Gratitude – Year 10 – Christmas

Gratitude Letters December 2017


Dear Sponsor,

Growing up here in Buena Vista, I have been going to public school all my life, but attending public school has never been a smooth journey for me. I was never able to IMG_3940fully be myself and push myself in a public school. Being able to come to Link, I have grown – physically yes, but I have also grown mentally, spiritually and academically as well. It has meant so much to me that you have made it possible for me to come here. I am now proud to call Link my home as well. Attending here for my second year has opened so many doors for me. I have been able to get closer to everyone here as well. They have all helped me push myself to the best that I can possibly be and definitely even further than that as well. All of the staff members working here at Link have supported me through everything and I have not been able to thank them enough. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have met all of the people that have been here for me since my first year at Link. I will never be able to thank you enough either. I cannot express my gratitude sufficiently.

The first semester of my second year at Link, there have been some rough times. We have all managed to work together as a school family to get through it though. Like I said, everyone here is very supportive and we support one another no matter what may be happening. The Link School community is truly a blessing. I have always prayed for this type of environment to be able to grow and now that I have it, I know this is where I belong.  I have been able to take Christian Science into my everyday routine and to use it whenever I need it. The people here have shared many things that have helped me. I don’t think these things will ever escape my mind either. They have all been very valuable in my life and I feel comfortable enough to be able to help other people as well.

For my academics, I have been learning more and more every year. Here at Link all of the teachers are wanting to help every student be the best they can in school. Which is also something that wasn’t very easy to accomplish at a public school. Last year at Link, I did better than I ever thought I would in school and was able to see what I was capable of. This year, it isn’t even over yet, I have been able to take what I learned last year and expand my knowledge even more. I have never thought that I would be doing this well in academics. It has also been unbelievable to take what I have learned in my classes and use that out in the field. With every trip the school goes on, we are able to bring what we learned in class and use that out in the real world. Our last couple of trips, we have been working on Science and English. Being able to use the different types of writing methods and reading short stories outside of the classroom is a feeling that I will always enjoy. It gives me a chance to write with a free spirit, while in class.

Altogether, I am beyond grateful for all of the things you have done for me in order for me to go to this school. I have grown as a person and been able to push myself.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Link and your help.

Beka Petersen


Dear Donor,

IMG_0289Thank you so much for helping me go to The Link School this year. I am a Junior and I live in St. Louis, Missouri. I have been able to use my skills that I learned in scouts which has helped me this year on the expeditions and during school. The community here is close and we have had good learning experiences this year. I love going to school here because there is so much that we can do! Some of the things that I like to do here is service time because I like giving back to school in projects around the property, project time because I get to work on my Supernova in scouts, doing classes on trips because each trip you are in a different environment and learning Science and English in the field is fun as well, and hanging out with everyone and doing fun activities with them.

In school this year I have learned a lot in English. I have become a better writer, continued learning correct grammar, and getting better at writing papers. Before I got here this year I didn’t really like Spanish and when I first started this semester I was like “I am not going to do well” but I have started to like Spanish and I am doing pretty well. History is different for me this year because my Freshman and Sophomore years I went to public school and had gotten a new history teacher each semester. Here, we have history two nights a week and we make our own text book which I think is really cool and not everyone is able to do this so it is nice that we are able to make our own textbook.

One of the things that I liked this semester is learning how to snow board. It has been fun to learn how to snow board and I am still working on being stable going down the slope. I am excited for the rest of the ski days because I will get to practice more and next year maybe teach someone how to snowboard

Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity for me to go to school here.


Eric Trevor-Roberts


Dear Sponsor

IMG_0270Hi, I’m Kelvin, I’m 17.5 years old. I am a Junior this year at school. This is my third year at Link. I really like outdoor activities, like mountain biking, and whitewater kayaking. The outdoor activities are the main reason I came to school, but I’m growing to love the academic community more.

This semester at school has been a blast. I love my math teacher.  She is always so helpful and supports me when I need help. My science class is probably my favorite class here. I like learning about the physical world and how many connections everything has to everything else. I’ve made so many friends here at school, I’m almost always happy here. My favorite outdoor activities here at school are mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, and snowboarding. Mountain biking is what I can do the most here at Link and while being here at Link my mountain biking skills have improved a ton. I can now bike our mountain bike trail called Cupcake in under 24 minutes. I can bomb the jumps, rocks, and downhill courses.

Kayaking is another school activity I love doing. My experience in kayaking at home is on flat-ish water in Lake Michigan. I like to challenge myself in kayaking, getting good at learning to roll back up, taking on bigger whitewater, practicing maneuvering in tight spaces, and most of all have fun. And snowboarding… it’s just fun. I like practicing to push my comfort zone out more, going faster, sliding across flatter and more level terrain, and again having fun.

The most meaningful things that have happened to me here at Link are; growing academically, spiritually, and physically. The staff here at school are amazing. The staff have pushed me in so many ways here and they work to help us grow in ways that I would have never thought of. Thank you for making this possible.

Love Kelvin


Dear Sponsor

IMG_0298My name is Benji. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am to be to here for my second year.  The first year was great and the second year was even better. I am eighteen years old I am from Rhode Island. I love to fish and have been fishing since I was six years old. I was an A/U camper for six years and had friends when I was up at Round-Up Ranch at A/U tell me about how great The Link School was for them. I’m beginning to think they weren’t wrong. I love it here.  It is heaven on earth.

The thing that I love that makes The Link School so life changing for me is that you become so close to the people around you. I never had that in public school. Another thing that I love is that you become so close to the teachers.  They want nothing but for me to succeed, and that is something special. That is the best thing anyone could ever give me.

Love, Benji


Dear Sponsor,

IMG_0322Hi! My name is Lia Senser. This is my first year at The Link School and I am a Senior. I’m from a small town in Nebraska where I have lived my whole life. I heard about Link while I was working at the Adventure Unlimited Ranches (A/U) as a CIT for the Round-Up corral program. I have been going to A/U for ten years now and I am just in love with the mountains and this valley. I had never really thought that going to The Link School would be a possibility for myself but I told my parents about it anyways. Luckily, my parents took the idea seriously and started looking into it. Before I knew it, I had applied for the fall semester and was accepted. It was an intimidating to make the final decision to attend. I struggled with the thought of leaving home my senior year, but I talked to a practitioner and some staff at the school and I knew that it would be the right thing for me.

And I am so glad I came! Every day is a new challenge for me. This school pushes me in thought and action to be the best possible version of myself. To someone on the outside, what we do here might seem like too much, but to me anything seems possible when I know that I have the amazing Link School staff here to support me. Every day I am inspired to do more and be better.

Since I’ve come here I’ve felt more trusting in God and based on that, more confident in my abilities. I get to do activities that actually interest me like rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding. I tried just about every activity back home that my old school offered but I never felt passionate about any of it. I also love my classes here, especially Spanish and English. I am in Spanish III and it’s my favorite class. I would like to study Spanish in college and this school has given me the greatest Spanish program. I have learned more this semester than in my last two years of Spanish combined. It’s also so exciting that I will be able to live in Peru for three weeks to practice my Spanish-speaking skills with native speakers.

I had no real interest when I went to school back in Nebraska. I was very uninspired for life. This school has really changed me. I am interested in everything and want to learn about everything! The Link school has undoubtedly impacted the course of my life, and none of this would have been possible without your support. If it weren’t for your help I would have never been able to even consider this school. Thank you.

With love,

Lia Senser


Dear Sponsor,

IMG_7681My name is Rachel Skutt, I am a freshman this year so this is my first year at Link. When I was first coming here I was skeptical about whether I would fit in and whether or not I would enjoy being here, since I have only gone to another school my whole life I wasn’t confident about the change. This semester I have grown not only in who I am as a person but also spiritually. I have learned more about what type of things I value and I’ve learned to accept who I am so I can grow more into the type of person that I strive to become. I have grown more spiritually because prior to me coming to Link I was questioning whether or not God was real because I didn’t feel a sense of love and I felt as if I was facing all of my challenges by myself. Even though I have grown up in a Christian Science home I never took into consideration how important spiritual growth can be.

I am so grateful that I have been able to experience this semester and bond with so many people that if I met in any other circumstance I wouldn’t know them as much as I do here. This community has not only shown me how to be more confident in who I am but also to be more confident in everything that I do. I have struggled with a belief of being terrified of heights for as long as I can remember, I’ve just always been afraid of being up high and I limited myself to what I could do because of this fear. Throughout the semester the group went rock climbing and I never raised my hand to go until one time when it was an option again and a thought popped into my head to raise my hand and give it a shot. When I got to the place I was terrified but I gave it my all and I almost reached the top of the cliff. This is only one experience out of numerous other ones.

I have struggled with my academics more so than any other year I have been going to school because I have always thought that I wanted to go to an Ivy League college. I was pressured to think that an Ivy League college was something that I wanted because my mother always said that if I went to an Ivy League college than all of my dreams would come true. I have been hiding the fact that I want to go to the University of San Diego for years and in addition to hiding it from my mother I needed to hide it from myself so that’s exactly what I did.

During the last few months of the semester I tried to pick up my grades but I didn’t accomplish picking up my grades as much as I wanted to. Even though I didn’t try my hardest I focused more and I got better grades in my science class than ever before. I cannot say thank you enough for giving so each one of these amazing individuals, that I get to socialize with on a daily basis and that I have seen grow so much, can come here and be a part of this incredible life changing experience. I have learned so much of who I am and I have learned so much about all these other incredible people that I will never forget this moment in my life. Again, thank you so much for being willing to give so everyone in this community can have an opportunity to learn who they are in this world and what they are meant to become.

Sincerely, Rachel Skutt.


Dear Sponsor,

IMG_0275My name is Rina and I’m from Monrovia, California. I’m a Senior this year and I’ve greatly enjoyed a very different last year of high school. I usually am rather introverted and prefer the company of books and the internet for entertainment over people, but I’ve been forced out of my shell while at Link, which has been a really good growing experience for me. I was at first rather hesitant in coming to Link because I knew it would demand a lot of physical outdoor activity. I’ve never been particularly athletic nor have I enjoyed the few times I’ve gone camping before, so I was very nervous about the trips. But after the first few trips, I feel that I’ve improved a lot in my physical capabilities, even in activities I had never tried before such as mountain biking. What I love the most about being here at Link is how much time I’m able to set aside for spiritual study. The previous year I was able to set aside little to no time aside for Christian Science other than attending Sunday School, so I very much enjoy daily lesson study and discussion in the mornings. I also am grateful for how Link holds students accountable. It has allowed me to grow independently and become more responsible for my actions or lack of action, and become much more aware of others. Thank you for helping support others and myself. I’m certain that everyone is extremely grateful to be here and have all these experiences to learn from.

Thank you again,

Rina Naylor


Dear Sponsor,

IMG_3973My name is India and I have been attending The Link School for three years. This is my final year here and so far it has been amazing! I am originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I live with my mom, Amy and our dog and cat.  I love history, all books, listening to music, playing guitar, painting, and rock climbing.

There have been a couple of events this semester, that have taught me to me value several things: community, spirituality, friends, and my civil rights class. It has been a strongly spiritual semester. I have grown in Christian Science and as a person. You may know that line from the Bible, “Hold fast that which is good”? Bobby showed me this at the end of last year. It is one of the most important lessons I have learned here. When you hold fast that which is good, everything in your life starts to be only good.

James Orlet is teaching a Civil Rights elective every Monday night and it is my most favorite class in the history of school. We covered the history of Civil Rights in America from 1880 to 1980. This is seriously the most fascinating subject ever! For our final James asked us a single question “Identify the value of equality, and explain how it benefits or would benefit society”. That’s some serious thinking. I loved this class because it made me think outside of what history has told me. Not everything was black and white. In fact, nothing was black and white, it was mostly a grey area. Link has taught me so much, but it has especially taught me how to be an independent thinker and person.

Thank you,  India


Dear sponsor,

IMG_7695Thank you for your contribution. My name is Callyn Saylor. I have learned so much being at The Link School.  Other than just academics I have learned how to be a good friend and helper. This community is so helpful in supporting you with things you need to work on; they don’t just help you with academics, they help you with physical work too.  I have learned how to build a fence and ride a mountain bike, white water raft and kayak and so much more. It is so much fun to do all those things and learn how to be a part of a team.

I also would like to mention how I have grown spiritually. I always thought that people said to just” love more”, and they just were saying the words.  But I have learned that people mean it and it does work (I have had practice). I thought before I came here, that if you just ignored the problem that it would go away.  In some cases that is true, but it never really fixes the problem. I found out here that if you work out the problem and put effort into that, the problem will be resolved. All this learning would not be possible without you thank you so much.




Dear Sponsor,

IMG_2530My name is Bryce Marmolijo I am 16 and have been going to Link for 2 years now. The activities that I enjoy most here at Link are mountain biking, hiking, and snowboarding. I am from southern California where all of the blazing fires happen to be breaking out. I am a very quiet and reserved person even though if you meet me in person I would not look like someone who would have that personality. While I am quite shy at first, I like to learn about people and what kind of things they have done, because we all have stories and they are all different.

A few things have come up this year, some uncontrollable, and one was completely my mistake. The first thing that happened was my fault and resulted in me having to go home for a while.  Coming back to Link after that incident, I thought everyone would see me for the one mistake I made, but it wasn’t that at all.  It was everybody just loving and caring about me. It was a great reminder of what the Link community is all about. Then there are some other issues going on back at home, and the exact same thing happened:  everyone is caring and just praying for the best, which I think really exemplifies a key part of our community.

Our international trip that is coming up soon in January is something I was super excited to go to because when my sister went to Link when the main lodge wasn’t even built yet.  She told me that the international trip was one of her most favorite things about going to Link. After jeopardizing my chance to go there, it really made me think again, made me take a step back for a while and just took that time to be eternally grateful for being given the chance to grow, see, experience, and live as much as I have.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to grow once again.

Bryce Marmolijo


Dear Sponsor,

IMG_0337My name is Mathias Fanta. I am 16 and in my Junior year of high school. I love The Link School community. This is my third year here and I cannot thank you enough for what you do. The programs and support that the staff offer have done so much for me.

The Christian Science approach to school is a wonderful part of the curriculum. Throughout the years I have strived to improve myself in many ways, athletics, academics, as well as self. I have grown spiritually so much the past few years. I had a bit of a regression in my ability to resist temptation, but being at Link has allowed me to work on that issue, and resolve it without being resented.

Being at The Link School has allowed me to pursue climbing, mountain biking, and white water kayaking in a very serious way. I have the chance this next year to race varsity for mountain biking, and without being here, that would simply not be possible.

This year the academics here have been captivating to say the least. We have been learning things that are pertinent today. For example: in history class we have been studying American history. We have also been looking at current events. Bill (our history teacher) has been able to show us the parallels between history and how we repeat it daily in the news.

I have also enjoyed English as we explore writing essays and taking on topics that challenge us to think beyond our normal realm of thought. I have especially enjoyed writing poetry and short stories.

The academic portion during our expeditions have captivated me as well. So far in English the topics we explore have been very open ended. I have been able to express myself and my interests in a way that I haven’t had the chance to before.

The Link School has been a huge part of my life in the past two and a half years. 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.

With love and gratitude,

Mathias Fanta


Dear Sponsor,grace splitter

My name is Grace Benson and I am a sophomore at The Link School. I am 14 years old and am from Colorado. This semester I have really enjoyed how supportive The Link School community is. Even though there has been a lot of drama everyone has been supportive of each other throughout. The academics have gone well. All of the teachers are very supportive of all of the students and kept a positive attitude up at school.


Grace Benson