At the Island school, there are three main pillars, community, sense of place and sustainability. Everyday in class, with friends, and with the challenges we take, we are working to fully understand these three ideals, and learning how to apply them to everyday life. The point of school for us is no longer learning facts to prepare us for the next test, but instead classes bring purpose and meaning into what we are learning. We look not only at what things are, but instead discuss why they came to be, and how it affects the world around us. This change from what we were used to at home all began on one of the first days at Island School, when early in the morning, we were taken down to Boys dorm beach, asked to grab a handful of sand, and told to rub it around our face, talk to it, and really understand it. We thought our teacher was crazy at first, but after a few minutes we were laughing at each other and were covered in sand from head to toe.
This was only the beginning, because now as a community we’ve learned how to laugh together, care for each other, and trust each other. As we went through our first 5 academic weeks, and were forced to be busier than ever before, we challenged ourselves to get to know each other better, and to get used to the routines of campus. This routine was then tossed out the window when 8-day kayak/sailing rotations started, and we were split up and stuck with a new group of kids (different from class groups) that we didn’t have a choice but to get along with. For a week we bonded over campfires and hardships until all of sudden we were each alone, dropped off on the beach sleeping under the stars, with no one to talk to or lean on but ourselves. As we returned to campus, each with a new perspective, we rejoined the other students, once again being the group of 50, ready to begin the final stretch. Island school is the only place where a day can be so exhausting and crazy that it feels as if it never ends, but before you realize it weeks will have flown by. We’re all realizing now that more then three-quarters of our time here is gone, and that before we know it, we will be on the plane home, each a different person than we were when we first left.