The kitchen staff at the Island School recently hosted two classes of high school students from Preston H Albury High School. During their time here, the students worked with Sophia and her team to prepare and serve lunch to our staff and visitors. The visits were in coordination with an elective consumer science course at the local high school.
The 10th and 11th grade students were on campus for a half day to help prepare and serve lunch, and to prep breakfast for the following day. They worked in small teams to tackle different parts of the meals such as the salad bar, hot dishes, sandwich ingredients, and creating condiments from scratch.
Preston H Albury High School is located in Rock Sound and is the only high school in the southern part of the island of Eleuthera. Students in the consumer science course focus on topics such as family economics and relations, nutrition, and culinary arts. Ms. Tamika Rahming teaches the course. Sophia Louis, our very own Kitchen Manager, says the partnership between Island School and Preston H is in the works and they are hoping to get a more regular schedule implemented for high school students.
Thanks to our kitchen staff for bringing the classroom into the kitchen!
We continue to prepare this week for hurricane Joaquin. Boats are out of the water, shutters are going on windows, and outdoor activities are abbreviated even as indoor classes continued Thursday morning. Our campus leadership team met again this morning to finalize plans through the weekend, which include assigning people and resources to designated buildings so everyone can shelter in place as the wind and rain intensify over the coming days.
As is customary, we have been watching this and the other storms of the season, and have stocks of food and water, medical supplies and equipment in place, and are ready to respond to needs in the wider community if we are called on. We are carefully monitoring the forecasts of the storm track and intensity, as well as tides and storm surge projections, and have made higher ground or second floor sleeping arrangements in Deep Creek and on campus for employees and students as a precaution, according to our established hurricane protocols. This is a powerful storm with high winds and rainfall expected, and storm surge possible, and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking all reasonable measures.
During and after past storms regular internet, phone, and utility power services are interrupted, and we have backup power and communications systems in place. We expect that our Boston-based team will receiving updates from campus throughout, and posting them to our Facebook page and to our blog which is the best place to look for updates.
To reach our team about specific concerns please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our US office number at (609) 620-6700. We appreciate all of the well wishes and good energy people have been sending to us. Please look for more updates daily here.
When people think of Island School they usually think of the sustainability, kayak trips and maybe even lightning position, but rarely do we think of the run and swim tracks that accompany our daily routine.
The six o’clock wake up time may be brutal but once we are out the door the energy of the morning sun soon energizes the faces around morning circle. However, the real fun starts after circle when we go off into our chosen tracks to either run or swim.
Run starts off with a little warm up around the horseshoe: generally a light jog dotted with stretches for the running muscles. Then we often head off of campus for the two miles to High Rock across the Cape. The path is a snake of concrete road which has even more potholes than the average Bahamian road. The run can seem endless with a false sense of hope, encountering decoy turn-offs to High Rock around every corner. Almost as soon as we complete the journey there, we’ll then turn around for the two mile return trip back to campus where the flagpole finish line greets us with a familiar feeling of satisfaction.
Similar to run track, swim track starts off with some stretching before their early morning plunge into the ocean. Now that it’s the third week of tracks, our classmates are now up to a mile-long, “Pole Swim” from Boathouse Cut to the Marina pole, usually they are given twenty minutes to swim there and 20 minutes to swim back. Much of the time swimmers encounter a current that can either make you feel like Michael Phelps or like you are actually swimming backwards, depending on the tide.
Both tracks show great energy and focus for their respective goals–to run thirteen miles for run track or swim four miles for swim track. What may have seemed like an impossible task in the beginning is slowly becoming possible with hard work and dedication, just two of the many qualities The Island School will instill in each student over the course of the semester.
As we headed into the first few days of Summer Term many of us weren’t sure what to expect. However, now that we have spent a bit of time here we have learned to expect the unexpected. Through many sessions of getting to know the island, the people, and what this overall experience will bring we students have started to settle in and become a community. Everyone here at the Island School comes from different places and backgrounds, but we all seem to have common connections and have already begun to build strong relationships with one another.
The first task we students had to complete individually and as a whole was our Swim Test at Triangle Cut right on campus. Not only is the Swim Test required for our Scuba Certification but also it is necessary if we want to explore the campus and the rest of the island. The test begun with Liz yelling “BANANAS!” which is synonymous here with “GO!”. We all hopped in (with a buddy of course) and began the test. Faculty lined the course cheering us on throughout the test keeping our spirits high and our heads above water. While some students finished what seemed like instantaneously others were slow and steady and at the end of the day everyone passed! No matter where you were in the final lineup when you stepped out of the water you received an enthusiastic congratulations and a high five from each faculty member. Then came the second part of the test. We were to tread water for 10 minutes. Sounds simple enough, right? Little did we know we were to tread water inhabited by jellyfish for 10 minutes. 50 students kicking in water trying to keep our bodies afloat lead to pretty angry jellyfish who happened to be resting on the floor of Triangle Cut. The stings were mild yet constant and we all fought through them for the entirety of the test. Through getting to know one another, singing, dancing even, and most of all trying to get our minds off of the jellyfish we bonded as a whole. Don’t worry, we all made it out alive. Yes, with a few stings, but also closer as a community.
With each passing day our mental and physical limits are challenged, our smiles are brighter, and our hearts fuller. We know already, just in the few days we have been here, that this will be one unforgettable summer leaving us with friends and memories that will last a lifetime.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to showcase my talents along with Island School kids and individuals from Deep Creek community. My friends Triston, Gus, Jeremy, Ian, Khalil and I traveled to Deep Creek along with Pat as our overseer. After arriving we shot around the court for a little while then played a warm in game to twenty-one before we picked teams ans played 4-4 basketball. In the first game the team was Pat, Ian, Michael and I against Gus, Triston, Khalil, and Jeremy. My team and I started the game out playing good basketball and we developed a good chemistry moving forward. We jumped out ahead with a big lead and then starting playing lazy which resulting in the opposing team gaining some points. However, we closed them out pretty easy once we decided play time was over.
The sun smiled its rays down on us as sweat gently dripped from our exhausted bodies. The next team to step on the court was a challenge, but I love challenges because they give you and opportunity to become better and make others better in the process. We were up against Darrel, Rachael, Cammy, and Brendan. “Screech, screech” was the sound our exotic shoes made sliding across the rouch cemented court. The game began with Darrel’s team jumping out ahead taking advantage of mismatches and leaks that they saw in our team. It was to my surprise that Rachael could play so well, she completely took advantage of my comrade Ian as Darrel bullied Michael in the post. It was time for me to stop taking a back seat, I demanding the ball and went to work scoring multiple baskets in a row. An intense game went on and no team would break first with the scored being tied 20-20 in the long run. It was our ball and the moment was bright what will I do, pass to my partners or take it the hoop and do what I do best score? I crossed over Brendan and drove to the rim as a diversion knowing in my mind that Darrel would switch over to help because he had a point to prove that he was this superstar player and wanted to advertise it to the world. Knowing that I could still try and make the shot I gave it it to an open teamate for the shot in which they missed resulting in the opposing team grabbing the rebound and claiming possession of the ball. I played defence to the best of my ability and in the corner of my eye I could see Darrel posting up Michael and asking for the ball while he was in the post up position. The thought in the back of my head flickered that Darrel would score if he got the ball and if I left Rachel to help on defence she would automatically receive the ball and it was a high percentage she would hit the shot. Therefore, I decided to stay on my opponent desperately hoping Michael would protect our basket in which he was unsuccessful in doing and resulting in our defeat. We lost that game 20-22 and yeah it was heartbreaking but I am a great competitor and use experiences to make me a better person and basketball player in life. I shook hands with everyone and exclaimed good game for I knew I would have a next opportunity in the near future to showcase my talents and this time I’ll lead my team to victory.
It has been a full week since most of us arrived here on Eleuthera and as students we are learning to get the hang of life at The Island School.
After a morning full of class and small group discussions, K1 and K2 had the opportunity to go on a tour of the different sustainable systems on campus. We toured the farm at the Island School, the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI). At the CSD, a particular project really caught my attention as we learned how cooking oil from cruise ships gets turned into the fuel used to power all the school’s vehicles. It’s amazing how it only takes 12 days to produce biodiesel from oil that would have otherwise gone to a landfill, and give it a second purpose.
K3 and K4 spent the day working towards their SCUBA certification. Despite being rained on mid-dive, everyone excelled in their first open water dives at the Saddle. Practicing skills to get comfortable underwater is a major component of SCUBA. One of the hardest of these skills is the full mask fill and clear. At 25 feet underwater, one has to fill their entire mask up with water and then blow out of their nose to get ride of all the water. Despite the slight sting of salt water in the corners of our eyes, everyone kept a positive attitude and encouraged each other through it. SCUBA is just one of the few ways we are strengthening our relationships with each other and building a strong community.
Another sunrise, another run swim. It almost seems like we are finally getting into a routine.
After battling the waves and learning how to drain a kayak in the middle of the ocean we were asked the question, “What did today teach you?” My answer would definitely have to be that that strength is not everything and that even the most strenuous activities require more of a soft touch. Kayaking was truly amazing; it allowed us to gain a personal connection with the environment, while learning a new skill. It felt like we were captains of our own mini ships, in full control of our speed and direction.
Even though it’s always fun relaxing at one of the many beaches at school, it was eye-opening to go out and see the settlements of South Eleuthera. We headed straight to the airport, but unfortunately we had arrived there too late: it had already been shut down for a few decades. We learned a lot about South Eleuthera’s tourism decline on the car ride over to our next destination. The blue hole was a sight to see—truly breathtaking.
Everything is becoming more comfortable. Though it is only our sixth day, we already feel like a family.
Breaking the surface of the water, we pulled off our masks and cheered as loudly as we could. K1 and K2 had just received their SCUBA certification! For the past three days, the two groups have worked tirelessly to master all of the required skills to be eligible to graduate to PADI Open Water Divers. Congrats everyone, well, everyone in K1 and K2 that is!
While K1 and K2 were mastering their SCUBA skills, K3 and K4 had the pleasure of having their first class! After a fun filled morning of discussions, K3 and K4 had a first hand go at Querencia, an alone time for individuals to reflect on their experiences so far.
By evening time, K1, K2, K3 and K4 were finally united again to celebrate the 4th of July! Armed with cameras, we progressed to the Boy’s Dorm Beach to end the night with a BONDINGfire. Our Island School term warmly welcomed Camden Hills and Ocean Side schools who will joinging us on campus for the next ten days! After a very long photo-shoot, with many blinding flashes, we roasted marshmallows and set off fireworks. #USA
Calling it an early night, we all went to bed tired and excited for a new day!
8 o’clock never felt so good. Day Four was our first sleep-in of the term, although tons of students opted to run and continue to physically stretch themselves. As the sun grew hotter, K1 and K2 prepared to SCUBA dive and K3 and K4 were off on their down-island and kayak adventures. The five veteran divers were quick to get ready and were eager to embark on yet another thrill ride in the Saddle, while the rest of the novice divers worked diligently on their open-water skills, pushing towards their certification.
After another great day, a delicious dinner and dish-crew a capella, our first Natural History of Marine Ecology class rolled around. The classroom structure was unique and quickly began to teach us the importance of one of the three pillars of the Island School: Developing a Sense of Place. As soon as class commenced, the central theme of asking questions became evident, as Peter hysterically disagreed with all of our answers to his question, “Why do we teach you to breath underwater?” This encouraged us to keep thinking and come to a conclusion as a whole.
Each day continues to help us grow academically and physically, as we learn new and different techniques to enhance our learning experiences. We keep pushing our limits and impressing ourselves everyday by overcoming all of the challenging but compelling obstacles down here on South Eluethera. #FUNINTHESUN
You cannot forget the first time you look up from the ocean floor and see your bubbles rising quickly to meet the surface. Even though waves and currents affect the surface seen from land, from below, it is a humongous mass of water, which is unhindered by anything but its own ebb and flow. It is surely frightening to be so far removed from the air you are accustomed to breathing, but after a few deep breaths through your tank, you can calm down and start to realize how incredible it is that you are thirty feet underwater.
Today was the first day that we really focused on developing our sense of place here on Eleuthera. One of the “three pillars” here at the Island School is sense of place, and this week during orientation we are focusing on establishing that. Students were divided into K1, K2, K3, and K4 groups that would determine their schedules during orientation week, and throughout the whole week the final goal was to establish sense of place through land, sea surface, and under water. Each day, each group embarks on a different journey in hopes that they will familiarize themselves with the land and the people.
K1 and K2 would spend the next two days focusing solely on scuba diving certification, which aimed to familiarize the students with the ocean and the different species we will study in the coming weeks. To those who have never dived before, it is an incredible experience to view an entirely different world, to forget what land feels like, and to be able to stay underwater longer than you can hold your breath. All of the students, from those who have been already been certified, to those who have spend little time in water, let alone under it, have taken the challenges in stride and have had a great time getting to explore an unfamiliar place.
K3 embarked on their first down-island trip to visit different spots on South Eleuthera, stopping at different settlements to learn about each one along the way. On their journey, they visited a beach in Deep Creek where they snorkeled and saw a lot of fish and even a few sting rays, they walked through caves that were the home to hundreds of bats, they shopped at a local market, they jumped into “Ocean Hole” in Rock Sound, and they finished off their journey with a local favorite “Papaya cups” that was a delicious popsicle like treat made from fresh local papayas.
K4 set out on a journey to get to know the water from the surface, on a kayaking trip. They went all around Eleuthera, stopping at different beaches, and practicing new skills they would need for their longer kayaking trips in the future. One of the guides, Nick, helped the students build a fire on the beach and rumor has it some students managed to make quesadillas with the fire. All of the students are looking forward to the days to come during orientation.