Linkers learn at The Island School

Ten Link Upper House students and two teacher chaperones participated in The Island School Expedition 2018, provided by Link Education Partners,  last week. Students had the opportunity to experience a different culture and geography, learn about sustainability and marine ecology/wildlife, performing community service, and, for most, how to swim and snorkel! The visited a mangrove forest, a limestone cave, and much more. Here are some excerpts from emails the students sent back to Link – explaining their daily activities and what they learned:

Day 1:
Today we woke up around 4am, we quickly brushed our teeth, changed our clothes and hurried to the airport. We arrived at the airport around 5am and there we got breakfast. Around 6:55 we boarded the plane where we remained for 3 hours. When we landed at Nassau, we successfully went past airport security and waited at the airport for 4 hours! …We flew to Rock Sound. After leaving the plane, we met our two island school leaders, Tyler and Darby. They showed us around our sleeping quarters and gave us an orientation to the Island School…. After dinner, Iola, Oluwa and I hung out at the beach (which is directly in front of our cabin).  ~Sekai

Today everyone woke up at around 4 am….Soon as we got to Eleuthera we met two nice instructors  named Tyler and Darby. They helped and guided us so that we could get comfortable with our surroundings. After that we had the orientation meeting, and Tyler showed us to our rooms. Oluwa, Sekai, and I went to the beach to check out the water. We ended up playing in the water for maybe an hour. ~Iola

Day 2:

Today was the first day that we went into the water. We woke up really early around 6:45 to have our swim test….People thought that I didn’t know how to swim, but on the way back to the sand I swam well. After the swim test, we went to eat breakfast. For breakfast I had grits with raisins, boiled egg, oranges, and some cereal as well. After breakfast, we had a tour of the campus. One thing about that really interested me was that one of the high school students from previous years created a machine that could convert plastic waste into oil. After the tour, we had lunch – tortilla wraps, noodles, and a salad. After lunch, we went snorkeling. We went to a nearby creek where we looked at mangroves. In the beginning, water kept getting into my snorkel. But eventually I learned how to use it, and was able to a fun time snorkeling. We saw a lot of fish and algae under the water. After snorkeling, we went to the Octagon and played Uno. I won 3 out of the 5 games that we played. After the second game, a boy from another school came into the Octagon. Ironically, he was from New Jersey as well. After talking we went to dinner and met the rest of his friends. We sat with him and his friends and had a great time. After dinner we went to the main hall for some team building activities. After the activities, we went into our cabins and I played cards with Justin, Caleb, and Mr. Kennedy .~Salley

Day 3:

Today we played Nuke ’em with the other school and had a lot of fun. After breakfast we did the aquaponics with the fish and the plants. Half of the group caught fish and weighed them in, and the other half planted lettuce in the garden beds. Then we switched. I caught 10 fish in total. After lunch we went to the farm and saw many chickens and I got to pick them up. Then we built a biopod which is basically a disposal for trash that maggots or black solider flies fly into. The during exploration time we rode bikes for a mile to a nearby store and got snacks. Lastly we did fish ID and had to identify all the fishes and we learned a lot about them. ~Takayla

Today was great. We played Nuke ‘em with another school from Princeton and we learned about aquaponics . I was able to catch 14 tilapia. We had to weigh the tilapia and then categorize it. Then we planted and watered the plants. We rode our bikes to a store.  We had a good lunch all I helped out with setting up the tables and bringing out the food. We also did a fish id game where we identified fishes by looking at their characteristics. ~Justin

Days 4
First we were told of our camping trip so we could pack the night before and know what to expect the next day. We were told to be ready to go with our stuff by 9:30 so that we could leave on time. Then we began a trip. Our first stop was a bakery. Then, we went to a small beach to be able to stretch our legs and play football. At the same time we were all trying to skip rocks across the water. Despite our efforts Coach Chris still beat all of us at sniping rocks!  We soon piled back into the van and drove to Queens Bath were we ate our lunch. It was a cave of limestone carved out by the ocean, and it is said the Queen Elizabeth took a bath there. When we finished our lunch we took off to The Safire Hole but the only one that was able to jump was Coach Chris. Then, we drove to the beach camp site. Since we had experience with Project U.S.E., pitching the tents were very easy. We swam for a good hour and a half until we started the fire. After we ate we played Man Hunt and Mafia. But is soon came time sleep. The camping trip was very enjoyable and we all had a very good time. ~Tre’Elijah

Day 5
Today we packed up our gear and set out for fun. We checked out a cave and for the first time experienced pitch darkness. It was so cool and exhilarating. Our final and my favorite stop was this area of water where we were closed in. We got to jump in the war from about 10 feet, and we saw fish. One specific type of fish was the angle fish that had bars and a few spots. I jumped in and out of the water so many times. Once back at the Island School, we made our way to a Bahamian local restaurant where the food was delicious. We had ribs, fried chicken, fries, lion fish, and fries. Everything was magnificent. Once we finished up our dinner, we made our way back to The Island School, to go walking through the water looking for creatures. We saw a blue crab, conch, and lots and lots of hermit crabs. Finally now we are all mostly gathered playing Uno and talking about basketball with Coach Chris and getting ready to wind down ~Kelsey

Day 6
So today we got to sleep in, and that was great! After breakfast we had a lesson about marine invertebrate. That lesson was very interesting. Then we got in the water and saw different invertebrates, they were very diverse. Next we had lunch, which was delicious. Then we got on a boat and went to the Sandbar Beach, which is a small island. We spent about 2 hours there and swam in the water. By the way the view there was breathtaking. Afterwards, we got back to Cape Eleuthera and had exploration time, which was relaxing. During that time we rode bikes down to the Marina and saw really big sharks- yes I said SHARKS. After that we had dinner. Last we watched a documentary about coral reefs beautiful to watch. ~Caleb

Today we were allowed to sleep in a little. After breakfast we went into the Octagon to learn about marine invertebrates. We learned about 10 different types of phylum (35 in total). After that, we went outside into the water to try and find some for ourselves. We found many different animals such as starfish, baby sharks, butterfly fish, grouper, sea slug, and sea cucumbers. After that we went and had lunch. For lunch, I had pizza, lasagna, and some rice. After lunch, we went to Sandbar Beach with Tyler. First, we got on a boat and drove to the island. I swam around and looked for some sand dollars with Kelsey, Justin, and Oluwa. I found two, but I accidentally broke the first one. I also found a rock that was shaped like a ring. After visiting Sandbar Beach, we had exploration time. We rode bikes to the Marina. While we were there, we saw four brown sharks swimming in the water. After exploration time, we had dinner. For dinner, I had turkey, rice, and ribs. After dinner, we all came to the Octagon again and watched a documentary about coral reefs and the role they play in the oceanic life cycle. After the documentary, we stayed and played cards. ~Salley

Day 6
So today was a great day for me today. I JUMPED OFF THE CLIFF!!!! I know I said I wasn’t going to do it but I managed and conquered my fear. It felt amazing I was so glad that I did it. I even got it on camera. Then I learned how to float today at the Lighthouse Beach. The lifeguards were so patient with me it was great. I am kind of sad that is it the last day I felt so involved than ever before. This week has been fantastic for me. I faced many challenges and overcame many of them. Also I connected and bonded with my other peers. This was a once and a life time experience and I’m so glad I took advantage of it. I thank Link for this opportunity it meant the world to me! ~Caleb

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