This is the first of many daily updates from the Caciques! “Cacique” is a Lucayan word for leader, so each day we pass off the Cacique role to two new student leaders of the day. Even after only two full days on campus, we’ve already had a handful of great experiences! One of the most notable was our float down the Current Cut, a small man-made channel with a quick current running through it. During the course of our dive, we encountered a plethora of colorful aquatic life including Nassau groupers, barracudas, nurse sharks, schoolmaster snapper, and jacks. George’s ankles have been severely bitten by bugs because he has no hair in said location. But don’t worry Mr. and Mrs. Reich, he is thriving in this uniquely humid environment, and is maintaining his perfectly coiffed hair which we all enjoy.
On a different note, the morning exercise has been both challenging and exciting. Continue reading →
After many weeks of anticipation, the Summer Term 2012 students have finally arrived on campus! They spent a packed first day together, beginning with a short snorkel to a wreck off of Boys Dorm Beach. David touched a sea cucumber for the first time and Bethlehem discovered her love of sea biscuits – a small glimpse into the innumerable new discoveries awaiting each student over the course of the summer. Later in the morning, we talked about the geography of The Bahamas and Eleuthera, and then raced each other in a sustainable systems scavenger hunt as a first introduction to some of The Island School’s eco-friendly systems. Students this semester are split into “work groups” and assigned a color.
Energy levels are high and students and faculty are bursting with excitement as we hit the ground running for an intense next six weeks. Stay tuned for more from updates from the Summer Term 2012 team!
The morning started with a dreary mood as we all got up to pack up our first bags. It was quiet in the dorms as people reflected on their semesters coming to a close. While cleaning up their personal spaces, many people came across various meaningful items that had been lost in their cluttered drawers. It was bittersweet to find things like old art projects, notes from friends etc. that brought back memories of the good times we’ve had throughout the semester.
In girl’s dorm, we had a “T-shirt swap” where we all traded our sending school T-shirts with other girls. This was a way for us to bring a piece of our friends back home with us and remember the great times we had with one another.
After we each packed up one bag, we were free for the day. Since it was our last Sunday exploration time it allowed us to spend some final quality time together. Even though it was rainy and cold it didn’t stop anybody from getting off campus and enjoying themselves. From snorkeling, to exploring the inner loop, to watching movies, we all enjoyed a relaxing Sunday afternoon with our friends. Though we are all melancholy thinking about saying goodbyes on Thursday, we’re all enjoying our final couple days here to the fullest.
We were caciques for the last Saturday of the semester. We started the day with team sports, and we both played soccer rather than yoga. We then had the research symposium, which we’ve been preparing for all semester. Our final research presentation lasted six minutes and represented all our work from the last three months. In attendance were locals, government officials, and visiting scientists. We are both in the Flats research program, and, following the presentation, we explained our Flats poster in the boathouse, which we’ve worked really hard on creating. Phillip Miller, the Undersecretary of the Prime Minister, was our guest speaker. We were really inspired to hear him talk about how he supported Maxey’s dream for The Island School. It helped us realize how special this place is and how important it is to pursue your dreams no matter how difficult they may be. After the research symposium we had exploration time; Frankie and I decided to make a cake to celebrate one of our last community nights all together. Afterwards Kate explored the Banyan tree with Anika and Frankie stayed on campus in boy’s dorm. The Saturday night activity was the Green Castle homecoming, Continue reading →
According to Cam Powel, former Island School student as well as Director of Alumni Relations (and beloved phone time scheduler), our semester is “in denial” about leaving. Maybe it’s because everyone is still cruising along as if we have a month left or as Rob says maybe it’s because we just want to live for one more week as if the carpet isn’t about to be pulled from under our feet. Maybe, even though we will be home in our own beds in one short week, we are trying to live well in this place for our last few days and hours. Today marked exactly a week until we pack up and head home to the various places around the world where we came from. Today I took it upon myself to begin the acceptance that in one weeks time I will have to rearrange my life, just as I did coming here. Little did I know that today would be one of the hardest days to do that. It was our final day of Human Ecology class where we displayed our final projects at DCMS. As an audience member walking around, you would see eco-friendly art supplies where the presenters allowed the listeners to make their own paper, the food inventory group that presented an array of new snack options that they had made with the kitchen ladies, the effects of development group in which they questioned/tested the detrimental effects that a possible cruise port would have on nearby marine ecosystems. It was evident to everybody there that we, the students were passionate about what we had done. Every time I turned my head I saw people smiling, inspired by what we had taken on. Going home, I hope that I can put as much enthusiasm into any project I participate in. Although leaving will be hard, I am excited for what the future may hold.
Today marked the final journey of the run track. The half marathon began at 5:30in the morning as the runners took off in the direction of Deep Creek. Swim track watched from the side lines as support as the runners ran over 12 miles from the flag pole, into Deep Creek and back to the flag pole, marking the end of what they have spent the past 13 weeks training for. Congratulations runners!
Helen: This morning ended the final run-swim for the Fall 2011 semester, with a mixture of relief and sorrow. Another early morning of prepping to send us out onto the now well-known course, into temperatures that are a little bit colder and waves are a little big bigger than usual considering it’s December now. Waiting for the air horn to sound though, I was brought back to that first time when I didn’t really know what to expect when Maxey told us we would be doing a run-swim every Monday, and be timed three times that semester. Of course, at the beginning, imagining that final run-swim was impossible, and it even seemed impossible to imagine yesterday morning, but now it’s over. Some saw improvements since the beginning of the semester, as small as a couple of seconds, a few minutes, like myself, or even as much as 10 minutes. Because of the rough conditions, some increased their time, but you can’t control the weather. And then there were those people who were so fast in the beginning of the semester that they would have literally had to fly to decrease their times. The thing about run-swims is that you can feel yourself getting stronger each time you do one. The longs stretches seem a little bit shorter, the transitions between land and water are a little bit easier and jumping over that once daunting wall is a piece of cake. For myself, my time doesn’t matter as much as how dead I feel at the end of it, and after today’s, I felt surprisingly okay. After the two and a half hour Super Swim, running and swimming for 20 minutes didn’t seem like such a difficult task. And with our final run-swim comes the end of all physical assessments for the semester. We’ve come a long way since the first run-swim in September and it’s kind of hard to let them go.
Katie T: This afternoon we spent time in our advisories working on our DOLs and portfolios. The portfolio is essentially a culmination of all of our work here, and the DOL, meaning Demonstration of Learning, will be our final big assignment. The portfolio is necessary for our schools to know what we’ve done with our time here. The idea is that our teachers will be more understanding of our semester in The Bahamas once they see how hard we’ve worked in academics. But the portfolios aren’t limited to academics, Continue reading →
Today was our last long block for our Human Ecology projects. The projects are designed and carried out by students to address problems found around campus or back home. This semester, many projects are based around energy use or food. Examples of projects are community outreach surveys, replacing the jam used in the kitchen, finding an alternative sweetener, and planning healthier, local meals at The Island School and at sending schools. Other projects include making and ordering eco-friendly art supplies, mapping coral reefs to see potential impacts of a development, raising awareness about energy use, organizing the resource area and recycling bins around campus, and helping solve problems with lettuce growth in the CEI hydroponic beds. Island School students have been working hard on their projects and are excited to share them with the community on Friday. It’s incredible to see how interested and passionate students are about their projects, and many students plan to apply what they’ve done at The Island School to their lives back home. Continue reading →
Today consisted mainly of preparing for our final projects in human ecology and marine ecology class. We had a yoga class in the morning with Bryna, who is visiting yoga instructor from Rhode Island, which helped us work out all the aches and pains we were still carrying from the super swim. Unfortunately the boat house was being used so swim track had to squeeze into the presentation room, although it was tight, all of us had a few laughs watching ourselves try to pretzel our bodies into healing poses. After breakfast, we launched into our first class, human ecology where we worked on our final presentations for our research projects. Then we had our last community meeting, where we also shared our favorite moments here at The Island School, and what were exited for when we go home. Although it was sad to know we only have a week left here, there was an exited vibe coming from the meeting thinking about our new lives we are going to lead back home. After lunch we had a long block of marine ecology in which all 47 of us rotated through stations in all of the classrooms. We started off class by having a harkness discussion on a paper called “To Live with the Sea,” where we talked about an Marine Protected Area in Madagascar and what made it successful. We then talked about how we could implement their methods here in South Eleuthera. We used the rest of the period working on our final assignments: our No Blue No Green projects. These consist of a 2-3 minute speech addressing these questions: “How is the ocean important? (ecologically, culturally, economically, ect.)” and, “What is our connection and responsibility to the ocean?” Teschna and Peter were happy to edit our papers during this block and give suggestions so that when we handed them in they were close to perfection. Sad as it may seem, this summed up our Marine Ecology course here at The Island School.
This morning, after waking up at 6:15, we all changed into our athletic shorts and bathing suits, ready to jump in the water or onto the road for round two of the half marathon and super swim. Just kidding! The day began with a light morning exercise. A short run to the marina and 15 minutes of stretching for the swimmers, and a jog around the clubhouse for the runners. After we all devoured a delicious breakfast, we changed into our uniforms for a grueling day of classes.
In English, we read our last pages of Omeros, an epic by Derek Walcott about his home country St. Lucia, and bid goodbye to the characters we had grown so fond of the past few months. I remember the first day I opened the book, and read the starting chapter about canoes, rum, ants, and tourists. I couldn’t make head nor tail of it, and I was convinced that I would never be able to understand, or enjoy the book. Three months later, after discovering the symbolism behind Philoctete’s wound, journeying with Achille to his lost home in Africa, and spending countless classes trying to find out who the father of Helen’s child was, I can’t believe that our experience with Omeros has come to an end. It may have been frustrating trying to annotate difficult passages and identify the complex symbols throughout the epic, but the sense of accomplishment we all agreed we had gained through understanding Omeros is so gratifying.
In math, we scrambled around campus trying to find all the solar energy grids, Continue reading →