Ten Link 7th and 8th graders departed for The Island School in Eleuthera, The Bahamas on Sunday, April 30, 2023 to experience a week long immersion in marine ecology/biology, sustainability, and Bahamian culture. This program, funded by generous donors to Link Education Partners, provides a truly eye-opening opportunity for our scholars. Link has sent students to the school for 20 years, and many return commenting on what a life-changing experience it was!
While at the school, students journal and take photos which we will post over the coming week. Here is Day 1...and stay tuned for more!
Rayan: We started the day at 7:45 am - brushed my teeth and took a shower and headed straight to breakfast. Breakfast was super good. We had pancakes and sausages. The food wasn’t like how it tasted in America; it was organic and fresh. Afterwards they gave us a tour of the whole place. It was really exciting and fun, but also tiring since we had to walk everywhere.
After the tour we had a swimming test to see who could swim. It turned out I couldn’t. I thought I would drown. Then I was given a life jacket so it wouldn’t happen again. The most fun part was snorkeling. We saw sharks, stingrays, and fishes. Seeing all those animals up close was exciting. Afterwards we just relaxed and played some basketball, but it was too hot for that. We also learned about fishes that I didn’t even know existed like a surgeon fish. After we learned about the fishes. we just went back into the dorm and relaxed and went to sleep. I can’t wait for tomorrow!
Jasolyn: 8:50 pm, end of first full day at The Island School. I had a great experience my first day here. I woke up to Ms. Gunther’s voice, much better than the sound of my alarms for school! For breakfast I had an orange, pancakes and sausages; the pancakes were amazing. After a good breakfast meal, we went on a tour of The Island School.
The tour felt very long, but necessary. I was excited to do my swim test, until I learned what it would be. I was SCARED because I have not been swimming since last summer. I was going to give up and just wear a life jacket. But I was able to conquer my fear by doing the test with Ms. Gunther by my side.
After I aced my swimming test, it was time for lunch! We had pork chops, plantains, and salad; the pork chops was the best part. I had to get seconds! Then we went to the ocean near our dorms to get more comfortable in water. We went snorkeling and found conk shells, sea urchins, and fire coral. We also saw lemon sharks and sting rays.
After we left the water there was some free time and the other girls and I made a playlist. Then we had chicken noodle soup for dinner, I got seconds. I showered and then headed to the octagon where we learned about coral reefs and their importance as well as the different parts of fish and some of their families. Now I am writing this and it is almost time to go to bed. I am excited for tomorrow! I hope this cut on my feet heals fast!
Junisha: I’m enjoying myself! Earlier this morning, I went to high rock. Basically you jump from the rock into the ocean and just relax. I only jumped once and called it a day. I’m glad I had at least one jump but it’s just not for me. Snorkeling is something I’m willing to do every day; it’s just fascinating. We did it today twice; we saw cool little fishes and crabs. I’m seeing lots of interesting things I wouldn’t see on a regular day in New Jersey! Today we learned about some interesting things about the Bahamas, like how Australian pine trees are invasive to the islands, Mangroves, plants, and the adaptations of the baby animals in places where those plants grow. This island is extremely fun and nice. I can’t wait to explore it more.
Delonte: My experience at The Island School for the first few days was actually even more fun than I thought it would be. Since I’ve been here the only thing that I didn’t like about this trip is the mosquitoes and slightly, the food. On the first day we arrived here after our flight, after we unpacked our luggage we went to the dining hall and ate food but the pork chops really didn’t look that appetizing. Today we went snorkeling, swimming, and also learned about fish. I can say I really love The Island School even though it is only my second day and can’t wait for what is left for the rest of the week.
Benjamin Marques: The third day of the island school has been rather interesting. The first activities we partook in was the run and swim, a tradition. This was very difficult and took perseverance and strength. However, we did get to jump off a cliff. After that, the breakfast was very rewarding with cinnamon buns and oatmeal doused in vast amount of brown sugar. After having breakfast we went to a farm and fed and held chickens. We also went on a walk and found many edible plants, some good and some bad.
For lunch we recharged ourselves with noodles for an hour and 15 minutes. After that we snorkeled with the middle school and found many things, for example, jellyfish, angelfish, wrasse, and even a stingray. After that we went back and fed some pretty big nurse sharks some lion fish. Then we went back and cleaned the octagon (where we meet to start our activities) and our dorms. Then we all decided it was a good idea to take a nap before dinner.
For dinner we had ribs, baked potatoes, and vegetables. After that we went straight back in the water and did a night wade. Even though the mosquitos and flies were vicious, it was still worth it to be able to see many of the nocturnal animals. For example sea snails: we found out they have really powerful muscles for something their size and can flip themselves over with their shell if they are required to do so. We also saved a seagull stuck under a brick, however it was wet so it could not fly away even if it wanted to. After that we went back to our dorms or the octagon to play Uno or to get rest.
Karen: My Island School experience has been great so far. I am enjoying myself. I have tried many, many things that I’m not used to doing. Like this morning for an example, I went for a run and swim. A run and swim is basically where you run to a body of ocean and swim! We started our designated activity at the flag pole where the semester students usually have circle. I jogged for about five minutes until I saw water. I was SCARED because the last time I swam, I struggled. At first I wasn’t planning to jump off the cliff. But I was able to conquer my fear with the help of my chaperones: Chris Kennedy and Annie Gunther.
When I first went in the water I felt very paranoid. So I held onto Monodia as she pulled me through the water. She thought it was a good idea to push me past my limits and let me swim on my own. At first I was very NERVOUS. But I got used to swimming on my own and made my way to the next location… I felt very proud of myself after conquering my fears.
It Was time for breakfast! Breakfast was extremely delightful. We had oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, and boiled eggs. The oatmeal didn’t taste how it’s made in America. It tasted very plain and organic.
Nabil: We visited the oldest building in Eleuthera; it’s a library now. We visited a bakery with beef patties, chicken patties, and other tasty treats. They had ginger beer that tasted AMAZING. It was so gooood I can’t tell you how good it is. We also went in a cool cave that’s over one million years old. We turned off the flashlights to see how dark it was and it was pretty DARK. We also saw the oldest writing which was 1742---that was a pretty long time ago!
Keyvin: Today was so fun! We woke up at 6:45 am and went to High Rock which is a big cliff from which you can jump into the ocean. I was not going to jump because it was so high - like 20 feet high, but I jumped and surpassed my fear. After, we went to breakfast, which included cornbread with chicken soup. It was good. I enjoyed trying this type of soup for the first time. Right after we went to the store and Mr. Kennedy and Ms. Gunther got each of us a shirt as a souvenir. I got one that said “Island School Athletics”. Then we cleaned up the beach where we found interesting things: a Jordan 4s, crocs,a car door, etc. . We went to a place called “Sabrina’s Sweets” for some ice cream. Then we cleaned up the dorm and packed our stuff. At the end of the day we had a little bonfire with marshmallows and brownies. Now we are about to go to sleep to get ready for the trip ahead of us tomorrow.