Gratitude – Y12 Spring

 

Gratitude from the Y12 Students:

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Sophia Green, I am a Junior going into Senior year, and this is my first year attending the amazing school that is Link. I live in Santa Cruz California, and am currently staying at my childhood house located in Nisene Marks, a State park and forest. From my upbringing I have always felt a connection to nature since I have always been in the thicket of it. This is a big reason as to why Link is such a good fit for me. I grew up riding horses and it is still a great love of mine. Another passion that has stayed a constant with me my whole life, is music. Even whilst writing this to you, I am listening to Vance Joy. He is my favorite artist. Alongside Milky Chance and Khalid. However, my music taste is all over the place. I love to learn and test my boundaries, push myself, and see how big my potential is. 

While I was at Link, my favorite activity I partook in was climbing. At the beginning of the year, I was terrified every time I stepped off the ground and onto a rock face, my fear only building the farther I got from the ground. Now, my love for climbing has allowed me to enjoy it, and has helped me find my love for crack climbing especially. Now I reminisce of my last climbs, where I climbed three cracks clean (I had never climbed anything clean before) and I cannot wait to get back to it. Now home, I have taken after working out a lot, writing poetry, sketching, surfing, learning aerial tricks, and spending time with my sister and family. At Link, my days were busy and full. There was never really enough time to fully reflect on myself, how I was doing, and so forth. I had many days where I would get in weird moods, sometimes bad moods, that I could not understand but had to just move past them because I had a class or activity to get to. But being home now, I can address these moods and feelings, write about them, talk to people to work out what I am going through. Now, I am the most at peace with myself that I have ever been.

Link has done so much for me. Expanded my horizon, dared me to try as many new things as I wish to, and allowed me to dream. Ask myself what I want to do, try, go after. Not to mention the peace that I feel, I have Link to thank for that. There have been many times where I thought I was going to break, mentally and physically, and maybe I did. But going through those experiences has allowed me to build myself into a stronger person. The person I want to be. I was scared to trust before Link because of past pains. Link, the community and family that has become mine as well, allowed me to not be afraid. To learn to trust, and let people in. It was scary, but now I am better for it. No one should be alone, nor should they think they deserve loneliness. Which I did. Before Link, I was the quiet, smart horse girl. But I am so much more than that. And Link allowed me to see that. Now, I am a mountain biker, snowboarder, climber, writer, a vulnerable person, and happily independent. But I am strong. It has taken me to this point to realize this. Link has aided me in growing so much, and I have you to thank for that. Thank you so much for supporting me in being a student at Link. It means more than you know. 

Sincerely,

Sophia Green

 


 

Dear Sponsor,

Hi, my name is Steven Plantinga, I am from the Denver metro area and I live with my mom and two roommates. I came from a high school of about two thousand people and have really appreciated the opportunity to come to Link and grow as a person. So, thank you so much for financially making that possible! Some of the many things I enjoy doing here are snowboarding, climbing, mountain biking, going on trips, eating great food hanging out with my friends and all of the fun and little random things that we do around here. The trips are also such a cool, special and unique experience and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity this year to do all of the wonderful and fun trips that are so unique and special. My favorite trip this year has been the baja trip.

This year I have also learned so much in school. My favorite things that I have learned about are climate change, current events, women’s leadership, spanish, learning about world war two and growing as a writer. I have really enjoyed learning about relevant topics to the world and learning in a small classroom environment. All of the staff and teachers here are such wonderful, hardworking, caring, loving, creative people and I have enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them. I really like most of the students here, especially the boys, we all get along really well and hang out all together. We are a very close knit group and some of the fun things the boys do together is watch a movie on someone’s computer, play a made up game like cup ball or balloon bounce in a circle and so many other fun random games. We all talk about various topics that challenge our thinking are funny and that improve ourselves.

Another really cool experience I have gotten to have is just living in the mountains, it is so beautiful and amazing up here because of the amount of things there is to do that you can’t really do in the city. My favorite thing to do up here is definitely go snowboarding, it gives me a feeling like nothing else can and I have loved having the opportunity to improve my skills this year. One of my best memories here was when we were in baja and I got to go to the beach for the first time and the boys and I got to all boogie board that day. Another great memory I had was cooking a meal that I learned in Mexico for the whole school, it was delicious and satisfying to cook. The thing that has been best about the Link school for me has been becoming a better, more socially aware person. I feel like I have grown a lot this year as a person and learned how to deal with different things that I have not dealt with before and it has been great to become a better man throughout this year. This year Link has just been a place to have so many cool experiences, get to know new and different people than I normally wouldn’t and learn about who I am as a person. I have really loved and appreciated being here this year, thank you so much for making this school possible.   

Sincerely, Steven Plantinga

 


 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Santiago Doutrich. This year is my third year at Link and I am now a senior. Throughout my whole life, I’ve been traveling to different countries due to my dad’s job. Currently, my family is in Abu Dhabi. I have visited them a few times including the summer of 2019 where I got to intern in the U.S. Embassy over there. All of my life I have been very active but Link has introduced me to the activities in the outdoors which I have fallen in love with. I consider Link as one of my homes and I am very thankful to be here. Before coming to Link my grades were averaging at B’s and now they’ve moved up to A’s. After high school, I will attend college either at Principia or CSU where I will study business with an international aspect.

Since coming here, I have really been enthusiastic about biking, skiing, and especially climbing. Every Monday we have the opportunity to do some sort of outdoor activity. At first, we did biking when the weather permitted it. This is very beneficial since I have loved mountain biking ever since I did the biking program at Adventure Unlimited Ranches and it is a very active sport that really pushes me in my athletics but especially in trusting my skill This year I joined Link’s first mountain bike team which was really fun to train and race with my friends. At first, skiing wasn’t really one of my favorite activities but as time passed I have learned to really enjoy the rush and excitement that the activity gives me. It is a really great time to be with my friends as we challenge the slopes together. I have been working on improving my ski jumping skills as long as pushing myself to do hard slopes either at Monarch mountain or the backcountry. Finally, my favorite activity at Link has been climbing. Like Skiing, climbing was an activity that wasn’t very fun for me at first and I didn’t really like it. That idea changed in my mind and I have ended up loving the sport. I see climbing as this art of perfection to complete the route without falling and it really makes me enjoy the experience. I love climbing with my friends because we all work together to figure out how to achieve the task ahead. With climbing, I have also taken the time to work on my lead climbing which is much scarier but in my opinion really fun. I have built a particular interest in multi-pitch climbs because I love being that high up. This year I got to Independence tower near the Colorado-Utah border and it was so fun! I was planning on taking a climbing trip to Utah this year for my senior project but unfortunately that was cancelled due to the pandemic. Academic wise, I have continued to work hard to get straight ‘A’s’.

Link has really developed into an important piece of my life. This past year I felt like I really got close to the community since I spent the whole year at the school. As of now, Link means family to me. It is hard to be far away from my actual family but I always feel like I have my own place in the Link community. I really do miss this community now that we are physically separated but they will always have a special place in my heart. I am really grateful for the skills that the school has given me but I’m especially grateful for the people I have been able to experience Link with. I am really going to miss Link as I start my next journey but I know that the impact that it has had on me will stay with me forever. I appreciate all the sponsors for making this wonderful place happen, it could be done without you guys.

Thank you,

Santiago Doutrich

 


 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Grace Benson and I am finishing up my senior year at Link. This is my fourth year at the school, and I am so incredibly grateful for everything that Link has offered me! I started at Link my freshman year when I was 13. I applied at the end of 7th grade because I wanted a greater academic challenge. I received this, as well as an immense community and support system far beyond anything I could have ever hoped for.

This year at Link has been great. This year in particular, the trips this year have helped the students bond and learn more about and grow more connected to the natural environment. My favorite trip this year was the river trip we went on in October(?).  I was the student leader on this trip, and it allowed me to grow in my ability to lead. On this trip we got to use sea kayaks in preparation for the Baja trip in January and practice teamwork in two-person canoes.

I am eternally grateful for all of the opportunities that Link has offered me over my four years here. Being at Link has allowed me to grow in my leadership capabilities, grow in my relationship with Christian Science and my own spirituality, and most importantly become a member of a strong and loving community.

Grace Benson

 


 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Rian Strange and I am from Louisville, Kentucky. I have spent my entire life in Kentucky except when I went to camp for the first time at age 8. I fell in love with Colorado and the mountains and especially the atmosphere at A/U Ranches. I loved the idea of a school that was in Colorado and had the atmosphere similar to camp. That was when I learned about the Link School. Bobby came over to the ranches to talk to the middle schoolers about Link. I was only ten, but I came and listened anyway.  After Bobby was finished, I walked up to him and told him I was going to come to Link one day. When I went into high school, I didn’t think I could go to Link for financial reasons, but we applied for the school anyway. I ended up getting in and although I was sad to be leaving my hometown, I was more excited for the adventure to come. Link has become a second home for me with a second family, and I could not be more grateful for it.

I have always loved being creative, so I chose to work on many creative projects this year, in and out of the classroom. When we did posters in classes I would spend a lot of time making and designing them. My first creative project outside of the classroom was my book. I began writing it in August and put it together in October. I continued to add onto it until January when I felt it was finally complete. The book cover was designed by me in February and the book became available for purchase that same month. It’s call To All the Lost Ones. My second creative project I started right after I started the book. I began planning to paint a mural of a flower next to the stairs leading up to the out-camp room. After a lot of sketching and planning, I primed the wall and sketched out the design with a pencil. I then painted the petals and am still working on the patterns that are being drawn over the petals. I am very excited to get back to Colorado to finish it. 

Link has taught me so much about life and about how to grow mentally and spiritually. There will always be more to learn, but I feel like a different person compared to the beginning of the year because of how much I’ve grown at this amazing school. I am so grateful I could spend my senior year in a beautiful place with beautiful people who care about me. Link provides an experience like no other. It gave me space to grow and helped me along the way whenever I needed it. I will never have enough words to express how grateful I am for this school year and for the connects I have formed with mentors and friends. There are so many adventures and experiences from Link that I will never forget and they will stay with me forever. The long talks, the trips, the things I’ve learned, will always be a part of me and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done to make all of this possible.

-Rian Strange

 


 

Dear Sponsor, 

Hi, I’m Callyn Saylor, I am from Falls Church Virginia. I attended Link my freshman year then went to public school called George Mason back in Virgina. I decided to go to Link in the middle of the year due to some difficult times at Mason. I wanted to go to a school like Link this year because of the way Link works. Links staff listens and treats teens as people, not just kids they have to teach. I found Links support extremely unique and valuable. I was only at Link for such a short time yet I learned so much. I really appreciate the amazing people and the effort they put in to resolve problems. 

During my time at Link this year there were some conflicts between some of the students, but the amazing environments and support taught us how to resolve and talk through things. I know solutions can be simple and at my age the problems are not that tricky but I really value the time the staff took to work with us to resolve things. I came to Link after a spontaneous pneumothorax and a year and a half of public school where I felt like I had no control over anything. Link helped me not just gain control but also learn how to be okay without control. 

This experience has been extremely helpful and important especially right now during the pandemic where I don’t have any control. I appreciate being at Link because of the safe environment to learn. Whenever I go to Link I find that when I leave I like myself a little more than when I arrived. 

 Thank you for supporting me,

Callyn

 


 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Raiden Petersen. I was a freshman but I ended the year how others don’t with the online classes and not being able to do some of the trips but that kinda has brought is together and it showed us what we had and has brought us closer as a family.

While at Link I have been doing normal school stuff along with an extra math class and I went to the gym at night while at school but when the quarantine happened I started going on hikes while listening to music. I did also start a new project with my mom and help with the garden a lot by moving rocks, getting rocks, and planting plants. 

Link school has helped me so much with getting to talk to new people and working on how I can talk to people I just meet and being able to grow bigger when I have to talk to people I might never talk again. It also means to me that I am able to go to the places we go and it gives me such a good opportunity for kids my age.

Thank you again,

Raiden

 


 

Dear sponsors,

My name is Joseph Burr I was born in Colombia, and adopted in 2011.  I live in Los Angeles now with my family there names are Chandler Burr and Noe Gillvale. And I have 2 brothers.

The things that that I have been doing at Link is climbing and mountain biking and for academics I am doing all the classes but not science because I need to catch up on my math work and other classes and that was a good time more me because it gave me time to understand myself more.

The thing that meant to me is how everyone is a family and respects each other and everyone helps each other.

The thing that I appreciate being at Link is how everyone has fun with each other and we learn different things.

From Joseph 


 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Victoria. I am from Germany and I am really grateful that I am a student at Link. Before coming to Link I was just a normal German student at a normal German school. I was lazy and I rarely did my homework. The city I am from, Dresden, is really beautiful. There is a river called Elbe and there are so many really old buildings. I love to just walk my neighbor’s dogs by the river. I spent so much time with them that I sometimes forget they aren’t mine. I used to hang out with my best friend Paula all the time. And I am looking forward to seeing her soon. Right now, as I am writing this I am still in Louisville, Kentucky. I am staying with Rian’s Family so that I can finish the school year. I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends in June (hopefully).

At Link, I really enjoyed the small groups of students in a class. I think it makes it easier for teachers to support each individual. I have always enjoyed learning about nature and life so I really love Biology. I also enjoyed learning Spanish. This is the third language that I will be able to speak if I keep learning it. I think it is really cool to be able to speak multiple languages. English was hard for me, especially back in the fall. It takes me really long to write essays but it makes me feel good to see my improvement since the beginning of the year. I love all the different outdoor activities. I really enjoy skiing. I got really good at it this winter. I want to get better at climbing and get rid of the fear that stops me sometimes. Mountain biking is really fun. I like to take the risk sometimes and ride over a big stone or choose the harder path. I am really grateful that we got to go on our Baja trip this year. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. 

I love Christian Science. It makes me stronger and I grew so much spiritually this last school year. I set myself a goal to read Science and Health from the beginning to the end this summer. If I had not been at Link this year I think I would have never done most of the things we did. I probably would have never gone climbing or snowshoeing. And I don’t think that I would have ever traveled to Mexico. I know I wouldn’t be who I am now if I hadn’t been to Link. So I am very grateful that I got to do all these amazing things. Living with my friends, having them around all the time was not always easy. But the challenges it brought made me grow. It is still hard for me to tell people when they do something that hurts or bothers me but it got easier. I appreciate everyone’s support. No one ever has to feel alone at Link. We are here for each other. We are a family.

Thank you so much for supporting the school. It is an amazing place for me. Link is my second home. Thank you for supporting James and the school and every one of us. Without you, the school would not exist. 

Thank you! I am incredibly grateful.

Victoria from Germany


 

Thank you, all.