Alumni Spotlight: Krissy Truesdale (F'13)

Wellesly High School Earth Day Table Island School Alumna Krissy Truesdale (pictured right) from the F’13 Island School semester has been working tirelessly to bring solar power to the East Coast since before her time on campus. She is the founder and CEO of a novel charity called Solar for Our Superheroes or S4OS for short. The mission of S4OS, as can be found on their Facebook page, reads as follows: “Solar for Our Superheroes is a nonprofit organization  thanking local leaders such as veterans, teachers, firefighters, and police officers with solar energy for their homes. In doing so, we are able to thank our heroes, bring together communities, and educate about renewable energy options in our MA neighborhoods”. Krissy’s inspiration for her project goes back to her childhood. She has always “been passionate about wildlife and nature. My childhood consisted of me running around in the New England forests with my best friends, making up adventures with magic and dragons, adventures in which I would always be the hero coming in to save the day”. Krissy was hooked on the concept of heroes but also of the environment. She joined her high school’s Environmental Action Committee which encouraged her to believe that she could make a positive difference. At one of the meetings with her school’s program, Krissy met a girl from Arizona who was “chatting up about solar energy in her state. I made a comment about it was too bad that solar didn't work in New England and she was taken aback; we have sunlight, why wouldn't it work? We did some research and turns out it would work, and very well, but since no one had seen it around to prove that it worked here, most people assumed otherwise. It was a cycle of inaction.” Krissy set out to break that “cycle of inaction” and struck upon inspiration for her charity in her grandfather who was a firefighter, plumber, electrician and firehouse cook all at the same time simply to pay the bills. Other members of her family have served in the Navy, ROTC or as teachers in schools so Krissy always had a profound appreciation for her family and how they had found ways of dedicating themselves to service on behalf of the community.  To Krissy, “giving solar panels to these people seemed to be a perfect solution to thank them and save them money, while also creating the good examples of renewable energy that we need.”

2015 Board meeting

Krissy credits The Island School for teaching her how to manage a team, how to take criticism and most importantly how to move on from a failure. She learned not to give up when an idea or a presentation turned out poorly and instead how to adapt. For Krissy, attending The Island School “solidified my passion and direction for a life of activism”. She still keeps her letters from her kayak group taped to her mirror in her college dorm and uses them to motivate herself. She also has the guiding hand of our own Christian Henry on the Board of Directors for S4OS where he provides feedback and support.

Recently, S4OS achieved official 501c3 status meaning it is a recognized charity. This, along with the fact that Krissy has found the first hero she will be giving solar panels to, a partnership with The Boston Solar Company and the hiring of her first five interns means that she is well on her way to success. Krissy is now looking to provide solar panels to as many heroes as she can find with the eventual goal of spreading the transition to renewable energy throughout all of New England. Best of luck to you Krissy! All of us here at The Island School are rooting for you!

 

 

Leading Ocean Transport Co. Presents Check for Local Scholarships

Doug Cowper, Bahamas Trade Manager for Tropical Shipping, recently traveled to South Eleuthera with a giant check (and we do mean giant) that will support Bahamian scholarships at Deep Creek Middle School and Cape Eleuthera Island School/Institute. After visiting the settlement of Deep Creek, Mr. Cowper shared, “It was great to get a tour with the Deep Creek Middle School students and learn about their commitment to sustainability.” Deep Creek Middle School was the first school in The Bahamas to receive the Green Flag award and currently provides education for approximately 50 local students. From left to right: Doug Cowper, Stanley Burnside (BESS grad), Alexio Brown (BESS grad), and Island School founders Pam and Chris Maxey

Tropical Shipping, a member of the SALTCHUK group of companies has been the leader in container and ocean transport services to The Bahamas for more than 40 years.  Wherever Tropical sails, they are sure to bring a focus on supporting community.  “The best way to uplift a community is to invest in young people…our core value at Tropical Shipping has always been that our people are our priority,” says Tropical CEO Rick Murrell.

Doug Cowper presents the giant check to Deep Creek  Middle School students and principal Katie Bauer

During his time on Eleuthera, Doug Cowper also toured the Cape Eleuthera Institute and The Island School and was able to meet with graduates of the Bahamas Environmental Stewards Scholar program (BESS), a year-long post graduate opportunity to attend Island School and gain professional experience out in the conservation arena working with BNT or BREEF.   The Cape Eleuthera Foundation invests over  $500 k annually to support Bahamian students and the Tropical Leadership gift of $62,500 is a giant boost to the continued support of future leaders of The Bahamas. Much thanks to Tropical Shipping and to Doug for making the trip!

Alumni Spotlight Drew Ginsberg (Su'15)

SONY DSC Island School alum Drew Ginsberg (pictured left) of the recently graduated Summer 2015 semester has been working to make a difference in extraordinary ways in his community. Through his family's involvement with a rehabilitation hospital, he found out that there were specialty tricycles being custom built for children who couldn't otherwise ride bikes or trykes on their own. For these kids, normally restricted to motorized equipment to be mobile, having their own way of getting around is an important symbol of freedom and independence. One catch: each tryke was unusually expensive, and there was a waiting list of over 2 dozen young people in need. Drew stepped in, undeterred by the challenge, and got his friends, family, and community organized around this effort. Drew first formalized his efforts to help young people when he was 13 and decided to use his Bar Mitzvah project as his platform to raise the money for the first tryke he ever donated.

SONY DSC

Island School founder Chris Maxey recently attended the presentation of the very last tryke that Drew's fundraising efforts were able to secure for the final family on his waiting list.  The ceremony took place in Salem New Hampshire at the Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital. Drew is now reaching out to other families in need - and The Island School is proud to celebrate his dedication to making a real difference for his community. More information about Drew’s project can be found here including a list of his awards and recognitions relating to the project. Most recently on that list is a letter from the US House of Representatives recognizing his efforts! Congratulations Drew! We at The Island School look forward to seeing the progress you make in the future.

A Place of Change by Ethan Vitaz

The island school is a place of change. We come back older, taller, and dirtier - but the most significant change happens within ourselves. We have experienced things that can’t necessarily be explained to those at home, at least not easily. As our semester comes to a close we have begun to look into how we have changed, both personally and as an Island School class. While observing changes in ourselves we strive to understand how these changes occurred. Many students might tell you that it is from their solo or from being away from home or living in a dorm but I think, at least in my own case, that this change has come from a collection of every moment at the Island school. Take a leap

Most people do not have one moment that defines the inevitable transition during their IS experience. This collective change comes from absorbing the numerous little things that IS has to offer: jumping off of High Rock, swimming in Current Cut, going to the marina store for some much anticipated snacks. The transition home that faces us is depicted as being very difficult. We will leave this place that we have learned to love in the past ninety some days. We will miss it but we are also glad to get home after our long journey. On this note, I ask our loved ones that, once your Island School grads get home, you give them space to transition and that you are patient. This transition can be tough for many students so it is not uncommon for them to take time to jump back into their daily routines.

The importance of family:  Parents Weekend '15

And a tip to future students: make every moment of the Island School count. Take advantage of every situation.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: MARGAUX BURNHAM (F'10)

IM001Margaux Burnham, an alumna from the Fall 2010 semester is currently a junior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has recently completed a semester abroad with the SEA Semester program. Margaux’s program included five weeks spent on the Woods Hole campus in Cape Cod. She then spent the rest of her term sailing from Barcelona to Majorca, the Straits of Gibraltar, Madeira the Canary Islands and Cadiz, Spain. Participants in her program included herself and 13 other college students. Every student on the program takes three core classes plus two electives. One of Margaux’s classes was focused on the concept of sense of place, very similar to some of the learning conducted at The Island School. IM002The actual sailing aspect of SEA Semester turned out to be very similar to The Island School’s new sailing program. Margaux and the other students were expected to take turns manning watches at night as well as various duties during the day doing everything up to and including navigating and steering. The program constantly pushed Margaux outside of her mental and physical comfort zones, especially while at sea and battling the effects of seasickness while still needing to be a productive and effective member of the team. Margaux wants to give a shoutout to her Fall 2010 semester and encourages anyone in college who is interested in a non-traditional semester abroad program to consider taking a look at SEA semester