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The Blazer

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Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Island school highlights mid-winter break

Branson students stand together on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas at the Island School. The group spent their mid-winter vacation exploring and learning about the marine ecosystem. Courtesy of Logan Tusher.

With the end of mid-winter break came the return of 11 Branson students who spent their break at the Island School.

The Island School, based on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, hopes to educate students about both native ecosystems and environmental sustainability through hands-on experience. According to the Global Ed page on BlackBaud, the school “brings together students and world-renowned researchers to create transformational learning experiences.”

The trip was packed with several activities daily, but each day would start with some sort of exercise.

“One morning it would be a run-swim, another a HIIT workout [high-intesity interval training], and the next, yoga on the beach. It kicked off our day in an active way,” said Herschel Pell ‘24.

As for day-to-day activities, students learned about several different forms of sustainable living, from renewable energy to low-emission eating practices.

“We learned about how the school is super self-sustainable, basically a lot of the food and energy comes from the aquaponics system, and it powers the entire campus, which is really awesome,” said Tara Curtin ‘24.

The Branson group also learned about Eleuthera’s marine ecosystem, topics such as invasive species and the overfishing of native marine life were just some of the subjects discussed throughout their stay.

“There’s this big issue with conchs, they’re going extinct because there isn’t great regulation for how many of them fishermen can get,” said Julia St. John ‘24.

Students were also given the opportunity to explore various parts of Eleuthera and its unique history.

“We learned about the history of hotels around the area that got abandoned due to dips in tourism, and we even explored an abandoned hotel a couple miles from the campus,” St. John said.

It wasn’t all work though, the students were provided “exploration time” on a daily basis, where they could indulge in a range of activities, including biking to the nearby marina, trying out local food or going for a swim in the nearby water.

“We could do whatever we wanted on or off the campus. Most days during those couple hours, we would go to the town store on bikes and grab some snacks before setting up on the beach and listening to some Bob Marley. It was sick,” Pell said.

The trip was packed with countless activities, covering a wide range of interests and helping to deeply educate students about problems the Island School is attempting to lessen. But mixed in with learning was considerable down time, giving students the opportunity to make memories and truly experience the sustainable lifestyle the Island School is trying to promote.

“Some days it would be snorkeling, some it would be research on agriculture and fish species, one was a trip around the island to see more of the culture and nature outside of the Island School,” said Pell.

At the end of the trip, students were given the chance to share their “seashell,” in other words, what experiences they had internalized and that would extend past their stay at the Island School.

“At the end of the trip we talked about what our seashell was, like what we were going to bring back, and I said what I was going to bring back was probably the lifestyle changes,” Curtin said.

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