Student Update March 15, 2013

Hello everyone, this is Liz and I’ll be on blog duties for the next week or so. Yesterday was a day of transition for the students here at Island School. Our academic classes are finally starting today, so the faculty decided it would be a good idea for us to be introduced to this unique activity called Querencia time. With Querencia time we are able to go off on our own anywhere on the cape around the school as long as we stay within our set boundaries. I was really excited for this time because it is a time of reflection on one’s self and honestly is the only time where I was finally and utterly, just by myself. I wanted to make this time really special so I searched for about an hour on my bike trying to find and discover just the right spot. I found some really neat places, but none of them really spoke to me or felt all that special. I discovered this really beautiful spot near sunset beach, a couple in the inner loop, but finally after an hour of biking I realized I was just happy to be on a small section of the beach on Fourth Hole. It is so peaceful there. During this time I was able to write letters, reflect on my journey so far, and just relax on this surreal beach on Eleuthera. Querencia time is unique to every individual, faculty and students alike. For me it was just a time that I could not worry about school work, my relationships with people, or all the intense emotions I felt the first two weeks here. I admit though, I did start to miss my family and friends. I really just want to share with them this amazing journey and opportunity I am living everyday. But at the same time I realized that I do have people who care about me here who I am sharing this experience with. This much needed time really helped me just unwind and realize that I am meant to be here, on Eleuthera, at Island School. I cannot wait for Querencia time again; it was fabulous and a great time for reflection. And now we jump headfirst into our academic weeks.

DCMS Nature Trail Tour

In partnership with the Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF), the students of Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) has installed the firsts student created native plants nature trail. Watch as our local DCMS kids give a history of the project and a tour of the trail.  They will soon have a laminated field guide for the trail, so feel free to drop by for a self-guided tour or spend time learning from one of our student experts.

Student Leadership Update - First Cacique Council of Spring 2013

Each week, a group of students is selected for their unique potential as leaders to come together as the 5 student Cacique Council, “Cacique” meaning leader in ancient Lucayan. During that week, the group will plan special activities for their peers, run morning and evening circles, facilitate communication between students and faculty, and fulfill other important roles as needed. Members of the council are welcomed into the new role during Community Meeting, in which a public acknowledgement of each individual’s leadership qualities is read aloud. Enjoy these “Cacique Pass-Offs” written below. Join us in welcoming the first Cacique Council of the semester: James Boelkins, Isabel Jamerson, Brayden Beardsley, Ivy Fasolo, and Shanika Foster, and look forward to more student leadership updates in the coming weeks:

This student emerged as a leader and great team member during 3-day kayak; his trip leaders were surprised and impressed when he jumped out of his boat for lunch on the first day and immediately had the tarp out, asking what needed to be done to set up lunch. Whether it was offering encouraging words out on the water or asking how he could help around camp, this student exhibited the qualities of eagerness and willingness to help that we value in our community. His friendliness, openness, enthusiasm and sense of responsibility will make him a solid member of the semester's first Cacique Council. Congratulations James!

I had the pleasure of being one of Isabel’s kayak leaders.  Whenever there was a task at hand—leading the kayak pod, setting up lunch or building a fire—Isabel always stepped up without hesitation.  I especially admired how her kind, positive and easy-going personality helped glue the rest of our group together.  Even though our trip was only 3 days long, it seemed like Isabel had created a genuine bond with each student.  Isabel has also stood out in the classroom.  While she has a strong and confident voice during Harkness discussions, she is also a compassionate listener and gives quieter students the space to speak up.  So far, Isabel has lived The Island School mission of “creating an intentional community” and there is no doubt in my mind that she will be a valuable member of the first Cacique Council.

In SCUBA week, we ask students to literally immerse themselves in the underwater world, to begin, as Lopez puts its, a conversation with the natural world.  This student has taken this goal, and quite actually blown it up.  In fact, his wild enthusiasm while diving resulted in a new underwater symbol for a mind being blown (demonstrate symbol).  This enthusiasm, demonstrated through a responsible undertaking of diligently cleaning a pair of borrowed shoes, has just begun to show its full force. Brayden's immersion into this place, exemplified by his first attempt at water polo and an honest desire to listen to others in this community, is representative of what we strive for at this school.  For this,  I nominate Brayden to the Cacique Council.  

The Island School is centered around students stepping outside their comfort zones and diving into new experiences. During our kayak trip, Ivy was a model for other students in trying new things. Whether it was learning to surf a kayak or grabbing a paddle and helping to launch a raft into the ocean, Ivy's spirit and drive to embrace new opportunities was evident. Additionally as we paddled into the wind on Day 2, Ivy's boat slowly started to fill with water and inhibited her steering. I was impressed with her determination and positive attitude as we slowly made our way to camp. I am confident that the leadership Ivy displayed on kayak will cross-over to campus, and she will be a strong contributor to this week's Cacique Council. 


Shanika has shown tremendous growth in just her two short weeks upon arriving at The Island School.  She has pushed herself unbelievably beyond her comfort zone in not just one sphere but multiple realms.  Her tenacious and determined spirit are inspiring, and I believe her relentless drive to try new things and propel herself into fresh challenges will motivate the people around her.  This young woman had never paddled a kayak before or camped, and embraced the experience with an open mind and a smile always on her face.  She conquered the art of riding a bike with persistence and a never-give-up attitude.  I believe her enthusiasm to gracefully accept new challenges will be a powerful influence on this campus and her examples of self-determination will lead people to push themselves to new victories.

Student Update March 11, 2013

Student Update March 11, 2013

Throughout the semester, we will be featuring regular updates about the student experience here at Island School, through the voices of our own students. These "Student Update" reflections will blend stories and experiences from all areas of student life, from academics to adventures, keeping you all posted on meaningful moments that happen here each day. Enjoy our first Student Update of S.13:

Hi, this is Liz Whitson and I want to let you know what has been happening in this hectic first week for the students at Island School. Ashley just told me that our first week here on Eleuthera will be complete tomorrow (Monday) and I cannot believe it; it feels like I have been here so much longer. From adjusting to the new dorm settings and the rigorous schedule already, it is weird that I have only been here for six days. We have had our introductory night classes to the classes we will be taking at Island School and have jumped right into kayak and SCUBA week! K1 and K2 departed Eleuthera on Friday and are expected to come back today! It will be great to see everyone again since we have had so little time to get to know all the students we will be spending all the rest of our time here. K3 and K4 depart tomorrow and the first SCUBA group will all be certified after 3 days of hard work.

I know for me that SCUBA was a completely new experience. But, I absolutely loved it. When we first arrived, I thought the campus was so beautiful and surreal and I wondered how this could even be a school where we learn. The campus is nothing though compared to the beauty of the reefs we have visited these past 2 days. SCUBA went smoothly for me, but I know it was a challenge for some. Our group was amazing to be in everyone was so relaxed and chill and we even got to motor around in our boat called the Mac Daddy! Such an amazing experience so far for only being here for so little.

Island School at Wellesley High School's Seminar Day






Fall 2012 alumna, Korinna Garfield, invited The Island School to come speak at a session during Wellesley High School's Student Congress Seminar Day. Korinna is a member of the high school's Student Congress that chooses speakers and organizes the entire day of seminars. We were flattered to be included in such a cool event! We were also grateful for the contributions made during the presentation by our Island School alumni at Wellesley High School, Korinna and Christie Ledingham (S'11). Thank you for having us, Wellesley High School!