Last week The Island School hosted 12 SCUBA divers from the New York Harbor School. Accompanying the divers were dive instructors Liv Dillon and Joe Gessert and board member Eli Smith. The divers continue the relationship between the New York Harbor School and The Island School, which includes dive trips such as this one as well as bringing students to enroll in Island School semesters as part of the City Bridge program. Students participated in up to 22 dives (four per day), 10 received their Advanced Open Water Certification, while the other 2 students (who had already completed their Advanced Open Water) worked towards their Divemaster.
At the Island School we are always excited to see students working to solve real world problems. We are especially proud of our friends at the New York Harbor School who were recently featured in the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog. Check out their innovative insights into how they are working to protect their region against future threats of storms like Sandy: Students Press the Case for Oysters as New York’s Surge Protector
This past Saturday, a group of New York Harbor School students, including three Island School alumni, Chris Lorient (F’10), Gabe Taliaferrow (SP’12), and Arben Ukperaj (SP’11), completed the Governor’s Island Swim! These brave souls, alongside the 300 race participants, endured the 2.0-mile swim around Governor’s Island in New York City–a bit different than the Super Swim these alumni completed during their Island School semester. Congratulations on such an impressive feat! We hope to get some more Island School folks to join you guys next year!
by Tegan Maxey
I spent the past four months sailing the schooner Harvey Gamage through the Caribbean and up the east coast of the US, and I finally understood how lucky I am to have a home like Eleuthera. I started to get an understanding of how lucky I am when the trip was just starting, talking my shipmates, Brendan, who is a Island School alum of the Fall 2011 semester, and my bunk mate Patricia, who applied to Island School and attends the New York Harbor School, one of The Island School’s partner schools. It wasn’t until we were leaving the Caribbean, very slowly because there was no wind, that I really got an understanding of how awesome my home really is. We were at the southern end of Cat Island with absolutely no wind, when Brendan and I decided that we were going to convince the captain to take us to Eleuthera. I wasn’t very hopeful, but the next day at lunch, I found myself aloft, looking out at Lighthouse beach as we approached Eleuthera. By 4 pm I was giving my dad a hug, introducing him to my ship mates, and making a plan to go to The Island School for dinner. Showing all of my friends from the boat around Island School was amazing, very strange, but still amazing. It really sunk in that my home was really cool when every single person on board made a point to come and tell me how amazing they thought The Island School was. Of all the things we did on the trip, Carnival in Dominica, sailing sloops in Carriacou, hiking to the boiling lake, for me the most amazing part was sharing my home with my shipmates.
The New York Harbor School (NYHS) is a public high school located on Governors Island off the southern tip of Manhattan. Founder, Murray Fisher, connected with The Island School over 8 years ago during NYHS’s inception as a resource on how to develop a non-traditional education organization in a traditional setting. Over the years NYHS has sent numerous faculty members to The Island School’s annual Teacher Conference and has sent even more students to Eleuthera for semester, summer and SCUBA programs. Every winter, NYHS flies south to Eleuthera to complete SCUBA certification for its students. These kids use the skill to help do research back home. One of the major projects is the restoration of oyster beds in the Hudson–read more here! This February we hosted another great group and wanted to share one student’s personal reflection on the trip–it really highlights the value of our partnership and why we continue to find ways to help it grow.
“Here I am at the edge of our dive boat ready to make my first descent into the open water. Secluded on an island in the Bahamas with several other minority students, we are far from the low income urban environment in which we are used to living. I sit on the edge of the boat with my back against the wind while the cool Bahamian breeze sneaks under my ears and over my shoulders. I am so eager to get into the ocean and explore. It looks like a giant, sprawling pool. As the warm bright sun beams on my tight dive suit hugging my skin, a twenty pound air tank on my back, and my hair brushed into a tight ponytail, I think to myself how did I get here? Before this trip I never had the opportunity to venture outside of the U.S. Continue reading