by Caciques Katie T. and Helen Helen: This morning ended the final run-swim for the Fall 2011 semester, with a mixture of relief and sorrow. Another early morning of prepping to send us out onto the now well-known course, into temperatures that are a little bit colder and waves are a little big bigger than usual considering it’s December now. Waiting for the air horn to sound though, I was brought back to that first time when I didn’t really know what to expect when Maxey told us we would be doing a run-swim every Monday, and be timed three times that semester. Of course, at the beginning, imagining that final run-swim was impossible, and it even seemed impossible to imagine yesterday morning, but now it’s over. Some saw improvements since the beginning of the semester, as small as a couple of seconds, a few minutes, like myself, or even as much as 10 minutes. Because of the rough conditions, some increased their time, but you can’t control the weather. And then there were those people who were so fast in the beginning of the semester that they would have literally had to fly to decrease their times. The thing about run-swims is that you can feel yourself getting stronger each time you do one. The longs stretches seem a little bit shorter, the transitions between land and water are a little bit easier and jumping over that once daunting wall is a piece of cake. For myself, my time doesn’t matter as much as how dead I feel at the end of it, and after today’s, I felt surprisingly okay. After the two and a half hour Super Swim, running and swimming for 20 minutes didn’t seem like such a difficult task. And with our final run-swim comes the end of all physical assessments for the semester. We’ve come a long way since the first run-swim in September and it’s kind of hard to let them go.
Katie T: This afternoon we spent time in our advisories working on our DOLs and portfolios. The portfolio is essentially a culmination of all of our work here, and the DOL, meaning Demonstration of Learning, will be our final big assignment. The portfolio is necessary for our schools to know what we’ve done with our time here. The idea is that our teachers will be more understanding of our semester in The Bahamas once they see how hard we’ve worked in academics. But the portfolios aren’t limited to academics, they’re meant to give an accurate representation of how hard we push our minds bodies and spirits. We’re encouraged to include everything we accomplished here – run-swim, marathon, or super-swim times; kayak descriptions and journal entries from solo; pictures from scuba diving or a scan of your dive certification; art we’ve created while being here or recording of a coffee-house; even just pictures to try and capture what life is like here. Finally, our DOLs will be shared later in the week. They’re any type of creative representation of everything we’ve learned here (a hard feat to wrap up into a 15 minute presentation). Some students might read a poem or play guitar, some might have their viewers participate, most will make the audience cry. It is a melancholy time, thinking we’ll be on a plane in a week’s time, but that just goes to show how much we love this place and how sad we’ll be to leave our new home.