Wind generator at CHRHS, procured and funded by students.
This past weekend, Chris Maxey was invited to be the graduation speaker at Camden Hill Regional High School in Camden Hills, Maine. CHRHS has been sending groups of students down to The Island School during the summer for the past few years to participate in primary research with marine biologists. Like during The Island School semester, they will work as a team, earn high school credit and become part of an intentional sustainable community. Senior class president at CHRHS, Alex Crans, who got to know Chris Maxey quite well during his visit to The Island School last summer, asked him to be the speaker because of his energy and the admiration people have for him. You can read more about the relationship The Island School has with Camden Hills and other Maine Atlantic communities here.
Also during his time in Maine, Chris had the opportunity to connect with alumni and friends in the area. Here he is with Cooper FItzGerald (S’09) at Dou’s Fish and Chips, the take out restaurant Cooper is working at this summer before heading to school at Colorado College.
Chris caught up with Island School and Vinalhaven High School graduates, Willie Drury (S’10) and Izza Drury (S’11).
And finally, he enjoyed an early morning lake swim with parents of Sarah Haselton (S’13), George and Eliza Haselton.
Fall 2011 alumna, Tessa Tracy, returned to her high school, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, after her semester and needed a way to channel her Island School energy before she started to lose it. Therefore, she started the school’s Marine Conservation Club. In no time, the club had 40 members and was meeting on a weekly basis, under the supervision of faculty member, and IS Teacher Conference participant Paul McGuinness, who directs the Marine Science program at CRLS. Their focus for the 2012-13 school year was on the North Atlantic Right Whales whose population has dwindled to less than 500. To raise money for the endangered species, Tessa, as the Marine Conservation Club’s President led the group in organizing fundraisers, holding a dinner hosted by a club member’s family, wrapping christmas presents at a toy store, selling snacks during classes, and setting up potluck lunch sales. In the end, they raised $1,300 dollars and donated all of it to the New England Aquarium Right Whale Research Program. More donations to this program can be made here. As a result of all of their hard work, the Marine Conservation Club was nominated and selected for a 2013 New England Aquarium Ocean Stewardship Award. Below is a photo from when the club donated the money to the New England Aquarium:
Outside of fundraising the club has done a lot of advocacy work including making a video, getting signatures for a petition to regulate boat paths in Right Whale habitats, and writing letters to senators. Something they were especially proud of was organizing “whale week” where they set up activities in homeroom everyday for a week, like jeopardy or a video. They also organized an event each day like a food sale or “whale a capella”. In the future, they hope to do outreach in Cambridge’s middle schools.
On Friday April 5th, Fall 2012 alumna Cate Ellison participated in “Get on the Bus”, an event organized by Amnesty International. She travelled from Boston to New York City to protest human rights issues with a group of twenty students, and two faculty members from Noble & Greenough School. Total, there were about 200 people from Massachusetts who “got on the bus”. Throughout the day, they were protesting and learning about different human rights issues in Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tibet, and Birma. They protested to end arbitrary detention in Sri Lanka, protected the rights and safety of civilians and people who have been internally displaced in Sudan, fought for the freedom of Tibetan film-maker, Dhondup Wangchen, and freedom for prisoners of conscience in Burma. In the morning, when Cate and her classmates first arrived to New York City, they listened to speakers talk about their experiences in these countries, and how they were directly affected by the lack of human rights in their countries. While all the stories were powerful, one that really stood out to Cate was the story of a man’s experience with arbitrary detention in Sri Lanka. Arbitrary detention is when a person is arrested, despite the fact that there is no hard evidence against them, there was no process of law, like we have here in the United States. He told the crowd of the horrors of jail that he faced, how the guards treated him like an animal, and many more terrible things, despite the fact that he did nothing. After hearing this story, it made Cate feel grateful for the rights that we have here in the US, and made her even more excited to protest the human rights of others. In the afternoon, they went out to four different locations, and protested this issues. They had different posters and chants for each one of the issues, and signed many different petitions, hoping to end the injustices that are happening globally. Cate says about the experience, “I am so glad that I decided to go to this event, and the experience made me appreciate the value of the rights that everyone in our country are given.”
Don’t let school get in the way of your education.
Any alumni of Island School surely knows this quote by Mark Twain, as it is one of Maxey’s favorite and attests to the value of the unique experiences one has in Eleuthera. Island School believes that education should not be restricted to the classroom, something that is tested each day from morning exercise at 6:30am to late-night research presentations before bed. At The Island School you live and breath your education, and although Maxey will get the occasional student who argues that their Eleutheros paper is interfering with the educational value of getting food at the Marina Store, it generally works out well. This quote has inspired us to explore beyond the boundaries of our own classrooms this spring and create a senior project where we will hopefully help to keep the knowledge we learned and experienced on Eleuthera alive back at home.
This spring, we (Sarah Allison, S’12, Devin Caccavaro, F’11, and Kate Maroni, F’11), three seniors from Noble & Greenough will be working with the Island School Boston office as interns to help ease students’ transition back home and to promote The Island School program. We will be working from Nobles two days a week for 2 hours, and from the Boston office once a week for 4 hours. Our project began at the end of March and continues until the end of May. The Island School left a lasting impact on each one of us, and we therefore feel obligated to stay involved and to help the school grow.
For our first project, we will be working on creating a Transition Manual for returning Island School students. We have all experienced how difficult it can be to integrate back into our home communities, and to resume our daily routines while still maintaining the Island School values. Our transition manual will incorporate both our own tips for transitioning, as well as the advice of other recent alumni. For our big project, we will be visiting local schools in Boston to present the Island School program to them in hopes of allowing more students the opportunity to benefit from such a transformative semester. Lastly, we will be making phone calls to other institutions and organizations with study abroad programs in order to gain perspective on how to strengthen our own alumni network.
Please follow our blog to view all of our progress, and we encourage all email comments and questions about our project!
Island School students leave campus charged with the energy to want to apply what they learned to make a difference in the world. Turns out that some of the best role models for our graduates are…their parents!
Kirsten Dawson (parent F’04, F’06, F’08), Linda Cabot (parent S’11, S’13) and Molly Cramer (parent S’08)
Yesterday Kirsten Dawson (parent F’04, F’06, F’08), Linda Cabot (parent S’11, S’13) and Molly Cramer (parent S’08) attended the Women Working for Oceans (W2O) “Leave only Footprints” event at the New England Aquarium in Boston to learn from marine scientists about establishing and monitoring some amazing habitat: the Phoenix Islands marine protected area in the Pacific ocean. Past events have educated on issues of ocean plastics, the impact of auto emissions on climate change and oceans, as well as “fight with your fork” (choosing sustainable seafood, eco-friendly packaging, and vegetarian option) approaches to addressing climate change. They walk the talk too – the vegetarian lunch by the Aquarium chefs was amazing!
Women Working for Oceans always ends their lecture events with actions steps, so The Island School Continue reading →
We always love hearing about alumni get togethers, especially when the alumni are from different semesters! Some of the strongest Island School friendships are found not within the same semester, but rather across multiple Island School semesters! This past weekend, Nick Del Vecchio (F’02), Ted Griffith (S’02), and Johann Scheidt (S’02), who became friends through their involvement with the Alumni Advisory Board, met up in Breckenridge, CO for a fun ski weekend and to celebrate Ted Griffith’s birthday!
Maxey Family with Suegnette Cronje, Laetitia Cronje and her son Christopher and sister Adele de Beer
If you are looking for a great GAP year challenge, follow other alumni who have spent some time exploring and learning all about African wildlife and conservation. Recently the Maxeys visited Campfire Safari Academy, located in the Balule Nature Reserve and part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The Academy is focused on educating the next generation of wildlife conservation professionals to help conserve the natural beauty of Africa’s flora and fauna. There is the potential to build a bridge through our GAP year at Cape Eleuthera Institute to GAP and intern opportunities at Campfire Academy.
Pam and Chris Maxey with a baby black Rhinceros at the moholoholo wildlife rehabilitation Center, http://www.moholoholo.co.za
The Island School’s alumni department is always trying to find the best way to keep up with our alumni–and for our alumni to keep up with us! In addition to this blog, our Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter account, we have a group on LinkedIn just for Island School alumni. If you are not already a member, you can join here!
We also recently launched an Island School Alumni & Parents Network on LinkedIn. This group is meant to connect alumni and alumni parents professionally, whether it is a parent posting a job opening, or an alumnus reaching out to a parent who works in a field they are interested in. It is a mutually beneficial group for both alumni and parents. Please join here!
Fall 2012 alumna, Korinna Garfield, invited The Island School to come speak at a session during Wellesley High School’s Student Congress Seminar Day. Korinna is a member of the high school’s Student Congress that chooses speakers and organizes the entire day of seminars. We were flattered to be included in such a cool event! We were also grateful for the contributions made during the presentation by our Island School alumni at Wellesley High School, Korinna and Christie Ledingham (S’11). Thank you for having us, Wellesley High School!
On Friday, March 1, Ernie and Kim Parizeau (parents of F’03, S’06, and S’10) opened up their home in Wellesley, MA to host an Island School Parent Reception. The reception featured Middlebury College professor, and alumni parent, Jessica Holmes (parent of F’12) speaking about a summer entrepreneurship course Middlebury College is offering in Lake Tahoe called MiddCORE. MiddCORE is for highly motivated college students (or recent graduates) who have a desire to build leadership and communication skills, and develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Students should be comfortable in collaborative settings and be prepared for forty hours a week of impact-focused, project-based learning.
It was an incredibly successful event with over 60 alumni parents and friends of The Island School or Middlebury College in attendance. We would like to extend a huge thank you to the Parizeaus for hosting everyone in their beautiful home! Visit MiddCORE’s website for more information.