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Alumni

This Holiday Season, Think Tiny

 Santa Clara's rEvolve House. 

Santa Clara's rEvolve House. 

George Giannos, Fall 2010 Alumnus, took what he learned at The Island School and built on it. This fall, with a team of engineering students at Santa Clara University, he won a Tiny House Competition.

All the universities and colleges in California were eligible to compete in a Tiny House Competition modeled after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. Rather than building solar powered houses that generally cost upwards of $250,000, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District decided to host a competition to build smaller houses that could be financed under $50,000. Ten California schools accepted the challenge to design and build a tiny house. Convened in Sacramento, after up to two years of work, each tiny house was judged on four categories: Architecture, Energy Efficiency, Communications, and Home Life.

The Santa Clara University team took first place as best tiny house overall. Giannos served as construction manager for the fourteen engineering students that built the rEvolve House. This 238-square-foot, off the grid house not only rotates with the sun, has reclaimed maple cabinetry from the old Santa Clara basketball court, and a roof deck, it was built for an organization called Operation Freedom Paws. A non-profit that works with veterans and service dogs.

Since graduating from Lawrenceville, Giannos has returned to The Island School in many ways. He has traveled back to Eleuthera for many summers and internships at The Center for Sustainable Development. Last year, he joined the admissions team by reading applications for Fall, Spring, and Summer Term. Giannos read over 150 Island School applications during his spring semester of his junior year at Santa Clara.

To read more about the rEvolve House:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/10/07/santa-clara-students-put-spin-on-solar-power-for-tiny-house-contest/

https://magazine.scu.edu/webonly.cfm?b=439&c=24003

http://www.curbed.com/2016/10/20/13338338/tiny-house-eco-friendly-solar-powered-competition-smud

New England Road Trip: The Island School Admissions Team is in Full Swing of Travel Season

Last week our admissions team, Taylor Hoffman (SP‘06), Maggie Nichols (F‘09), and Glenn Hartman-Mattson (Faculty‘14-15), visited high schools and colleges throughout New England! We spoke with prospective students and caught up with alumni throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Monday:

We went to Burr and Burton Academy and their Mountain Campus where we found a faculty alumnus from some of the first semesters on Eleuthera. Ben Freeman is now the Director of BBA’s Mountain Campus, a semester program focused on environmental education and sustainable living.

Ben Freeman and Taylor
Ben Freeman and Taylor

We then found a couple alums to have lunch with at Middlebury College!

Harrison Rohrer (F '13), Glenn, and Will Cembalest (SP '14)
Harrison Rohrer (F '13), Glenn, and Will Cembalest (SP '14)

For dinner we found Libby Schwab (F ‘14), Emily Peters (F ‘11), and Kyle Titsworth (SP ‘12) in Burlington, VT. All students at UVM, we loved talking with them so much that we didn’t have time to get a photo!

Tuesday:

Onto to New Hampshire! We visited Hanover High School, Thetford Academy, and Kimball Union Academy during the day.

Thetford Academy:  Clara Hoffman (F ‘15), Taylor, and Kia O'Connor (F’15)
Thetford Academy:  Clara Hoffman (F ‘15), Taylor, and Kia O'Connor (F’15)

We had dinner at Molly’s in Hanover with some of our alums at Dartmouth and living in Hanover!

Starting from the left back row: Amelia Lubrano (SU ‘ 15), Ruby Spitz (SP’ 16), Maggie, Maisie MacMillen (F ‘15), Avery Vanacore (SP’14), Noelle Henderson (SP ‘15), Taylor, and Glenn
Starting from the left back row: Amelia Lubrano (SU ‘ 15), Ruby Spitz (SP’ 16), Maggie, Maisie MacMillen (F ‘15), Avery Vanacore (SP’14), Noelle Henderson (SP ‘15), Taylor, and Glenn

Wednesday:

A visit to The Mountain School! We met up with Kareen Obydol-Alexandre, a teacher who attended the Summer 2016 Teachers Conference.

Kareen Obydol-Alexandre and Taylor
Kareen Obydol-Alexandre and Taylor
Taylor and Glenn made some new lady friends
Taylor and Glenn made some new lady friends

That night we met up with a couple of our alums at Bates College!

Glenn, Sam Hastings (F’12), Jake Atwood (SP’14), and Taylor (Sam’s Advisor while at IS)
Glenn, Sam Hastings (F’12), Jake Atwood (SP’14), and Taylor (Sam’s Advisor while at IS)

Thursday:

Taylor drove up to Camden Hills High School and visited our partners at Hurricane Island Outward Bound. Glenn visited Freeport High School and Yarmouth High School. That night we had a small gathering of prospective students and alumni families in Falmouth, ME!

Glenn and her advisee, Jessie Gray (SP’15), in Falmouth!
Glenn and her advisee, Jessie Gray (SP’15), in Falmouth!

Friday:

We drove up to Colby College for a cup of coffee with our last group of alumni!

Chase Goldston (SU ‘13), Hannah Piersiak (SP ‘12), Melinda Edie (F ‘14), Glenn, Taylor, Eleonor Bauwens (SU ‘15)
Chase Goldston (SU ‘13), Hannah Piersiak (SP ‘12), Melinda Edie (F ‘14), Glenn, Taylor, Eleonor Bauwens (SU ‘15)

Overall the admissions team connected with amazing alumni and prospective students all of New England and the trip was a giant success. But the highlight of the week was Maggie Nichols finding a camel in the middle of Vermont!! Even camels can try to live better in a (foreign) place.

Maggie and the leading expert camel in maple syrup production
Maggie and the leading expert camel in maple syrup production

Alumni Update: Ryan DeVos

We have a World Champion among us: Ryan DeVos (SP ’08) and his team are the 2016 Megles 32 World Champions! DevosWin

Ryan DeVos, along with his seven teammates, secured the title of World Champion in Newport, Rhode Island on October 2! As our first Island School alumnus to be awarded this high of an honor we are very excited to announce our congratulations and immense pride to have Ryan as part of our alumni community. After a full year of sailing with the same teammates, four of which have sailed together since 2010, the team came together to stand atop the highest podium at the 2016 Melges 32 World Championship. Competing in half a dozen regattas this year, including a first place finish at a series in Fort Lauderdale and taking 2nd at the National Championship, winning in Newport was the ultimate goal.

When asked about his experience at The Island School, Ryan spoke to how those 100 days gave him the confidence to do anything. He loved that his semester viewed every day as a day to explore. As an Island School student in Spring 2008, he, unfortunately, was not a part of the new sailing expeditions. When asked what he thought about sailing the Hurricane Island boats, a much slower sailboat than a Melges 32, he said, “it’s about the experience, not the speed in which you do it.”

Again, The Island School congratulates Ryan on the World Championship win and is wishing him good luck at his new job with the Orlando Magic!

http://www.mysailing.com.au/latest/ryan-devos-crowned-2016-melges-32-world-champion

Maxey in New England

Alumni at the Robinson's home (Fall 2012 Alumni Family) in Middlebury, VT Chris Maxey and Cape Eleuthera Foundation Chairman, Ernie Parizeau, traveled to Hanover, New Hampshire and Middlebury, Vermont earlier this week. Alumni and families gathered to share stories and reminisce about their time on Eleuthera. The events were filled with pizza, laughter, and memories of the cape. Chris and Ernie are now headed to Boston for a board meeting and an Admissions Reception this weekend!

Alumni at Everything But Anchovies in Hanover, NH

Alumni Spotlight: Carter Brown (Sp '09)

Our bus came up a short hill, rounded the last corner and before us was a sign marking the entrance. The Island School! As we crunched and bounced down the pockmarked driveway lined with hundreds of conch shells, all 48 heads on board were swiveling from one side to the other and back again. To the left was a fleet of boats, to the right a huge wind turbine and straight ahead a cluster of buildings with blue roofs. The bus came to a halt halfway around a circle with a tall flag pole in the middle, flanked by two thatch-roofed gazebos. A moment of silence descended on the group and then was broken by a loud voice crying out from the entrance of what we soon learned was Boys Dorm. “TODAY IS THE GREATEST DAY OF YOUR LIVES!!!!!” yelled the man we came to know as David Miller as he ran, beaming, towards the bus. A chorus of nervous giggles was the response inside the bus. We learned later that night from Chris Maxey, “you are here to save the world.” This was the beginning of the Spring 2009 semester at The Island School. David Miller preps Spring ’09 to snorkel the wreck

While at The Island School I learned that I could swim 4 miles in the open ocean, ooids can be studied for math class, how to drive a boat, use a sextant, conduct interviews with locals, and connect with people and places in ways I had not known was possible. I learned that Fritter is both a food item and an adored animal. That was the better part of seven years ago. The best part is even though it felt like a devastating ending when day 100 came and we had to leave the Island, it turned out to be just the beginning. For me, it turned out that the day I arrived on The Island School campus really may have been the greatest day of my life because I would not be where I am now without those first harrowing moments stepping off the bus into a new way of life. I know many alumni feel the same.

After leaving, The Island School became as essential to me as my own heart. I received no greater reminder of that than during the summer of 2010. I woke up to the sound of feet clomping up the stairs outside my bedroom. As per usual, I rolled over and pretended to be asleep, hoping that my parents would have mercy on my laziness. My door clicked open and I heard a deep inhale of breath followed by a loud, drawn out note. This was a note which I had previously associated with only one place in the world. It had to be a dream I told myself, but I had to look just to see. I rolled over again and standing in the doorway to my room was Chris Maxey himself, brandishing a conch horn and preparing for another blast! I doubt I have ever leapt out of bed faster as Maxey hurried me down the stairs and out the door for a run-swim and yoga session along the Jersey Shore. That morning, Maxey taught me that I could leave The Island School, but that The Island School would never leave me.

Maxey and Carter after the surprise run-swim.

The Island School showed me that there was a life to create in my greatest interest. From the moment I left I knew I was going to be an environmental scientist. I came home convinced that I was going to change the world, that I had all the tools I would need to do it, and that I could start that very day. Needless to say, I set myself up for immediate failure and frustration. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to change someone else’s opinion. Why couldn’t my friends recycle? Why couldn’t my town have a community compost? Separated from my friends and teachers I had made at the Island School, I felt lost. But slowly I learned to pace myself, to take success and progress in smaller chunks. Others in my semester had similar arcs of progress, and we encouraged each other to keep going.

Eventually, everyone in my semester graduated into college. We had spread out across the country, but we were still Island Schoolers. We sought each other out at events like the 15th anniversary reunion in Boston or bumped into each other in chance encounters on a street. I attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges. I signed up for all of the environmental and biology classes I could during my first semester. My fervor and eagerness to continue my path to becoming an environmental scientist was, at the time, seemingly impeded by having to take a class called Storytelling, with a professor named Charlie Temple, along with my bio classes freshman year. Little did I know that one class would have a profound effect on me, to the point where I altered my double major in Environmental Studies and Biology to accommodate an English minor. I excelled when I could communicate with people instead of attempting to communicate with a microscope. This realization was a critical struggle that I wrestled with throughout college because I was so thoroughly convinced that I needed to save the world, as Maxey had told my semester years before, and that science was the only way I could do that.

Fellow Sp‘09ers Eduardo Lopez and Walcott Miller return to campus for 2015’s Reunion

I finally found my answer only months ago. After graduating from HWS, I accepted a position as The Island School’s Alumni Educator which planted me for a full year back on Eleuthera. I was put in touch with all of the Class Agents from all semesters, while also being an advisor to a group of students. In many ways, it felt like I was completing a cycle and returning home. I coached swimming and freediving, helped lead community service and co-led a Down Island Trip. I spoke weekly with alumni from all over and turned their stories into blog posts. I even had a hand in the 2015 CONCHtribution and 2016 1-for-100 campaigns. To top it off, I had two advisories of my own filled with the most incredible students.

At the end of both the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters I received a letter from an advisee that brought me to tears because of the writing’s elegance and simple beauty. Those letters showed me that I had made a tangible difference in at least two lives. My advisees taught me that there are an infinite number of ways to change the world. Freed from the burden of a destiny I had shackled myself to, I am now a fundraiser at a medium-sized environmental charity in Philadelphia. Professor Temple from my Storytelling class five years ago might be proud to know I tell stories for a living. And each day I get out of bed as if Maxey were in my doorway, with a conch horn, telling me to do my part in making this world a better place.