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Our daughter Ellie wanted to add a different experience to her high school life. She discovered a school is the Eleuthera, Bahamas called The Island School. The Island School offers high school juniors a special experience studying abroad.

Each day Island School students get up at 6am and either run or swim before breakfast. It’s training for a portion of their final exam which includes a half marathon or 4 mile open ocean swim.

After breakfast they attend their studies for a full day of classes that are immersive and experiential. They conduct in depth research with the local environment and community. They study biology in the ocean, learn history in the local townships and math outside.

Towards the end of the semester, students go on an eight day kayak expedition which includes two days of solitude. Just you, by yourself, with a journal, a tarp, food and water.

A few weeks ago, Lauren and I spent three days with Ellie, her classmates & their families and teachers for Parent Weekend in Eleuthera. We were blown away at the experience these kids are getting. We woke up at 6am every morning, did the morning run, jumped off High Rock together, ate together and laughed together. The founder Chris Maxey is an inspiration — and the staff and teachers are so committed. We also got a day off so the three of us could enjoy our time together and explore the island as a family. It was wonderful.

Ellie’s semester is coming to an end and she comes home next week. She will have been away for 100 days. We have missed her more than anything. She should be so proud of her experience and accomplishments.

I sure am.

(All photographs taken on a Leica M3 and Hasselblad 503cw on Kodak film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).