Gratitude – Year 6 – Fall 2013

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Kevin Wood.  I’m a senior from Arvada, Colorado.  My favorite things I do at Link are climbing, snowboarding, boating, and mountaineering.  I came to Link because the school I was in was all about going through the motions and getting out of school as fast and efficiently as possible.  I was tired of memorizing facts and spouting them for tests, and I was tired of not valuing my own educational experience.  For me, coming to Link was about finding my own spirituality again, actively engaging in my own education, and finding the good in myself and others.

This semester I have worked a lot on finding the good in myself every day, something that has been a real challenge in my life.  I have also worked to address and be free of numerous physical challenges that I have let be a part of my life for too many years.  I’ve found that in the moments where I know that I have been expressing God’s grace and purity, I have found myself able to move beyond challenges that had seemed impossible to move beyond.  I’ve also found that when I’ve been actively expressing that grace, I have also been able to truly value myself and through that, value the others around me.

In my experience at Link, I have gained a sense of self worth that has completely changed my life.  I feel confident in who I am, and I feel comfortable putting myself out there to try new things and learn new things.  I am also able to truly move beyond the surface and love my peers for their true nature.  Being here has helped me to be increasingly loving and harmonious in my experiences with my peers, something that before had been a real challenge.

I’m grateful every day for the opportunity that I have had in being a student at this incredible school.  I’m grateful for the way that it has allowed me to come into my true self and express Love, in the truest sense.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity.  Your donation makes this possible for me.

Kevin Wood

Dear Sponsor,

Hi, my name is Suzannah Guthrie and I am a senior and this is my second year at The Link School. I come from Wichita, Kansas. I have loved Christian Science my entire life, and attended Christian Science summer camp since I was little which later lead to my decision to attend The Principia and then Link. Also, I have always loved adventure. As a child, I always dreamt of slaying dragons and saving the day from unspeakable evil. Now, my goal in life is to do something truly remarkable and revolutionary, and Link has done so much to help me with that.

So far, this semester, we have done some pretty extraordinary things. We’ve already been on 4 amazing expeditions this year. First, we hiked right out of school and took a 5-day backpacking trip just to get to know each other. We attempted a peak called West Apostle, and though we didn’t make it to the top because of the weather, it was absolutely beautiful. That was also a great chance to learn about glaciers’ effects on the mountains from our science teacher, Preston Larimer. Next we backpacked up to a ski hut to do some service work. That was a really fun trip, because not only did we get to spend a weekend together in a wonderful ski hut in the back county, but we also got to give back a little to the community by splitting wood for the winter and doing some maintenance on the cabin. Our next trip was probably my favorite so far this year. We boated Desolation canyon, self supported, in kayaks and IKs (inflatable kayaks). I learned more from this trip than I had learned from any trip in the past. I learned about teamwork when I captained a double IK, having to direct the person in front of me as to what to do, when they were the only one who could see. I learned about facing my fear when I kayaked a class 3 rapid, when I knew if I rolled over, I could not roll back over again. We learned about helping strangers, when 4 canoe-men became stranded and they needed our assistance when they had nothing to give us in return. Desolation Canyon is an unforgettable place for me. Our most recent trip we went on was a mountain biking climbing extravaganza in and near Fruita, Colorado. There, I learned how mountain biking, a sport I was not particularly fond of, can be ridiculously fun. I also climbed my first multi pitch climb, Independence Tower.

I have also accomplished some other things on my own that I believe are noteworthy here. In November, I did my first overnight solo on the ridge line in preparation for the culmination of my senior project on self reliance, which will be a multi day walking solo in May. Also, after much work on studying of the SAT and on college apps, I received my first college acceptance letter.

Over just the past year, I have learned so much across the board. Not only have I grown academically, but socially and spiritually as well. This last year, I have received more support than I could have ever hoped for, from the staff and students, in my college application process, and my decision to take demanding math and science courses. I have had the opportunity to be a role model for new students coming into the community, learning to really know what it means to help others and do what is right. Also, I have had more opportunities to grow spiritually than I have ever had before, whether it be through praying through physical challenges and limits, or learning more about my spiritual identity daily, I know each day holds new occasions for spiritual growth. As far as what I have brought to the community, I have shared my passion for life and desire to always do good and to “be excellent to each other.” Also, I have been able to share what I learned from last year and be a leader in the community as a returning student.

Thank you so much for all that you have given to this community. It is truly been a beautiful experience for me that would not have been possible without your generosity.

Suzannah Guthrie

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is George, just after my 14th birthday, I said goodbye to my family in England and basically everything I’ve ever known and set off for a new life in the States. My life at that point was just a slippery slope leading to disaster.  I was making all the wrong decisions with all the wrong people; school was a chore, and I hated every second of it. I needed radical change and Link seemed like my best option, but I didn’t really realize how big of a change it would have on me. I have been here for the last 4 years, and it has completely shaped who I am and what kind of person I want to be in life.

Although Link has completely changed who I am, the academic side of things has always been a challenge.  This semester I have come to see that this was just an illusion, hiding my true self. My GPA has risen from being in the low 2’s to a 3.2, this has been a key moment in my life and has reminded me never to give up on myself. I also got the opportunity to work on my kayak roll, which I succeeded on multiple times, this took me 4 years to achieve and has made me incredibly happy.

I have really been working on the community principle of patience; patience has always been a challenge for me and it is incredibly important to this community. I wouldn’t have even thought of applying this to my life if it wasn’t for Link. Thank you so much for all your financial help over the past years. You have honestly changed my life and so many others and I can’t even begin to express my gratitude.

Thanks, George

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Sam Davis; this is my second year here at this wonderfully life changing school. I am a junior in high school, but considering that this is my last year at Link I am dedicating myself to giving back to the school just as much as they have given me, both in opportunities for personal growth and in the life lessons I have learned here.

I love to mount bike and push my self to my physical limits. This semester I have honed in my mountain biking skills, and have enjoyed every one of our trips so far. I have also been developing my meditative skills to try and calm my mind enough to truly listen to what God wants to tell me and not just fall into the habit of always asking.  I have been working very hard on trying to bring my grades up from some disappointing GPA’s earlier in high school up to a position that will help put me in a good place when applying for college.

This year I have been gaining more and more insights on both spiritual topics, and also life skills. I have not focused so much this year on trying to gain from the school, but I have been more focused on giving back. Some of the ways I have been giving back this year are doing chores that don’t normally get done without anyone noticing that way it is not in a way that draws attention to myself, and also I have been giving of myself on our trips so that others can be fully energized and happy even on the more strenuous days.

I thank you very much for helping my come back to this beautiful school.

-Sam Davis

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Rocky and I am a second year student at the Link School this year. Some of my main passions in life include fishing, hunting, and mountain biking. Interestingly enough, two of these three passions were activities that Link staff introduced me to and got me involved in. I am a very hands-on type of learner and the public school in Buena Vista didn’t suit my needs; then Link became a possibility.

I have worked on the idea of integrity this semester at Link. Last year I did not come into Link with a satisfactory understanding of integrity; I lied to get through most things and didn’t admit to things I had lied about. Throughout this semester, my understanding of integrity has increased at an exponential rate. I don’t lie anymore, and even if I do, I catch myself before any harm can be done.

I have also worked to take my academics in school more seriously. I am proud to state that I have been accepted to two colleges already; Montana State University in Bozeman and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I have focused more on the little things that can determine the outcome of my grade such as homework and participation. These two years at Link have shown me who I am and who I could become.

Throughout these two years at Link I have learned more about whom I truly am than I did from elementary school through my sophomore year in high school. I have grown drastically as a person from whom I was last year and will continue to grow. I have learned that service is not something that has to get done, but and activity that everyone can enjoy, knowing that they are helping someone else in need.

I also want to express my gratitude for your donation on my behalf. I could not have had this truly humbling experience at Link if it weren’t for donors like you. I hope that you will consider donating for another student in the future.

Thank you,

Rocky Kemper

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Alex Jones and I’m senior here in my third year. I love horses, doing homework, I’m an animal lover, and I love learning new things. I came to Link because I was having trouble in public school. When I came to Link that is when I decided to become a better person.

There are a lot of things that I have been working on this semester, like new ways of doing schoolwork and new ways for studying for the up coming SAT test.  Doing more homework, and learning how to be more comfortable when giving presentations is also something I have been developing.   I’m also working on developing a senior project that is something that I want to do later in life.

What I have gained from coming to Link is how to be more my true self. I’m honest now with others with the expression of who I am and true to myself as well. Gaining a sense of the true me was one of the best things that have ever happened in my life.  Also, I have gained more of a spiritual sense of life through being a Christian Scientist. Something that I’m giving to others in the community is a sense of joy and being a friend to everyone in the community.   Link has helped me in so many ways and I will be forever grateful for the school.

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Astrid and I am 17 years old. This is my second year at the Link School and I am loving it. I like to ride horses and rock climb in my spare time. My love for rock climbing started when I came to The Link School last year.

The year started out with a trip to the West Apostle area, which was a great way to start off the year. We learned about different navigation techniques and some mountain ecology. Our next trip was a weekend trip with the option of a horse pack trip or doing service work up at The Lost Wonder Hut. I student-led the horse pack trip. It was a fun experience and we had amazing views the entire weekend. After that trip we went to Desolation Canyon in Utah where we kayaked for 6 days. This trip really pushed me, and my comfort zone to grow.  The final major trip of this semester was biking and climbing in Fruita, Colorado. On this trip I got the opportunity to climb Independence Tower, a multi-pitch climbing tower. This also pushed me to grow and challenged me to be more tenacious in my climbing.

The Link School has given a lot to me. As a result of coming to Link, I have become a more confident and independent young woman. The Link School has given me so many experiences to grow and push myself. I have learned to be a leader, but also a good follower, one who contributes, instead of blindly following the leader. I am working on being a contributing citizen of this community through my actions and words. I am grateful for Link and all that it has given me. Thank you, for helping to make my experience at The Link School possible.

 

Dear Sponsor,

Thank you so much for helping me go to Link.  My name is Gavin Frager – also Eggy Greggy, Greg, Gregnog, Acorn, The Graken, Gregorovich, and numerous other nicknames I’ve picked up here. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. I really enjoy mountain biking and wrestling, and think reading is the best. I spend a lot of time with my friends messing around and doing awesome stuff.

This semester I have been working on focusing on the work at hand, not what I will be doing when I’m done, as well as putting a higher quality of thought into my academic work. The main projects I have been working on outside of school are building my own mountain bike, and I am in the process of making a downhill mountain biking course.

Link has given me the opportunity to grow, and has forced me to push myself rather than fade out into the background and squeeze by. All the opportunities to learn new things that I have never done before have really helped me put myself out there into the community more and feel more comfortable around people and trying new things.

Thanks so much,  Gavin Frager

 

Dear Sponsor,

I would like to give my sincere gratitude for your generous donation to my education. My name is Sarah, I’m a senior this year and have been enjoying every minute of it.   When I was a junior I came to Link, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. This is my second year at Link and I’m so happy to be here this year and to be able to graduate from such a wonderful, loving place.

This semester, I have worked hard on academics and have greatly enjoyed all of the field programs we’ve gone on so far. My favorite field program was the Fruita mountain biking trip in Colorado. When I first came to Link last year, and even at the beginning of this year, I couldn’t stand mountain biking. It is one of the things I’ve really learned to love through school because of all the support I’ve gotten from everyone. Although I went into the trip with a negative attitude, I learned to really love what I was doing and the atmosphere was so positive that it was impossible not to have a good time.

In my Link experience, I have truly gained more than I could have ever asked to receive. The support and patience from all the staff in every activity is outstanding, and I couldn’t imagine better friendships than the ones I’ve made here. Being here, I’ve gained a sense of confidence in myself to be able to meet and overcome all kinds of difficult challenges through Christian Science. My spirituality has progressed beyond anything I could have ever imagined because of all that The Link School has taught me, and I am eternally grateful to have the opportunity to be here because of you. I cannot thank you enough for your allowing me this incredible opportunity.

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Tailor Boucher. I’m a senior this year at The Link School. I love it here at Link – everything is simply phenomenal. I cannot express the awe that I have when I awake each morning to majestic mountains encompassing the school like a warm embrace. I love running, rock climbing, biking, kayaking, which are among the many things that Link offers. I love having a community that I really know, and although we sometimes bicker, they are my second family and I love being with them.

This semester has had me constantly on the track of growth, both as a leader and a student. As a senior, I have been working hard to express leadership, whether on expeditions or just helping another meal crew without being asked. Earlier in my high school career, I have had the tendency to be a class clown, but this year I made it my goal to not only keep myself constantly focused, but to also help my friends stay on track.

Everyday has a lesson of value and importance, and I hadn’t seen that until I came to The Link School. I used to be extremely sour when spoken to about what I’m doing wrong or what I can do better, but I’ve learned that it’s usually people who are trying to help, and even if I don’t agree completely, the intent is good. It sounds like a pretty simple concept, but it took a year of being sour until I learned to recognize that. This school has given me so much, if I put everything into a list, you would be sitting there for hours. Thank you so much for your generous help, the amount of growth I’ve experienced, and will continue to experience, is irreplaceable.

 

Dear Sponsor,

I am Clara Oyer, a junior at The Link School, and this is my first year here. I am so happy to be at Link this year because of the amazing opportunities it is providing for me, such as riding horses. I have been riding horses for most of my life out in B.V. over the summers, but never previously during the school year.

For this past semester I have been working a lot on training young horses. Most every Tuesday and Thursday I have been working with a 4 year old horse named Milly. I also discovered a new love for duckying (a form of rafting and kayaking), mountain biking, and hiking.  I was able to learn about these activities from our expeditions this semester. I appreciate the way Link has helped me to grow and learn to enjoy these activities when I thought I would have no interest in them at all.

During my first semester at Link I have learned a lot about having an open mind. I was able to figure that out in my thought during our mountain biking trip. I have been mountain biking before but I didn’t have the best experience while doing it. The Link School and its staff taught me a lot on how to learn to love what I am able to do. During our mountain biking trip I found that as long as I keep an open mind I am able to achieve and learn how to make the experience good. At Link I am giving my constant joy.  Making sure that everyone is happy and is having a good time makes the experience we are having together amazing. I’m grateful for everything Link has done for me, whether it is helping me to realize more of my potential or feeling comfortable enough to be my true self.     Clara Oyer

 

Dear Sponsor,

I am Shepherd LeVan and I am the only freshmen at Link. I love cooking and hanging out with my friends and family. Another thing about me is that I live in Carbondale, Colorado and live on a ranch there with my family when I am not here at school.

I thank you very much for donating to me to be able to go to Link.  The experience is absolute fantastic.  The teachers and students are incredibly friendly and welcoming. The atmosphere of this school is very strong and calming, and not only that, but the activities that I am participating in are just so amazing and fun to engage in.   One other thing is that every one here is just so helpful and supportive.

Some things I have been working on this semester are fitness, cooking, Spanish, and English. At Link I have also worked on building a parking garage for the vehicles and building a shelter for four wheelers. Some other projects include constructing jumps for a bike track, woodwork, gardening, and tool safety. Other projects that I have worked one are Peru maps, masks, Peruvian textiles, and Spanish holidays. Another thing that I have been working on is sword art or sword-making (which I find rather fun), which includes making a functional blade and testing it to see its durability, a sword mantel, and sword blue prints.

Some things that I have been gaining from Link are the sense of hard work and determination, loving those around me, seeking spiritually, finding a path and sticking to it, and loyalty. Now some things I’m giving back to Link are love and compassion, working hard for the community, being part of the community, and leaving something for others to remember me by.

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hello, my name is Emma Oyer and I’m from St. Louis Missouri. This is my first year at The Link School. Before attending Link I played many sports, however, my favorite sport was soccer. I loved soccer but my true passion is riding horses. I rode horses at Adventure Unlimited and grew a strong passion for horses, especially playing polocrosse. Polocrosse is a mixture of lacrosse and polo, or the best sport ever. I felt like my true self when riding horses however, in St. Louis riding horses is unreasonable since boarding or training was way over my budget. I did not get to ride horses consistently until I came to Link and was able to ride. Link has given me the opportunity to do something I was not able to do during the school year.

As well as riding, this semester I have learned many new activities. For example, I have learned to mountain bike, snowshoe, rock climb, ducky, and am in the process of learning how to snowboard. I came to The Link School knowing that there is no way I would enjoy mountain biking. I dreaded knowing that we would have to mountain bike. Nevertheless, after our bike trip in Fruita, I gained a better understanding of mountain biking and actually really enjoyed it.

In addition, being at Link has really helped me gain a new quality. That quality is one of our community principles, which is Elevate. Everyone here is playful at the right time but when the situation requires a shift to calm, everyone elevates themselves.  Seeing this I have grown in a knowledge of Elevation and have applied it to other aspects of my life. Link’s community principles are clearly expressed when I see everyone, which results in a great community that I am so grateful I am a part of.

Sincerely,  Emma Oyer