This summer, the Summer Term students will be writing blogs about their experience, but while they are busy in orientation, the summer term faculty will do their best to summarize the students’ daily life! Hello from Eleuthera!
The students are quickly getting familiar with The Island School and all of the components of their Summer Term experience. This week, the students are busy orienting themselves with our kayak program, through a day-long kayak trip around the Cape, the SCUBA program, with three days of certification and training under the water, and our Down-Island program, with a daylong road trip around South Eleuthera.
Yesterday marked the first day of orientation and 11 students and three faculty headed north to Rock Sound for the term’s first South Eleuthera Road Trip – SERT – to experience the island aside from our campus. Later this summer, students will embark on a 4-day Down-Island journey, a vital part of The Island School experience. Through their trip up and down the island, students are introduced to the geography and culture of Eleuthera while understanding how much the those landscapes can teach the students about themselves and where they are. In addition, students will begin to understand the tourism industry on Eleuthera by visiting larger settlements to gain even more perspective of life on the island.
First stop on the SERT: the Banyan tree! Students had time to explore the area surrounding the Banyan tree before settling down for reflection, observation, and sketching what they saw. The group gathered to share ideas and drawings of the tree.At the Rock Sound Market nearby the Banyan tree, the SERT group searched the aisles for the most local and the more foreign foods they could find. After the 15-minute market hunt, they shared what they found and related their findings to the concept of local foods, waste, and the relationship between consuming food and the impact on the environment. For example, students were surprised that almost all the food on Eleuthera has to be shipped in from the United States. The students will understand more about local foods during their next few week in their Food Systems unit.
The group then stopped at Rock Sound’s Ocean Hole for a lesson about ocean holes and for a quick dip in this 600-foot deep, landlocked, brackish body of water.
After cooling off in the Ocean Hole and breaking for lunch, the 11 students and faculty met up for class beside the Ocean Hole. Students read their peers’ written work about their sense of place assigned the night before. The idea of a sense of place is one of the pillars of The Island School. Through this experience, students gain a better understanding of where they are, where they stand in relationship to the place, and how their relationship with a place may change over time. Students were asked to choose a place with which they have a relationship, describe how that place evokes emotions, and include a description of how they came to know the place. Here's an excerpt from a student's reflection:
I found a place where my head poked out of the forest, and posed for my parents’ camera. That picture is my reminder of this memory, and it takes me back ever time I look at it. And that is how I have come to know where I live. Exploration, on my own, with friends, or with my family, I find something new every time I walk outside. The hours I spend outside every day continue to educate me on the place where I live. I spend many hours quietly sitting in a tree, hunting, patiently waiting for something to happen. I may spend, and have spent, hours where the only company is the quiet machinations of nature. What amazes me every time, despite my attempts to ignore it, is the power of the imagination to affect what we see and hear. In the morning, with the cloaking darkness shrinking back into the crevasses of the forest, and the hopeful anticipation of game, the shadows morph into life like figures that seem to defy the laws of physics.
During orientation this week, each student will experience kayaking, a SERT, and SCUBA, so stay tuned for updates from our kayak trips and our SCUBA training!