Check out our new video that gives you a glimpse into the life of the Deep Creek Middle School.
Hi! My name is Simeon Bethel and I am a 13-year-old youth activist that attends the Deep Creek Middle School and I am passionate about the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. At my school, I am part of the Eco-Club where I am treasurer. Our school’s Eco-Club is what initiated our green flag certification and DCMS was the first school in the English speaking Caribbean to be certified with the green flag. We have solar panel water heaters and fan switches that regulate the amount of time a fan can be left running in order to prevent them from continuously running throughout the day–to save energy. The Eco-club also orchestrates many different beach cleanups and events that inform the public about the damages that plastic pollution has on our environment and beautiful waters.
To support our learning as leader and environmental activists, myself and three other students were given the privilege to travel to Dana Point, California to attend the Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions (POPS) Conference. This event took place on February 27 to March 1, 2015. At this conference, many other youth activists from all over the world came to share their own projects or solutions to plastic ocean pollution. There were many inspirational speakers about the topic of plastic ocean pollution and also many world renowned scientists that have made remarkable discoveries and advancements towards solving the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.
This whole event took months and months of planning, project finalizing, brainstorming and orchestration. The Deep Creek Middle School’s project is to have large-scale beach cleanups on certain beaches and then install proper signage on the beaches. For example, one might say, “150 Pounds of Plastic was Collected from Lighthouse Point Beach. Please Help us in Our Effort to Keep These Wondrous Treasures Clean, Green and Pristine”. Also, prior to and during our trip to California, the Eco-Club started to think about the fact that cleaning the beaches is not the answer to all of our problems–it is simply helping the cause. We decided that we should also inform the public. We should inform the people that don’t really know that much about plastic and its harmful effects on the environment. By educating the population of this island, and hopefully The Bahamas, it will target and stop the problem of plastic ocean pollution at the core.
Thankfully, this conference that we attended allowed us to improve our project to get the best and most effective results out of the whole event. All in all, the Plastic Ocean Pollution Solution Conference was an amazing experience for me, my peers that attended, our teacher who came with us and all of the other inspirational speakers and students that attended. It was definitely an inspiring and life-changing event. Keep an eye out for DCMS’s Plastic Pollution initiatives and join us by being part of the solution.
Last week, 15 students from Deep Creek Middle School and 34 students from Preston H. Albury High School attend a joint Eco-Club event last night at the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in Governors Harbour. With a whopping 49 students, we made about half of the audience for the lecture by John Mylroie on Caves & Blue Holes in the Bahamas.
Before the lecture students had an hour to check out the preserve and practice some of their terrestrial plant identification with a contest on who can ID the most plants. The freshwater wetland area with turtles was, of course, a huge hit for students. Hiking through bromeliad filled coppice was also especially exciting just as the sun was setting.
Mr. Mylroie, an incredible geologist, may have used some big science-y words but students were exposed to information on how geologic formations formed with change in sea level, extracting fresh water from wells, and ways to preserve these precious formations found all over The Bahamas.
This past Saturday, the Deep Creek Middle School Early Act and Eco Club teamed up with Preston Albury High School’s newly formed Eco-club to sort plastics 1, 2, and 5. It wasn’t the prettiest job sorting plastic bottles, food containers, and removing bottle caps from a few hundred bottles, but we made it fun with a competition between 3 groups to see who could sort the most!
All plastics will be sent to Cans for Kids in Nassau and then sent to the States for recycling. Cans for Kids is a Bahamian non profit that recycles cans, and now plastics as well, to raise money for schools and youth organizations. This event was an effort to spruce up the recycle center at the South Eleuthera Emergency Partners, SEEP, in Tarpum Bay to implement a One Eleuthera grant funded recycle program in schools in South Eleuthera in the next few months.
We had 22 students from both schools and 9 adults from One Eleuthera, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Deep Creek Middle School, Rotaract Club of Eleuthera, and the Rotary Club of Eleuthera.
This year, Deep Creek Middle School students chose to tackle a bigger issue when planning their Junkanoo theme. Graduating students in grade 9 brainstormed a number of creative and colourful ideas, but finally settled on the title, “Save our Seas.” The idea was inspired by Grade 9 Destinee Outten’s up-cycled fashion design: a plastic bag skirt fastened by a colourful band of Capri Sun juice bags. We decided to run with the idea by combining traditional Junkanoo materials like crepe paper, glue, cardboard, wire and glitter with reusable materials, like beach plastic, plastic bags and Capri Sun containers. Ultimately, the students would be wearing an environmental awareness campaign.
The grade 7 girls evolved into Plastic Pollution Princesses, adorned with plastic tutus, hot pink sashes and purple crowns. The grade 8 and 9 girls transformed into Bahamian sea species: turtles, sharks, jellies, sea stars and eagle rays. The drummers wore the nation’s colors of gold, blue and black, as Bahamian sea kings.
Our free dancers wore costumes that were meant to raise awareness of overfishing practices. One of our dancers wore a “Responsible Fishing” shoulder piece, with images of spiny-tailed lobsters and closed fishing dates. One free dancer wore a massive conch costume; another wore a spectacular invasive lion fish piece.
Overall, the night was a huge success. The kids invested an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm into their performance!
As part of the National Day on Writing celebrations, Deep Creek Middle School students wrote reviews of their favorite books. Seventh graders Khiara Knowles and Alicia Albury had their reviews published by Amazing Kids! Magazine. We are so proud of them and thrilled they got the opportunity to publish for an authentic audience.
You can read their reviews here: http://mag.amazing-kids.org/category/non-fiction/reviews/
For the past five years, the National Council of Teachers of English has declared October 20th the National Day on Writing. This holiday celebrates the importance of writing in our daily lives. Deep Creek Middle School decided to make the day international and devoted the afternoon to fun writing activities that fit with the theme, “Write My Community.”
The students rotated through three stations that focused on different writing styles. In one station, students wrote poems based on George Ella Lyon’s poem, “Where I’m From.” The students changed the words to describe life in The Bahamas, which Jade Knowles of Tarpum Bay enjoyed. “I like the ‘Where I’m From’ poems because you can describe yourself in a different and unusual way,” says Knowles.
Other activities included travel writing about Eleuthera or places they have visited, as well as writing book reviews. The emphasis was on writing for fun, without worrying about grades. Rock Sound’s Rekenley Preneus appreciated that aspect, saying, “There’s no right or wrong answer, so it feels comfortable.”
Deep Creek Middle School plans to continue celebrating the National Day on Writing in the future. Principal Odette Pretty says, “It’s nice to be international about creating a space for students to express themselves creatively and celebrate their inner writers.”
Every year, the 8th grade students at Deep Creek Middle School do a school exchange with a partner in The United States. This year, thirteen DCMS students spent a week in Camden, Maine visiting the Camden Rockport Middle School. In turn, their host buddies will visit Eleuthera in February. DCMS Principal Odette Pretty says, “It is so beneficial for our students to have a cultural exchange. Being away from Eleuthera allows them to appreciate what we have here and see our community with fresh eyes, while expanding their world.”
The trip fits into the school’s science curriculum because as seventh graders, they learn about marine ecology. The Maine trip includes several days at Tanglewood Learning Center, an outdoor education center where the students studied forest ecology and species identification. The students appreciated the opportunity to study ecology in a coastal setting that is different from their own. Kenvado Knowles of Tarpum Bay said, “The dark water color was surprising!” Despite the frigid temperature, several DCMS students bravely swam in the ocean. For Knowles, it was the best part of the trip.
In addition to their time at Tanglewood, the students attended an engineering class at the middle school, focused on a project of building bridges with popsicle sticks and glue. The metaphor of this activity was not lost on Simeon Bethel of Governor’s Harbor. He says, “I learned, a few days after we got back to Eleuthera, that the meaning of the trip was to make connections, or in my eyes, build bridges.”
Spending time with their host families was frequently cited as the students’ favorite part of the trip. The Maine hosts had planned various activities, such as bowling, apple picking, and ice-skating. Cierrah Ferguson of Wemyss Bight says, “Ice skating was so difficult! That was really surprising to me.” Rock Sound’s Brenae Williams agrees: “The best part of the trip was when I got to go ice skating. It was scary, but I got to learn a little bit.”
The students are already looking forward to reuniting with their new friends when the Camden Rockport Middle School students visit in February. In the meantime, Simeon Bethel wants to know, “When can I go back?”
Summer may be a time for relaxation, but the Deep Creek Middle School and Resource Center had one of its busiest summers yet. There was a new camp and opportunity to explore Eleuthera during almost every week of the summer.
The programs kicked off with he Marine Debris & Me Plastic Pollution Camp taught participants about one of the major issues affecting the island. They took part in scientific research and helped create solutions to the problem, one of which was making beautiful art from beach plastic. Along the same idea of how to live sustainably in The Bahamas, the Sustainability Camp taught campers about water conservation, permaculture, aquaponics, biodiesel, renewable energy, and waste management.
This summer’s sleepover option was the South Eleuthera Kids Camp. This popular program offered kids the opportunity to experience outdoor adventure, such as boating, snorkeling, and swimming. They experienced hands-on learning in marine ecology, conservation, sustainability and “green” living. After full days of adventure, campers spent the night at the Island School.
Students in Grades 9 – 12, as well as their parents and teachers, were invited to join College & SAT Boot Camp at the Rock Sound Mission. The aims of this camp were to provide study tips and content knowledge for the SAT. In addition to offering a practice test, participants also received information on college and scholarship planning.
In its third year, International Sports Education’s Lacrosse Camp was a great success. Of the 24 students, 14 were back for their third summer in a row. Camp Organizer and Island School alumnus Eliott Wellenbach (F’11) said, “Our goal is to promote the game of lacrosse, while fostering character development through leadership, teamwork, and sportsmanship on and off the field. It has been exciting for us to see this unfold over the past three years and we are even more excited about what the upcoming ones will bring.” The skills learned at Lacrosse Camp stay with the athletes. Zachary Carey (DCMS ’14) has enjoyed the camp for all three years and will be attending Perkiomen School in Pennsylvania this year, with the goal of playing on the lacrosse team.
We thank everyone who organized and participated in our summer programs. Big things are already being planned for next year!
Deep Creek Middle School recently said goodbye to two more of its student teachers this spring, Jonathan Jasper and Nancy Stehman from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. The candidates, seen here with their university supervisor Dr. Claire Verden, were the first in their school to fulfill part of their student teaching experience requirements abroad. The opportunity came about through Dr. Verden and the long relationship she has on the island with schools like DCMS and The School for Exceptional Learners in Governor’s Harbour. Dr. Verden, who first came to Eleuthera on vacation, identified ways to volunteer and get her students engaged on the island. “Our relationship first began when Dr. Verden brought students to DCMS for a half-day visit. Soon after, we were conducting joint professional development for each other and then talking about how to share expertise,” says Dr. Paul, Director of Education and coordinator of student teaching partnerships. “The West Chester students are all dual certified in special education and another subject of their choice, so we at DCMS can benefit from their expertise. At the same time, the West Chester students are excited to see us implementing a range of best practices in education with a variety of learners and academic results.”
The West Chester students are just one group in a series of partnerships with international and national universities to support student teaching. DCMS has agreements with West Chester University, Queens University, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and The College of The Bahamas. Each university has a different arrangement with DCMS, but all find it valuable to offer some of their students exposure to the work being done at DCMS, The Island School and CEI. This past year, we hosted our first full-time student teacher from COB. Mrs. Sophia Smith was so excited to be working in a school that is utilizing the progressive pedagogy that she had learned that she applied for and was hired to be the English teacher next year. These partnerships are excellent opportunities for DCMS to share its experience with curriculum and programs as well as to find the next crop of talented teachers who will give back to our community.