a weird way, exciting. We concluded that while we were excited to go home, that didn’t mean we were excited to leave, just ready too. After an incredible semester filled with individual journeys and experiences we were all ready to return and use The Island School as a springboard for our return home. For example, I am eager to take what I have learned about composting back home with me as well as set up a slackline. We had recognized that while it seems as if we are returning home to a place where no one understands us, we have each other and we have our families.