Gratitude Y9 – Christmas

Dear Sponsor,

img_6193Hi, I am James Kerr and I am from Carmel, Indiana.  This is my first year attending The Link School and I am a senior.  I have been going to Adventure Unlimited (next door to Link) for 10 years now and that is where my love for the mountains in Colorado began.  I love to be in the outdoors; I enjoy running, biking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, and snowboarding.  When I was 9 my family moved to Germany for 3 years and we traveled all around Europe.  While there I fell in love with traveling and gained a fascination for learning about other cultures.  Link is the perfect fit for me allowing me to always being active in the outdoors, and soon by traveling internationally to Baja.

At Link students are given the opportunity to learn in the field in order to compliment what we learn in the classroom.  I am a hands-on learner and Link has allowed me to excel.  We were learning about hydrology and then we got to go rafting on the Green River.  I was able to extend my learning into real life instead of just learning from power points and a book.  In English we learned about leadership and then we had a discussion on “does gender impose limitations on leadership”.  In an ordinary school I would’ve been nervous to get up and publicly speak in front of my teachers and my classmates.  During this discussion I was comfortable speaking publicly, enabling me to practice my debating skills and my speaking skills without feeling too much pressure.  For Social Studies -Immigration Issues we went down to the border and met with the border patrol, the mayor (American), and customs officials.  I learned much more than I would’ve learned in a classroom.  I was able to talk to people who are eyewitnesses to the issues.  After that we went to the White Rim for a mountain biking trip.  I was right at home and think that was one of the best trips I have ever taken in my life.  Link has allowed me to have learning and outdoor experiences that I would never get at a traditional high school.

In the short semester I have been at Link I have grown immensely in all aspects of my life.  I ran a marathon in November and I had to rely fully on the divine in order to finish the race.  I also did a lot in preparation for this and I was always focusing spiritually.  I grew a lot on the runs I went on because I probably wasn’t physically prepared for any of the runs that I went on.  The only way I could do them and had fun doing them was to focus my thought Godward.  With a strong spiritual foundation every morning I am able to have the knowledge and preparation to be spiritually orientated, not only running while running, but throughout every day.  With classes so small I am able to be pushed out of my comfort zone in the classroom.  The teachers know what I am capable so they expect me to exceed what I thought my limitations were.  I am comfortable asking questions because I have close relationships with them.  It was tough to leave my school junior year and to convince my parents to come to Link, but it has been the best decision I have ever made.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come to Link and allowing me to become the best version of myself.  I will be forever grateful to everyone who is supporting me spiritually and financially this year.

Regards,  James

 

 

img_5908Hello!  My name is Kaelyn Colizzo, and I am pleased to say that this is my second year attending The Link School.  When I am not at Link, I live with my father, David, and his girlfriend, Renee, in Denver, or with my adopted family, Alex, her husband James, and my pseudo-siblings Cassie, Hannah, Isaac, Annalise, and Anthony in Centennial, Colorado.  My life at school is exciting, for sure– but my life at home is hectic, to say the least.  My youngest brother, Isaac, just turned five a few months ago, and loves– and I mean loves– to get into mischief wherever humanly possible, and my youngest sister Annalise, 10, certainly doesn’t get in his way.  My little sister, Hannah, is currently attending Principia for her Sophomore year of high school and loving it, but loving holidays and breaks with the family even more.  Finally, my two older siblings: Cassie, 18, and Anthony, 23, are both in school and trying to become independent, fully functioning members of society, which is a difficult task.  In addition to my sprawling family, we have our dog, Missy, and a puppy in the near future, and two horses, Chicka-Marie, and Star.  When I am not busy with the shenanigans that take place on the daily at home, or working hard at school, I love to read, watch movies, and ride my horse.

Being my second year at this unique school, I feel as though I have really gotten the hang of things and come into myself as a person, and have thoroughly enjoyed becoming a fixture in this wonderful community.  Currently, I am taking Spanish II, Physical Science: Hydrology and Marine Biology, Honors Pre-calculus, and British and American Literature– all classes I love, and look forward to everyday.  My favorite class is British American Lit, with its focus on leadership and the ways in which it’s applicable to society as a whole, and how that translates into writing.  During project times, I take a free-choice Civil Rights class that I am thankful for the opportunity to take, and love learning about our nation’s tumultuous history, and the ways in which we can learn not to repeat our previous mistakes.  My academic success is no doubt due to the tremendous amounts of support I receive from staff members, and the hands-on approach of the classes, which I would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

I cannot even begin to explain just how meaningful my time at Link has been to me.  It has inspired me to gain confidence, speak my mind, and value my own self-worth by allowing me to be an active participant in our little community that is so, so dear to me.  It is truly with the utmost gratitude and respect, that I write this letter to you today, because without you I would not be here having the time of my life in high school.  Through Link I have found nothing but unconditional love, support, and acceptance, and I do not think there is any particular number of words I could string together that would fully convey the depth of my gratitude.  Link has irreversibly changed me to my very core, and I am so glad that it has!

With love,

Kaelyn Colizzo

 

 

dsc_0300Dear Sponsor,

Hello, I am Beka Petersen and I live in Buena Vista, Colorado.  I am attending The Link School.  I am a sophomore this year.  This is my first year attending The Link School and I have been enjoying all of the different expeditions that we have been on so far this year.  I enjoy spending my time outdoors and trying out new things that I’ve never experienced before.  While attending The Link School I have gotten much better at school and have been keeping good grades, also enjoying my classes that I’m currently taking.

In my classes I have many different projects and activities that I have been working on.  My favorite class to attend is Science – Hydrology and Marine Biology.  We have been focusing on the study of marine animals lately and that has been very fascinating to learn about.  Currently we are all working on a sea turtle paper that we got assigned for our finals.  The sea turtle that I have been focusing on is the Green Sea Turtle.  We are writing a three-page essay on the threats to the turtle, their distribution, diet, habitat, etc.  I have really enjoyed working on this final because I have learned so much that I never knew about on my species of sea turtle.  Also, when we go on different expeditions I learn how I capable of anything that I set my mind too.

This year there have been many challenges that I have had to face throughout the school year.  On all of the different trips that we have been on I have experienced new things.  For our 100-mile biking trip on the White Rim Trail in Utah I didn’t think that I could ever be ready to try something so long and complicated.  I was scared to even think about biking 100 miles in 4 days, but as soon as we began our trip I surprised myself with how capable I was to bike so hard and fast.  There were moments that I struggled with about how much my legs would hurt or that I was too tired to continue the trip, but when I got back on my bike it was like nothing was wrong at all.  I have grown with the community of the school and have been growing closer to the students that attend here.  I have never thought so welcomed to a school before, and I am grateful that I am getting the chance to come to this school and try things that I’ve never done.  I am very grateful that you sponsored me to go to this school and I have been enjoying my time that I have spent here.

Greatly appreciated, Beka Petersen

 

 

img_6003Dear Sponsor,

Hi!  I’m Imogen, and I’m new this year.  I’m 15 and a sophomore in school and I came here from England.  Although this is my first year here, I have been visiting America for a long time, including summer camps since the age of seven, visiting relatives, and going to Principia last year.  I grew up in a very squeezed-in community, with a lot of people who make bad choices from incredibly early on.  Once I came to America, the environment was completely different, more enthusiastic and less hateful towards people.  The opportunity of coming to Link seemed completely out of reach, and unlikely.  Now I’m here and it’s completely different to what I ever imagined, it’s an amazing tight-knit, supportive community, with such a loving environment, that helps build up the character of each person.

Each month we go on these amazing trips and see something new every time.  Our last trip was biking the White Rim, which was 100 miles, and each bit of the way there was always someone at your side, supporting you, and cheering you on.  It is incredible to go on trips like these, seeing as most people back in England have hardly even gone to France (which is only about an hours boat ride)!  Being here I have had some amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.  As you probably know, there is a project that each person does for the end of the year, and it’s getting to the point where people are choosing their projects and what they want to do for them.  I have been sewing since I was a little girl and decided to choose it for my project, because I have the opportunity to do that.  I have always hoped that I could become an artist in some way or another, and sewing is an incredibly fun thing that I wasn’t even sure that I had the means to do it with, and now I do, and I plan to make some beautiful things for my project.

There wasn’t much opportunity for me to be going to any schools in America this year.  It didn’t even seem possible for both me and my brother to be able to go to summer camp this year.  My mum has been saving up for a new car recently, and to get me to this school, she spent most of that money and gave up the idea of getting another car, all for me to come here, which, even if she had spent her money, we wouldn’t have been able to get me here without your help.  It means so much that you have be kind enough to help me have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am incredibly grateful.

Much love – Imogen

 

 

img_5806Hi I am Bryce Marmolijo

I am from the sunny Ojai, California, I am 15 years old, and was raised in Christian Science but never really incorporated it into my daily life.  I love being in the water; any form of it.  Some things I enjoyed to do before I came here included hanging out with 2 friends in particular.  We would just walk around town and do teenager things.  Other than that I would be at home playing video games (which was a very poor choice, and I knew that).  I had very poor grades because of this.  So, when I started to go to The Link School 3 months ago, I sold my games and other things so I wouldn’t be able to use them and put things off like before.  I have much fewer distractions now, a good scheduled week to follow, so I’m not just wandering aimlessly doing nothing productive, which is something I particularly like about going here.

As for classes, since they are much smaller than a public school, you are able to ask more questions and get to learn much more and have your input put into class discussions.  In our Immigration Issues class we went down to the U.S./Mexico border to see what the border was really like.  We also got to meet with customs officers, and the border patrolmen.  It was very interesting to actually see the border and how big of a difference a few miles can make in changing the lives of people and environment.  Then there is our science class where in January we get to go to Baja, California and learn about sea turtles, and Spanish.  The expeditions we get to go on, like to go hike in the mountains, raft the Lodore canyon, mountain bike 100 miles in Utah, all of those activities are so fun because you get to grow spiritually, see nature, and just have that peace and quiet away from the city.

Being here in this new community where you can’t just avoid everybody, but you have to interact and talk, helps you learn about the people you live with since you see them every day.  Building those connections with those around you, not just the students, but the teachers also, and being able to have that help when you need it is great.  You’re not lost and you have a guided path to follow.  Like I said before, I never really incorporated Christian Science into my daily life, but here every morning we have spiritual study which has taught me a lot about Christian Science, especially on our expeditions we use it a lot there when we have that quiet time to ourselves to think and do what we need to is great.

Thank you for helping me and my family let me go here by paying for part of my tuition, I promise you I will not waste this chance you have given me.

Love Bryce

 

 

img_2010Dear Sponsor

My name is Benji.  Thank you for sponsoring me.  I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for how this school has been a life changing experience for me.  Some things about me – I’m from Rhode Island and I love to fish and play golf.  I also like to do construction and I like to working with wood.  This is nice because there’s a lot of wood here.  This will help me in life when I’m installing cabinets or working on installing them in someone’s house or even my future house.  I also love being outdoors and reading about motorcycles and cars especially from circa 1970s.  The support in this loving community with school work and in general is nothing I have ever experienced in any other school before.  It’s a pretty awesome thing to have experienced and thank you.

 

The things that I have learned are remarkable –it seems to me that the list goes on forever.  My favorite classes, hmm let’s see – all of my classes!  That’s pretty rare for me to say that I like all of my classes, but I would have to be pretty crazy not to like all of my classes with the support from my teachers. Before I came here there were a lot of things I didn’t know about and I learn something new in each of my classes every day.  For example, for science class we are learning about sea turtles and the different kinds of species for our trip to Baja Mexico.  I can say I’ve not done that kind of stuff at any of my other schools.

This school has had a huge impact on me because of the relationships with my teachers I feel like I can tell them anything and they’ll be there to support me.  Also the trips that I’ve been on are breathtaking and I will never forget them.  Not only that but I’ll be able to tell my friends at home the things I did at my school and I’ll probably talk about being at this wonderful school all summer.  Thank so much for making this possible and I look forward to meeting you.

Much Love,  Benji Nickol

 

 

img_5818Dear Sponsor

Hi, I’m Kelvin, I’m 16  years old.  I am a sophomore this year at school.  This is my second year at Link.  I really like outdoor activities, like mountain biking, and whitewater kayaking.

I’ve been doing really well in my classes, I’ve been learning a lot while doing projects, for instance, I’m building a treehouse for my POL (Project of Learning) and I learned how to get a frame into a tree and secure it.  The program activities are really fun and educational.  My favorite class is science class because I’m learning all about sea turtles right now which is my favorite animal.  I am also enjoying math class a bit.  Bryan, my math teacher, works to help me be successful.

The most meaningful thing to me here at school is the community here.  It’s a community that includes, helps, and teaches everyone.  I value Link because I’ve learned and grew so much since my first year.  All of the staff here are meaningful to me, they challenge me to grow in my abilities.  I also learn interesting stuff.

Love Kelvin

 

 

img_6494Dear sponsor

Hi, my name is Brian Burr.  I was born in Colombia and I was adopted five years ago.  I am now from New Jersey, where I live with my dads and my brother.  This is my second year at The Link School.

I do many things here such as mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, snowboarding.  My favorite thing is mountain biking and this year we went to the ride a 100-mile mountain bike ride on the White Rim Trail in Utah, which it was so much fun.  We also went on a rafting trip on the Green River.  I’m really excited for the international trip because we are going to be learning about sea turtles and lagoons.  I am also excited to get a chance to practice my Spanish.

It’s have been meaningful to me because I met many friends that I’m going to have for life.  I have also been using Christian Science to work through challenges.

Love,  Brian

 

 

img_1999Dear Sponsor

Hello I’m Eli Abbott and I am 18 years old, from Worcester, MA and this is my third year at The Link School.  I am a senior here at Link.   It has been such a blessing being able to come here.  I love the atmosphere of love and support that is given here.

Things that I have been doing with The Link School have been skiing, running, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting.  These are some of my favorite things that I have found myself loving.  I ran a half Marathon this last fall and also the Sleeping Indian Hill Climb that was 5.7 miles.  For my senior project I am running the Colligate Peak Trail marathon.  I really enjoy rock climbing and I really love the trips that we go on.  In science, I love what we are learning about – right now we are learning about sea turtles and doing our own research paper about a specific turtle.

I love everything that we do here and everything has been meaningful.  Spiritually I have grown to have a better understanding of what is the meaning and purpose in my life and what I can do to make a difference for good through prayer and action.   In the community the most meaningful thing is that we all have a say in what we want to do and what we want to happen with things involving our community.  Academically, I have had some trouble with not finding enough time to complete the homework or things at hand, so I am talking with a practitioner and she gave me some thoughts to work with.  Thank you so much for supporting me with my journey here at Link.

Sincerely , Eli Abbott

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

img_2014My name is India Espeset-Morrison and I have been attending The Link School for two years.  I am originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I live with my mom, Amy and our dog and cat.  My hobbies include (but are not limited to) gardening (and being wildly unsuccessful), cooking pretty much anything, baking bread (it’s finally starting to come out of the oven looking like bread), listening to music, reading all manner of books, however I’m specifically interested in books about chefs (are you sensing a theme?), and finally watching movies about chefs.  I love the outdoors and attend a canoe tripping summer camp in Ontario.

I was drawn to Link because they combined learning, spiritual growth and the wilderness.  We have been doing many interesting things at Link this year – science has been especially interesting as we have been learning about hydrology and marine biology, which often go hand in hand.  Recently we have been writing conservation papers about sea turtles.  The sea turtle I have been researching is the Hawksbill Sea Turtle, and I have found many ways to help this species survive, which has been really cool to learn about.  British and American Literature has taught me a lot.  So far this year we have read Macbeth, The Distance Between Us, a collection of essays by Sir Francis Bacon, and multiple other writers from the renaissance and onwards.  I have really enjoyed English this year, since we combined the current events of today with the literature of the past.  American Government has been especially interesting this year, since we got to experience the election while learning about what made this happen.

In my opinion Link was one of the most important things to ever happen to me, I learned to do things I would never had experienced, I learned that my favorite sport is not lacrosse but rock climbing, I learned the God is Love, and that I can be a spiritual person.  Before Link I had never entered a church in my entire life.  Now I carry my Science and Health wherever I go.  I am so thankful for everything this place has done for me, and for you for providing this amazing experience for me.

India

 

 

img_2006Dear Sponsor,

My name is Grace and I am from Buena Vista, Colorado.  I am 13 years old and a freshman at The Link School.  I was raised in Buena Vista but born in Kentucky.  I love reading and writing, therefore, my favorite subject is English.  I have traveled to nine countries and would like to travel more.  My dad is the Mayor of Buena Vista and my mom is a yoga instructor.  Both of my parents studied Holistic Management under Alan Savory, so I have grown up aware of the climate change that affects the planet.

We have gone on many trips this year including a 100-mile bike trip, a week-long river trip, and a backpacking trip.  I think that so far, my favorite trip was the rafting trip.  Everyone knew each other, but we bonded as a group more and learned more about each other.  When not on a trip, we have normal high school classes.  In Science, we are learning about hydrology and marine biology.  At the moment our focus is on sea turtles.  Before our river trip, we were learning about different fish in the Green River and wrote a paper on the species that we were studying.  Now we are learning about sea turtles and writing a paper about them in preparation for our trip to Baja in January.  In English, we are focusing on Humanism and leadership.  Recently we had a debate on whether or not gender imposes limits, specifically on leadership.  Because of this debate, I was able to put myself in other people’s shoes and see a different side of an argument that I had felt confident about my opinion in before.  We are now writing a satirical essay or short story about issues that are affecting us in our modern-day society.  I am in Algebra 1 as well as Spanish 1.

This year I have grown a lot.  At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have many good friends and was not challenged in the public school.  So far I have made friends with all of the students here and am able to challenge myself more.  I have moved to a more difficult English and Science class and am not as bored as I was last year.  This year I have been able to mature, both physically and metaphysically.  It has meant a lot to me that I have been able to make lifelong friends and grow as a person.

Love, Grace Benson

 

 

dsc_0161Dear Sponsor,

 

My name is Mathias Fanta.  I am 15 and in my sophomore year of high school.  I love being a part of The Link School community.  I appreciate what you do for our school.  The Christian Science approach to school is a wonderful part of the curriculum.  Throughout this year and last year I have striven to improve myself in many ways, athletics, academics, as well as spiritually.

 

In science class we do a number of different things.  So far this year we have looked at behaviors of fish, sea turtles, marine life, the list continues.  To look at these different things we have done things like going to a fish hatchery to look at how that works.  In English we read an outstanding book called Cry the Beloved Country.  Throughout that process, we looked at what life was like in the apartheid, social injustices, writing papers about themes that center the book, and creating poster board presentations to show differences from then and now.

 

In the class Immigration Issues we looked at what happens on the border, and studied the legalization processes, and social injustice.  As a final to the class, we wrote a letter to a make-believe special someone in south or Central America.  The letter was a final show of what we had learned over the past semester.  We tried to convince that special someone to cross the border, or not to cross, from the information we had learned.

 

The Link School has been a huge part of my life in the past year and a half.  I have been able to take advantage of all the ways staff can help.  Whether it be academic, spiritual, or physical challenges, there is help at every turn.  The student atmosphere is also very helpful.  As a group of thirteen students, we become family away from home.  We support each other and are striving to be a comfort to one another.  My time at Link is something I will remember for a long time.  The people I have met will never be forgotten, and the growth I have made will make me a better person forever.

Sincerely,  Mathias Fanta

 

 

 

img_6263Dear Sponsor,

 

I am Mallory and am a senior here.  I am really enjoying the activities that I am getting to try.  I had never really climbed on real rocks before I got to school and it was so cool.  I am working on reaching the top of my first climb.  I am also enjoying horseback riding.  I had ridden before I came to school but was unable to continue because I went to another boarding school where it wasn’t an option.  I loved the horseback riding trip.  It was really cold but I got pretty close with the girls who did it with me.

 

I love my science class.  We are learning about sea turtles and this is something that I really like.  I always loved the ocean and to be able to study it is really fun.  I am doing a research paper for my final on the Leatherback sea turtle and It has been really informative.  I think that for my senior project I may continue to study sea turtles and maybe even go back to Baja!  I have also done some research on other sea turtle conservation institutions and there is one in North Carolina and that is where I am planning on spending my summer!  So now I have an idea of something to do over the summer.

 

Link has helped me to find a Sunday School teacher that I really connect with.  My teacher is an amazing woman.  She has made me really interested in Christian Science.  I have studied this topic my whole life but making it my own has been really hard.  She made it easy for me to do that.  She made this game for my Sunday School class to play where she had a box with different names for God and we had to use different topics to help the other students guess what the name was.  There was “What Color Was This Name for God?”, “What Sound?”, “What Feeling?”, and many others.  I felt that this helped me to see God more clearly in my everyday life.  She really illuminates all the things that I find most difficult and turn them into a clear idea that I can put into action in the activities that we do.

 

Since going on our first hiking trip I have felt such a strong sense of community with the girls.  I feel as though we have all really come together.  I have been looking for a strong community in which I feel welcome, and I think that Link has provided that.  I had a hard time feeling it at my past two high schools but I feel like Link has gone above and beyond with its strong community and I love that we all try our best to make it a true democracy.

 

Thank you so much for making it possible for me to be a part of this amazing community that has helped me to grow so much both physically and spiritually.  I can’t wait to continue here next semester and see what new strengths I’m building on come to fruition by the end of the year.

Love,

Mallory Saylor