I wrote this piece and read it to the F10 students at their Island School graduation this last Tuesday December 7th. I post this so that they may remember my message and be reminded to take this incredible opportunity and use it to give back to give back to the world.
If I could choose a single message to leave you with today it is this: You are blessed.
You were given this glorious opportunity. A sea swift appeared one day in your life, a messenger beckoning you here. The stars aligned, the winds changed course. One day this chance flew your way. Perhaps it was a friend recently returned from Island School, perhaps it was your dad, last winter, sitting by the fire, telling you about this school you should look into. Perhaps as the sea swift came into view you saw the magnitude of its shadow and you were scared. You were scared to go away, scared for something new, scared to be left alone for 48 hours. Alone, just you, alone. But you came anyway. Or, perhaps you wrestled and wrangled and called the swift into your life: “Come here! Right now! I am ready!” Perhaps The Island School was just your kind of adventure. And you came, because of course you would come to a place like this.
No matter how you arrived here: frightened and trembling or beaming with confidence and passion, you came.
Today was an emotional day on campus. Bundled up students slowly emerged from their dorm to prepare for a super clean of campus. With our final Demonstration of Learning performances looming over our heads it was hard to focus on the task at hand. A long day of DOL’s celebrated all the growth and reflection we have done throughout our time here. Tears were shed, laughs were shared, and emotions were heavy as the students walked from DOL to DOL experiencing what others have learned. Continue reading →
As The Fall 2010 semester comes to a close, we are reminded about the pressures our students face on returning from Island School. The new documentary “Race to Nowhere” describes the overwhelming focus on standardized testing and measuring achievement in ways that don’t help students grow. The March 25-26th 2011 Education Conference on Eleuthera is celebrating the achievements of teachers and students at schools, focusing on the goal of growing future leaders.
By Cacique Marianne Foss-Skiftesvik and Brandon Gell
Today was not necessarily a typical Sunday here at Island School. Instead of having a sleep in, we had an eight o’clock circle leading into a group breakfast. We had our usual Wednesday and Sunday morning breakfast of granola. After granola breakfasts a week and an unbelievable amount of Nalgenes full of granola on kayak, many of us have either grown to love or hate it. Then at nine o clock, the majority of students were having their final meeting before being able to get the next certification for scuba: Advanced Open Water Certification. We have been working up to getting this for the majority of the semester and it was very exciting to finally reach that point. Then at ten o’clock, we had our second circle of the day transitioning our time into the sad task of packing. Continue reading →
The community began the day with some frantic last minute studying for our Final Oral Assessments in research. FOA’s are different for each research project, but FOA’s help evaluate the students understanding of the scientific method. For example, the Patch Reef FOA was a prompt given to the students, one at a time, asking them to design an experiment on the effects of an invasive shrimp species to the eel grass beds in Massachusetts waters. While waiting for our individual turns to be assessed, we waited with our research groups and prepared for the Research Symposium tomorrow.
Following FOA’s and a filling lunch, we embarked on our final SCUBA adventure. Continue reading →
During lunch yesterday, the Island Students went to the Rock Sound Ocean Hole to experience the work of the Ocean Hole Human Ecology project. For this project, the ocean hole team raised awareness by making a sign to inform the public of the history, wildlife, and facts about the ocean hole. After watching their presentation, we ate lunch, jumped into the water and swam in the ocean hole. Later on, the local primary school students stopped by to listen to the dedication of the ocean hole and the ribbon cutting ceremony. We got to know the local primary students while doing arts and crafts with them. We painted conch shells together to decorate around the base of the sign at the ocean hole. It was a great time for the community to join to see the inspiring work that we have done over the semester. For more on today, watch the following live update by Aly and Pibl:
There was something different about waking up this morning… after struggling to put the flag up, it soon came down only to be replaced with a pirate’s flag while fireworks were being set off making the loudest “pop”, “bang” noises you would ever hear. There was no way anyone was sleepy now. Yarrrrr, this morning was “pirate workout” where we all were privileged enough to see our teachers storm the flagpole dressed as pirates. Where else will you get to see that?
We’ve got an exciting new CONCHtribution incentive for our alumni classes! Thanks to a leadership gift from alumni John (F99) and Chuck (F01) Head, classes who receive 60% participation will receive an extra $1,000 toward their total CONCHtribution. Any class that reaches 75% participation will receive an extra $5,000 toward their CONCHtribution! With a little less than a month left in the competition, many of the classes are within reach of these goals. Help your class get an extra boost– click here to give now!