Chris and Pam Maxey founded The Island School in 1998 with the goal of conserving the wild population of marine life by providing alternative food sources and jobs for the people of South Eleuthera. In addition to strong support from The Lawrenceville School, The Island School project depended on the generous donation of 18 acres of land gifted from the Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club. The Cape Eleuthera Development team based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan also helped us early on to establish our corporate structure and build a solid financial platform.
The concept for The Island School evolved when Chris Maxey was a teacher at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. In 1996, Chris Maxey received the Joukowsky Fellowship from The Lawrenceville School allowing him to work towards his Masters in Marine Resource Management at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. During this year-long sabbatical, Chris began his research work in sustainable aquaculture. He formed the Cape Eleuthera Marine Conservation Project (now the Cape Eleuthera Foundation) and began to set the framework to build a school and research station at Cape Eleuthera in The Bahamas.
In the fall of 1998, construction began to build a campus and on March 15, 1999, Pam and Chris Maxey welcomed 22 students and 6 faculty members from The Lawrenceville School to launch the first Island School semester. The Island School and The Lawrenceville School continue to work in collaboration on projects, but now students also come from over 250 schools across the U.S., Canada and The Bahamas.
Now, more than ten years into the journey, the organization has expanded to include a community middle school and resource center, the Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) for local students, and the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) that focuses on marine research and sustainable development initiatives. Our community at Cape Eleuthera is modeling a shift toward a more livable future. For all who come to live and learn at Cape Eleuthera, there is an opportunity to discover that people can make a difference – that we can begin to turn the tide and effect positive change in the way we live.