Check out our new video that gives you a glimpse into the life of the Deep Creek Middle School.
At the beginning of the semester, each Island School student is paired up with a ‘buddy’ from Deep Creek Middle School. Every Thursday at precisely 1:10 we meet at the flag pole and prepare to travel to DCMS to help them work on their final projects. There are a variety of projects ranging from AIDs and HIV awareness, to self-image for girls. Each group is a team of 6, three Deep Creek Middle School students (9th, 8th, and 7th graders) and their three Island School buddies.
This past Tuesday was no ordinary Community Outreach. Our group piled into a van and headed over to Tarpum Bay primary school for our drug awareness event led by Patron, a 9th grader at DCMS. Our group of 6 stood up in front of a class of 6th graders for the culminating event. We performed a short skit to educate about peer pressure and drug use. After the skit, Patron asked the kids questions about what they had just learned. It turns out we had left the questions we prepared at the school so we all had to wing it and come up with questions on the spot. The kids were eager to participate and with each question, around 10 hands shot up. After we exhausted the questions, Patron took the kids to the basketball court to show them the safe and fun alternative to drug use. We played three different basketball games which lasted around an hour and a half. Towards the end we got to take a break and cupcakes, lollipops, and lemonade were handed out. The kids were very excited to be outside, and it turned into a family event where cars stopped to watch and siblings came to join us. Although it veered a little from the drug education, overall everyone had a great time and Patron was so proud of how well his big event came together.
The group came back to the school with a sugar high and exceeded expectations. We had missed advisory time but it was well worth it. Our class had turned into an adventure and our buddies had become our close friends.
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 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.”
Since 2001, Deep Creek Middle School has supported its students in applying for scholarships to U.S. boarding schools as an alternative option to continuing with their high school education on Eleuthera. To date, 33 students have received over $4 million in awards at prep schools from Virginia to Maine.
This year, the five candidates were split into two groups visiting northern and southern schools. The northern group visited Lawrenceville, The Hill School, Tabor Academy, Brewster Academy, Lawrence Academy, Kimball Union Academy, and Northfield Mt. Hermon. The southern group visited The Pennington School, Perkiomen, Oldfields, Foxcroft, West Nottingham Academy, and Episcopal High School. The students had the opportunity to tour the schools and interview to begin the ninth grade in Fall 2015.
As the week progressed, the DCMS students became more confident in their interview skills and enlightened in what they are looking for in a boarding school. Trevonya Pinder of Waterford says, “After seeing the schools and what they offer, I am inspired and motivated. I am looking for a school that has small classes and a good music program.”
This trip was nine months in the making; students begin the boarding school process the January before the trip and adhere to rigorous standards to remain in the process. This includes an intensive boot camp to study for the SSAT exam and leadership positions in extracurricular activities. For the candidates, their hard work is beginning to pay off. Deep Creek’s Dashae Clarke says, “My favorite part of the trip was meeting the students and interviewers from the different schools. I could picture myself doing the activities that I saw the other kids doing. It made me feel like part of the boarding school family.”
Student Advancement Coordinator Megan Kelly chaperoned the southern group and had the opportunity to visit with DCMS alumni who are already enrolled in the schools. She says, “It is a gratifying experience to see our alumni excelling at their boarding schools. Every former DCMS student we met held multiple leadership roles at their schools: everything from being tour guides to team captains to class presidents.” This success proves that DCMS is preparing students for the rigors of the top schools in the United States.
The trip was enhanced by the hospitality of many Island School alumni families who hosted the students in home stays. Welcoming the DCMS students with Bahamian flags, photos from the Island School, and regional dining specialties, the students quickly felt at home. DCMS is grateful for the generosity of the Paget-Brown family (Heather F’14), the Gould family (Lauren F’12), the Keefe family (Hilary S’04, Andrew S’05, Brittany S’06, and Peter F’13), the McDonough family (current IS Fellow Tom S’08), the Howard-Gould family (Marcus S’13), the Sands-Bliss family (Maya F’13), and the Maxeys. The trip was made even better by the bonds formed with the host families!
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!