This summer, we are excited to welcome back 5 Island School alumni who are working at either The Island School or Cape Eleuthera Institute: Liam Donovan (F'10), George Giannos (F'10), Griffin Hunt (F'11), Nick Lanza (S'10), Grace Lucas (S'08), and Whitney Powel (S'09). Read a short description of each of their roles this summer and what it's like to be back at The Island School.
Liam Donovan is working as a resources and facilities intern. So far they have been helping out with odd jobs such as building and constructing the new animal shelter in the back of the farm. Their main focus this summer will be working on the bottle walls on the bottom level of the new resources building. He plans to use the bottles to make the recycling symbol in one wall, the CEI logo in one, and the IS logo in the other. Liam says he is "simply ecstatic to be back on the island since I left 3 years ago. As for most alumni, my semester here was such a pivotal point in my life where I was able to learn about my self while also exploring the sustainable concepts that are practiced here, in which i hope to further pursue in the future. One of the biggest reasons for coming back was just to live the island lifestyle again, it just feels great to be back on campus again."
This summer George Giannos is working as the resource/facilities intern at the Island School. George and his classmate, Liam Donovan had always dreamed of coming back together to work at The Island School and are extremely happy that they were able to accomplish that dream. George says "I love the work that I have been doing around campus and cannot wait to see the final product of the bottle wall. It is incredible to see how the school and institute has grown in the three years that I have been gone and hopefully I can help it grow a little more through this summer internship."
Ever since Griffin Hunt graduated from The Island School, he has been searching for ways to give back to this community, the people and place, that helped define who he is today. Now, a year and a half after leaving IS, he has happily returned as a Communications Intern. "My job is primarily to document the events of the entire organization—Summer Term students, visiting educational programs, CEI, DCMS camps, the works. Photography and videography are my bread and butter (you might have recently seen the Summer Term 2013 Student Arrival video I made), so I’m focused on producing videos of campus/IS events. In addition, I’ve been helping out the Admissions team to produce various materials, both written and visual, that are sent to prospective students. I have a background in emergency medicine and have also been helping out with medical and risk management mumbo jumbo on campus. It’s truly fantastic to be back here working alongside my past teachers and see what it’s like to be on the other side. Because of the nature of my work here, my time is very malleable; I get to tag along with other programs and experience a bit of everything: sharking, morning exercise, research dives, IS excursions. Spending my summer here is a ton of work, but a sincere pleasure. I look forward to the adventures in the weeks ahead."
This summer, Nick Lanza is working with Peter Zdrojewski as the Marine Ecology teacher for the summer term. Last summer was Nick's first time returning to the island since his semester in Spring 2010 and worked on the marine ecology team last summer. Nick will begin his senior year at Prescott College in Prescott , AZ where he is majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in ecological education and a minor in Adventure Education with an emphasis in nautical exploration. Considering his work here at Island School directly correlates with his degree, he decided to make the work from this summer into his senior thesis. For this, Nick has worked directly with Peter to further develop the Summer Term Marine Ecology Curriculum. A main focus/theme he has brought to marine ecology this summer term is "the theme of artful and eloquent natural history writing and how it relates directly to conservation. For this, we will be deconstructing influential writers like Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, and seeing how natural history writing can be used as an essential tool to connect to the public emotions and can be used t pave way for conservation. Aside from marine ecology I also take part in leading the sea kayak trips, where I provide students with the basic skills needed for sea kayaking expeditions and lead dynamic lessons on moon phases and place-based tidal flows. I also work as a personal advisory to seven students and I am on the medical team, working to keep our students safe and healthy."
Grace Lucas can't believe it has been five years since she was a student at The Island School, because the moment she stepped back onto campus all of her memories flashed back like it was yesterday! Grace always knew that one day she would be back and is so glad that she is. This summer Grace is an Outdoor Education intern getting the chance to work with kids from all over the world who want to have an Island School experience. The kids experience what it’s like to live on a sustainable campus including taking navy showers, composting, and learning about all of the sustainable systems. The days are filled with activities and lessons like snorkeling the reefs, visiting the aquaculture cage, mangroves and banyan tree, and jumping off cliffs at the ocean hole and high rock! Grace says "it has been a truly rewarding experience so far being able to share the contagious love for the Island School that all of us working here have. I’ve loved being able to work with kids and influence them to “live in the here and now” in order to soak up as much as they can. I’m looking forward to being here for the next few weeks to help out with other research going on, teaching more kids in the programs and spending time with everyone in the Island School community!"
Ever since Whitney Powel left The Island School after her semester in Spring 2009, she knew she wanted to come back in some capacity and give back to the place which had offered her such an amazing experience. That's why she is thrilled to be back this summer working as a Summer Term Mentor for the 40 Island School students here this month. As a mentor, Whitney has a lot of interaction with the students and is gaining teaching experience by co-teaching Human Ecology with a focus on food systems and waste. In addition, Whitney have an advisory group and is working with the students to update the IS blog every few days! Whitney says "it is so rewarding to know that I am a part of this transformational experience this summer. Can’t wait for the next three weeks!"