Category Archives: Island School

100 Tips and Tricks for 100 Days at The Island School by Isabelle Buroker

  1. Always always always wear a bathing suit during exploration time.
  2. Don’t be late to art class.
  3. When deciding over seconds or med check always choose seconds.
  4. Ketchup makes everything taste better. So does salt and pepper.
  5. Star gaze.
  6. Bug net bug suit (nothing else needs to be said).
  7. Roc the croc.
  8. Buy a pint of ice cream at the marina store and eat it all by yourself.
  9. Only put up the rainfly on the tent if it’s actually going to rain.
  10. Ocean showers are fun.
  11. Lighthouse sand will appear in your bed weeks after kayak.
  12. Don’t touch the poisonwood, just don’t do it.
  13. Keep your fleece. It gets chilly.
  14. Bring a fan.
  15. Don’t be afraid to cry.
  16. Don’t go anywhere without a water bottle.
  17. Get lost in the inner loop.
  18. Hide your wrappers.
  19. Get enough sleep but…
  20. Choose free diving over sleep.
  21. Actually choose anything over sleep. You can sleep when you get home.
  22. You can go a day or two (or three) without showering (probably not four though.)
  23. Reflect.
  24. The key to good dish crew is lots of soap and awesome music.
  25. Even if you get connected to the Internet don’t use it for social media.
  26. Perform at coffee house.
  27. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  28. Call your family during phone time. They miss you.
  29. Baby oil = even more bug protection.
  30. Research is important, even though you don’t get a grade.
  31. Sing as loud as you can in the dorms.
  32. Don’t count the days.
  33. Get to know the staff including CEI, CSD, and Deep Creek staff.
  34. Get cups from Mr. Henry’s.
  35. Your bike is the key to IS freedom. Take care of it.
  36. Take time for yourself.
  37. Appreciate toilet paper when you have it.
  38. Don’t be late to dish crew.
  39. Buy Peter Z’s cookies. It’s worth it.
  40. Get weird.
  41. Don’t count the time make the time count.
  42. Puddle jump.
  43. Take pictures but don’t obsess over taking them.
  44. Never ever worry about how much food you are eating.
  45. Watch movies curled in bed with a friend.
  46. Go in the ocean every single chance you get.
  47. Oatmeal Fridays are the bomb.
  48. Sing your heart out during the national anthem.
  49. Wind is a really really good thing.
  50. A grape fruit rind makes the well water taste ten million times better.
  51. Embrace your solo. When else will you be able to spend two days on your own.
  52. Journal.
  53. Repeat the question.
  54. Eat off the plants on campus.
  55. Oatmeal Friday rocks.
  56. Don’t lose your headphones.
  57. Sit in a hammock on the porch.
  58. Smell your clothes to determine wearability.
  59. Dress up for fancy dinners.
  60. Querencia is awesome. Take it seriously.
  61. Hug.
  62. Play cards.
  63. Look like a scrub and own it.
  64. Sleep in on a Sunday and don’t regret it.
  65. Go to church.
  66. Be patient.
  67. Read.
  68. Ask Questions.
  69. Don’t forget laundry day under any circumstances.
  70. Stay up late.
  71. Don’t break the nature.
  72. Stretch.
  73. Don’t obsess over the time.
  74. Take your watch off.
  75. Watch the sunrise and the sunset.
  76. Cover yourself completely with sand.
  77. Beware of the DIT van stench.
  78. Only wear shoes when 100% necessary.
  79. Get mojo and take everyone else’s music.
  80. Flush the toilet but save water.
  81. Do your history readings.
  82. Meditate.
  83. Avoid the poo poo garden.
  84. Sand awareness.
  85. Share your clothes.
  86. Share in general.
  87. Cuddle.
  88.  Beware of sand bears.
  89. Sing loud and proud during the Bahamian national anthem.
  90. You’re going to lose stuff. It’ll be ok.
  91. Don’t do your DOL at 10:25 the night before.
  92. Don’t do any homework at 10:25 the night before.
  93. Go triking in the horseshoe.
  94. Scrambled brownies are delicious.
  95. Cheer your heart out during the half marathon/ super swim.
  96. Challenge yourself.
  97. Be present.
  98. Say thank you.
  99. Be honest to yourself and to others
  100. Remember this is your family for 100 days. Love them.


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
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
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.

The Island School prepares for hurricane Joaquin

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.

IS started the day with AMX and circled up before chores and final hurricane prep around campus
IS started the day with AMX and circled up before chores and final hurricane prep around campus

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.

IS students, faculty and staff help to get the dining hall safe and ready.
IS students, faculty and staff help to get the dining hall safe and ready.

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 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.

Goggles or Sneakers? It’s Track Time by Christian McIntosh

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.Christian1

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.

3-day Kayak by Jack Megrue

If you were at boat house cut on August 31st at around noon, you would have seen thirteen eager students holding paddles up towards the sky – the sign that we were all ready to depart on our three day kayak trip.20931316518_8d47c485ab_k

When we first set off, we were traveling at a speedy pace, with Helen Roosevelt leading the diamond shaped pod, Justin Box and Katie Koch acting as the sides and I was holding up the rear. Eventually, Catherine Klem and Ian Overton, our leaders for the three days, gave us the signal that we would stop for lunch. When we pulled up for lunch near the lemon shark pen that was about three miles down the coast from the Island School, everyone was tired, but we all helped set up the lunch tarp and lay out our food. Then we took our PB&Js into the clear blue ocean that was the perfect temperature for lunch in the water.

We soon set off again and after passing two or three mangrove-ridden islands, we arrived at our campsite. We all got out of our kayaks and handed out jobs. With speed and elegance, we brought the kayaks up on the shore, unloaded the group gear, and flipped the kayaks for safe keeping through the night. After all of the group gear, food, and kayaks were taken care of, we then moved on to setting our hammocks that we would sleep in for the night.
Later, we all helped gather firewood for our fire that would be used for cooking our meal of rice, beans, and vegetables. As a treat, we were surprised with marshmallows that we roasted over the fire and cooked to a golden brown.

That night, everyone brushed their teeth and attached their dry bags to trees in case a sudden Bahamian storm rolled in. Then we all zipped up our bug nets to our hammocks under the light of the full moon, and we fell asleep.

On day two of our kayak trip, we headed out to the blue hole. Once we finished the two and a half mile trip down the coast, we pulled into a little bay and attached our kayaks to the nearby mangroves. Then, we all helped in setting up lunch of tortillas, peanut butter, and jelly were all laid out on the tarp and we all feasted awaiting the upcoming blue hole snorkel.jack's picture
We put on our snorkeling gear and out to the blue hole. We were all in pairs of twos (the buddy system) and swimming eagerly to the site. When I approached, I saw the white sand with some seaweed on the bottom, Cam Reisinger and Owen Ryerson were on either side of me, and then I saw the blue hole. Suddenly the sand dropped off into a black abyss. The blue hole was covered in coral and filled with fish of all different shapes and colors. We dove down and looked around to see more coral that had fish nibbling on the ends of it. Everyone was stunned at the amazing blue hole and all of the life that was around it.

After we snorkeled in and around the blue hole for twenty or thirty minutes, we went back to our boats and kayaked back to our campsite.

The next and last day of our trip, everyone was sad to be packing up their hammocks because, even though it was only two nights, everyone had an amazing time and we were all sad that we had to leave. After we had breakfast and packed the kayaks, we were on our way. We paddled past the shark pen to a new lunch spot, about half way between our previous campsite and the Island School. We all ate the PB&Js as we had the previous two lunches, and we played a game in the little bay where our boats were beached. After thirty minutes or so, we left for The Island School.21036547186_6f904dee04_k

Once we arrived, we were all tired and a bit sad that we were at the end of such and incredible trip. We put our boats away and gave everyone high fives for having finished and for such an incredible trip. Now, we are all excited about going on our eight-day trip with new people and creating new memories.

Anderson Cabot Family Leadership Gift takes Sharing Solutions Campaign to the Crest of the Wave

Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot with Chris Maxey at the Anderson Cabot Hall dedication ceremony.
Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot with Chris Maxey at the Anderson Cabot Hall dedication ceremony.

Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot step up to the top of our giving pyramid with a $2 MM total pledge. In addition to helping us build the new Anderson Cabot Graduate Hall, the new leadership pledge allows us to focus on our campaign promise to Share Solutions. The commitment will help us leverage over $1 MM toward our endowment and $350 k toward developing a communications journey that will enable the school to share best practices with a wider community. In addition, funds have been allotted to collaborate with From the Bow Seat and help build awareness around the serious global challenge of plastic pollution in our oceans. Lastly, there is an effort to develop a film that can help call attention to the successful model and power of experiential and collaborative learning. In the gift letter Linda sums up their desired outcomes,

“Ed and I believe in the Island School mission and the transformational power of experiential learning. At the Island School students tackle real world sustainability issues, conduct independent research, engage in collaborative learning and challenge their personal best. These powerful experiences develop meaningful skills that will help students thrive in the real world and protect our natural environment. This is why we are proud to make a gift that will help sustain the curriculum and enable the school to inspire and share best practices with learning communities around the globe. We hope our actions inspire others to give generously as we believe that community efforts yield the largest and most positive effects”.

Linda Cabot cuts the ribbon and welcomes everyone to Anderson Cabot Hall.

Ed and Linda’s leadership comes at a pivotal moment in our history as we look down the last year of our five-year campaign. With their gift we are approaching $17 MM and feel confident to be able to announce now that our new campaign goal is $20 MM. Mary Kate Barnes, Island School parent, Board Vice Chairman and Chair of our campaign shares, “It is amazing to witness a young school embark on a bold first campaign effort with the potential to stride so far past goal. Much of this effort is designed to build an endowment and strategic sustainable fiscal plan that looks out generations. I am also proud of the young development team, Mary Assini Sp 00 and Cameron Powel Fall ’04, both alumni living the mission of The Island School — Leadership Effecting Change.” The Cape Eleuthera Foundation Board thanks Ed and Linda for believing in us and helping The Island School strive towards a new level of sharing.

Both Ed and Linda are proud to say that their daughters Georgianna Sp ’11 and Noelle Sp ’13 both graduated as Class Caciques and to this day lean back on The Island School experience as the most transformative time on their journey through school.

Summer Term: BANANAS about the swim test

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.


Your first Caciques,

Maggie and Matthew

The Island School Partners With Hurricane Island Outward Bound to Offer Sailing Expeditions

Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) is partnering with The Island School to launch an expeditionary sailing program to be operated out of The Island School’s campus in Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Thanks to seed funding from the Mactaggart Third Fund, the two organizations are looking forward to hosting groups and students starting in 2016.


In 2012, The Island School developed the concept of a sailing program. After deciding a partnership was the best option, The Island School was introduced to HIOBS’ Executive Director Eric Denny in 2013. It was in May 2015 when the dream took shape when a veteran crew from HIOBS sailed on an epic expedition from Florida, across the Gulf Stream and the Bahamas Bank to Eleuthera to deliver two sailboats, Avelinda and Eliza Sue, to The Island School’s Cape Eleuthera campus. Avelinda and Eliza Sue are 30-foot twin masted sailboats designed to sail quickly and navigate into shallow waters with extractable center boards. In keeping with the “human-powered” expedition ethos of Outward Bound, these open boats are oar powered by students when there is little wind. Designed and built specifically for Outward Bound, the boats can carry up to 8 participants and 2 instructors and will allow expeditions to sail out across the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Land and Sea Park, the oldest marine protected area in the world.


“I see this partnership as a model for non-profits in the coming decade,” states Denny. “It brings two world-class organizations together to share their complementary areas of expertise to create an exceptional program that neither organization could accomplish on its own.”


The first step in this partnership is to integrate sailing into the existing expeditionary curriculum of The Island School’s 100-day fall and spring semesters and Gap Year program beginning fall 2015. In 2016, HIOBS and Island School will launch a 21-day expedition that includes sailing, exploring and studying around Eleuthera’s neighboring islands. The trip will include research, a coastal marine ecology and conservation course, focus on island sustainability, teach seamanship and leadership skills, and allow for team and leadership development.


About Hurricane Island Outward Bound

Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization and expedition school that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through active learning expeditions that inspire character development, self-discovery and service both in and out of the classroom. Outward Bound delivers programs using unfamiliar settings as a way for participants across the country to experience adventure and challenge in a way that helps students realize they can do more than they thought possible. The organization established its first sea-based school on the coast of Maine in 1964. Hurricane Island, a remote island approximately 75 miles northeast of Portland, served as the summer base camp for sailing, sea kayaking, and rock climbing programs. For more information, visit

The Maxeys Make it to Bermuda!

Following the SEA Change Youth Summit held at The Island School June 5-7, Chris & Pam Maxey and their crew made up of Brittney Maxey, Mike Cortina (CSD sustainability teacher and F’02 alumnus), Kelly Duggan (S’11), Sam Kosoff (former IS teacher and Lawrenceville Dir. of Sustainability) and Georgie Burruss (CEI researcher) sailed from Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas to Bermuda on their boat, Kokomo, sailing alongside 5 Gyres and Jack Johnson, who were aboard The Mystic.  Also on board the Mystic for the leg from Eleuthera to Bermuda was Island School alumna, Aly Boyce (F’10) and now her brother, IS alumnus James Boyce (F’12), will board the Mystic for the next leg.

Kokomo and Mystic left the Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina in the afternoon of Tuesday June 9th and arrived in Bermuda coastal waters in the early morning of Sunday June 14th. Along the way, both the Kokomo and the Mystic conducted citizen science: trawling for plastic pollution in the ocean.

Spring 2011 Island School alumna, Kelly Duggan (right) who was also aboard the Kokomo with the Maxeys, helps CEI researcher, Georgie Burruss (left) set up the first trawl.

Upon arrival in Bermuda, the sailboat caravan was welcomed by the educational officer at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), JP Skinner who lives in nearby Paget Parish. Last night, they had the opportunity to visit BIOS and check out the amazing work going on there. The rest of their time on Bermuda has been spent exploring the town of St. Georges and the nearby beaches with the team aboard the Mystic.

Tomorrow, the Kokomo and the Mystic embark on the next left of their trip, bound for the east coast of the United States. They will be sailing together for the first few days until the Mystic splits to make its way towards New York City and the Kokomo heads towards the Chesapeake Bay. We wish all the sailors a safe passage and calm seas!

James Boyce (F'12), Chris Maxey, Pam Maxey, Aly Boyce (F'10), Jack Johnson, Cha Boyce, Britt Maxey, Kristal Ambrose, Frank Boyce
James Boyce (F’12), Chris Maxey, Pam Maxey, Aly Boyce (F’10), Jack Johnson, Cha Boyce, Britt Maxey, Kristal Ambrose, Frank Boyce

Inland Ponds Update

The Bahamas has an abundance of inland ponds that are rarely visited and poorly studied. These inland ponds are fragile ecosystems that are under threat from developments, pollution and the introduction of species, yet these ponds are rarely considered for conservation protection. Eleuthera has over 200 of these inland water sites. One of these, Sweetings pond, has an unusually high number of seahorses. This pond may not be the only special site, as these isolated ponds are known to support unique and endemic life. This semester, Island School students started to explore and assess the ponds of South Eleuthera to provide data to ensure their long-term conservation. Excitingly we found new species, please visit the CEI blog for more details.