Guest blog post by Science Educator Isabelle Holt
For the first time ever Oak Hill High School joined us on Hurricane for their very own island experience. While it was Oak Hill’s first time on Hurricane, it was our last on-island program as a staff this season. Together we bookended each other’s experiences. The energy and excitement Oak Hill’s first year class brought to the island was the perfect note on which to end a long, eventful, and wonderful season.
The first year class was split in half and each half, the A and B teams, spent 25 hours on the island, which meant that we had to pack a lot into the little time we had together. One singular and wonderful thing about the Oak Hill program was that we were not only joined by teachers from the school, we were also joined by the Oak Hill High principal, Marco Aliberti, and vice principal, Laurie Catanese. It is not often that we get to dig around in the intertidal with both students and their administrators alike These school leaders mirrored the excitement shown by their students at finding crabs and uncovering dog whelk eggs.
Oak Hill is trying to shift the culture of the school towards being more field trip orientated and the school’s trip to Hurricane was an important first step towards that goal. Many students and parents were initially nervous about the trip and fewer students than expected attended the first round in team A. However, by the time team B came out to the island the word had spread about the magic of this place and more than the expected number of students were in attendance.
One common theme among the feedback received from the Oak Hill students was how much fun it was to be able to learn science while out of doors and explore the island. All the Hurricane island classics were observed, from the raft challenge, to learning about scallops, and from the history hike, to squeezing through the “cracks.” As an educator it was a joy to have such an enthusiastic and adventurous group of students for my last program. There is something about sharing the Hurricane island experience with others that truly brings it alive for one’s self. I will dearly miss hearing my students’ exclamations, questions, comments, and even complaints as we learn and discover together. On Hurricane each day, each group, and each student make our community stronger as it grows and changes from season to season. Here’s looking forward to next year!