Gratitude – Year 6 – May

Dear Sponsor,

Hello, my name is Suzannah Guthrie. I am a senior at The Link School and this is my second year to be blessed to attend. I am from Wichita, Kansas, but before I came to Link, I was a boarding student at The Principia. When I was there, I was a cross-country runner, as well as a dancer. There was a great deal that I learned, and I grew too, but I soon felt that I was no longer being pushed to be the best that I could be, which is what prompted me to apply to Link in the first place, and what an experience I have had.

In the past year, there is so much that I have valued, the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, the growth I have achieved. A something in particular that I would like to share is the strength and courage I learned to express throughout the field programs we took this year. Every field program we took this year pushed me to be my best and my strongest. A good example is our trip in October, running Desolation Canyon in hard shell and inflatable kayaks. It took all of everything we had to keep moving down river in the rain and wind, and even after I swam a class three rapid, I stayed calm and still able to help the group with the task at hand. Later in the year, I had chances to prove myself over and over again, climbing Independence tower, mountain biking difficult routes in Fruita, Colorado, even leading a trip in which all the students went out on three day solos, despite weather conditions that were not ideal. Those experiences have truly meant the world to me.

Being a Link School student is so much more than just going on field programs, experiencing it and moving on. Being a Link School student changes you as a person. Before I came here, I would describe myself as ungrateful, self-centered, and self-loathing. There is a worldview that this is how all teenagers act, but over the last two years, I’ve learned that that could not be farther from the truth. Link taught me to apply the Sunday school answers that I’ve known my whole life, to know that I am no less than God’s perfect reflection, that the world really is my oyster, and that with enough determination, courage and wisdom, I can follow the path that God has laid out for me and expect only good. The growth and wisdom I have gained over this last year and the year before is priceless, but thanks to you, it was possible for me. Thank you.

Sincerely, Suzannah Guthrie

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Kelemn. Being at The Link School this past semester has been an amazing experience. I had no idea I would grow so much in just one semester. There are so many opportunities here to take advantage of, and I was so excited to find out that I was able to go kayaking, skiing every Friday after school, and most of all that I was able to do pottery. I had taken a pottery class my freshman year, and hadn’t got the opportunity to continue ceramics until this semester when I arrived at Link! David Bailey helped me get back into the swing of things, and I am so grateful that I got to make so many pieces.

I wouldn’t have been able to experience all these great moments here at Link if it wasn’t for your help, and I am so very grateful for that. It means so much to me that I was able to be a part of this wonderful school.

I couldn’t begin to tell you how much I have grown since the beginning of this semester. This amazing environment, surrounded by Christian Scientists, let me explore my spiritual identity and really find out who I am. I really enjoyed spiritual prep every morning, where it allowed the students to start their days with Christian Science and a good idea to bring with you throughout the day. Again I am so grateful that you allowed me to have this amazing opportunity to come to Link. Thank you.

Warmly,  Kelemn

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is George Winter and I’m from Derby, England. I’m a senior and fourth year student here at Link. Being at Link for the whole of high school has completely changed who I am.  I cannot express enough gratitude for the sponsors that make Link possible.

This year has been an extremely busy one for me, both in and out of the classroom. I applied and was offered a place at university, I had a successful year of academics and I learnt and developed many skills on expeditions, including learning how to roll a kayak.

I have seen a lot of change in this year in particular. Not only have I been able to make radical change in the way I work with academics and have them be much more successful, but I’ve been able to see my own potential as a student, which is definitely something I was lacking earlier.

Thanks again for all your support.

Sincerely, George Winter

 

Dear sponsor,

This first year at link has been an absolutely amazing experience throughout this year. I have learned so much about self-confidence and how to handle various situations. For this being my first year at Link, I think that this will definitely leave a huge, positive impact on my life. What I have been working on this year is sushi and how to make it. Being able to make sushi and improve on my cooking skills has really been amazing for me. Once again I would like to thank you for giving this gift of Link.

Sincerely,  Shepherd Momo LeVan

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Rocky Kemper and I am a senior at The Link School in Buena Vista, Colorado. I am one of three students that are from Buena Vista locally. I love to fish, hunt, rock climb, mountain bike, and do many other outdoor activities. I went to the public school in Buena Vista for two years, then I came to Link my junior year because the public school system was not a good fit for me.

There have been many moments that I have truly valued this year. Many of the expeditions have had hilarious moments. There have also been some rough spots that we have had to get through. All of these have been learning experiences that I will use for the rest of my life.

This year at Link, I have also learned an infinite number of different skills. Some of these could include bettering my organization skills, integrity, and work ethic. I was not satisfied with who I was as a person when I first came to Link. I did not have a sense of integrity or work ethic. Throughout these past two years at Link, I have finally become confident with my personal ability in these two qualities.

 

Dear friend,

Thank you so much for your support in my education. My name is Tailor Boucher and I am a graduating senior this year at Link. I’m writing this letter to let you know that you have contributed to the most beautiful gift imaginable: growth and experience that has changed my life.

When I look back on the two years I’ve had at Link, I am amazed at the opportunity that was given to me.  The backcountry expeditions have fuelled my love for adventure and becoming closer to our sweet earth. I am confident in my skills as an outdoors person, and in particular, I feel a closer relationship with nature that I am sure will be a driving factor in my life to come.

One thing that I am very, very happy and grateful about is how my Spanish skills have improved.  Coming into the year, I was a Spanish 1 student, learning numbers and colors. Now, two years later, I have moved through Spanish 3/4 and am planning to pursue a focus in Spanish in university. I know, that if I had tried learning Spanish in any other setting, I wouldn’t have grown nearly as much as I have the past two years. Having the opportunities to travel to Spanish speaking countries and learn in a truly experiential manner has been the largest catalyst for learning the language.

Traveling internationally has been something that I am brought to tears by. I am moved with emotion when I think of how I have learned about the world and myself though experiencing life beyond my home. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have pictured myself scaling a glaciated, Andean peak in Peru, or having Spanish conversations with friends that I had made in Mexico.

Speaking of Mexico, this year I had the opportunity to go on a senior project, which was volunteering in Baja California Sur as an assistant English teacher in a non-profit, afterschool, English program. It was the first time that I had travelled internationally by myself, and I cannot begin to describe just how moving that experience was. I felt a sense of freedom and hope that was unknown to me, and grew immensely as a person, teacher, and traveler.

I came into this school experience as child, but now I have been molded and shaped into wiser child of life. Thank you so very, very much my friend. I say friend, because you have helped bring such incredible good into my life. God bless you, I and I wish you the best that there is. My door is always open to you, and my heart is even more so.

Best of wishes—Tailor Jude Boucher

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hello, my name is Emma Oyer. I am from Buena Vista, Colorado and this is my first year at The Link School as a junior. I came to The Link School to try a different way of learning. I had heard about Link’s project based learning and was interested to experience what Link alumni had told me about.  And my expectations were far exceeded, even in my first week of school.  I was able to understand more then what I had before, and that’s when I knew it would be a good school year.

While here I have been introduced to numerous different activities that I had only dreamed of learning before. Snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, and rafting are some new additions to my sports list and I cannot wait to grow in these activities my senior year. Everyone at Link was so supportive of me when I was first starting to learn how to try these activities.  I was given so many tips from staff and students that after only a couple days I felt like I was a pro. Going into next year I feel confident that I can help the new students understand how to be successful in climbing, biking, etc.

I have valued my experiences at The Link School but one activity Link has truly supported me in was my strengthening of my passion – horseback riding. I have been riding horses for years over at the Adventure Unlimited Ranches, and with coming to Link I had planned on riding horses as much as I could. All year Link gave me the resources I needed to achieve my goal. I was able to ride all year, attend a Polocrosse tournament in Texas, and lastly, buy my own yearling so I could train him my senior year. Link has given me opportunities I did not believe were possible, and because of you I am able to go to this amazing school.  So thank you for your donation.  It has meant the world to me and changed my life forever.

Sincerely,   Emma Oyer

 

Dear Sponsor,

My Name is Sarah DeNicholas. I am from St. Louis, Missouri and am a senior this year at Link. I have been here for two years and could not be more grateful for each experience I’ve been able to have. I am so very grateful for your donation to my education that allowed me to return to Link for my final year of high school.

I have loved each activity I have been able to learn here. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed doing is kayaking. On our first river trip of the year in Desolation Canyon, I was very uncomfortable being in a hard-shell kayak. I had flipped once before and was afraid of it happening again. I continued to work through this challenge metaphysically and eventually became unafraid of larger rapids and at the thought of flipping. I also began to develop a love for kayaking and couldn’t wait to get back on the water each day, and for the rest of the year after that trip. This is one of the many experiences I am deeply grateful to have been able to have.

The Link School has taught me more than I could have possibly imagined, and I can honestly say I would not be the same person if I had not had the opportunity to come here. Each different experience has shown me something new about my relationship with God, and I have made extensive progress with my spiritual growth. I will be forever grateful for my experience at Link, and for your donation that allowed me to come here. Thank you for your support of my incredible education here.

Sincerely, Sarah DeNicholas

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Astrid and I am a junior at The Link School. I am wrapping up my second year and am enjoying every minute of it. Illinois is my home, but I also consider Colorado home because I have been coming to Buena Vista/Colorado since I was young. In my free time I enjoy reading, climbing, and riding horses.

This year I really valued the expeditions we went on. I do not think there was one that did not push me and I did not learn from. All are invaluable to who I am. For example, I helped lead the horse pack trip we went on in the Fall, and through that experience I learned new leadership skills and how to problem solve better.

I have grown a lot this year. It has not been an easy year for me, but I have learned a lot as a result. One of my main struggles this year has been Calculus and finishing it on time and getting a grade that I am happy with. I finished the second semester in less than half the time it took me to complete the first. I learned that through hard work and determination I can accomplish almost anything.

Because of you I am able to grow exponentially each year and become the person I want to be. Thank you!

Astrid List

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Alex Jones and I have been coming to Link for three years now. This is my senior year. I’m from Pueblo Colorado.   I came to Link because public school wasn’t working for me. I was more focused on friends and not academics. When my freshmen year was over, I came to Link, and my grades started to improve. The teachers here have helped me improve my grades each year. I have also been able to ride horses a lot, which is my favorite thing to do on project time opportunities.

Something I have gotten out of this year is being able to train a horse. During the process of the training I learned a lot about myself. I thought that riding involved sitting on a horse and going along for the ride. Since I have been training for the last four mouths I was able to train a horse that had some problems to fix. All the problems have been fixed. Being able to work with my horse has been something that I have valued the most.

What I got out of this project is not being afraid of horses. I love horses and I also have had some bad injuries from riding different horses. This project helped me get over those fears and become more of a confident rider. I also want to be a horse trainer and training this horse has helped my riding skills get better. I have loved my experience here at Link and I will never forget it. Thank you for making in possible for me to come here.

Sincerely,  Alex Jones

 

Dear Sponsor

Howdy, my name is Clara Oyer.   I am a junior at The Link School and this was my first year at Link. I am from Buena Vista, Colorado. I came to The Link School because I discovered that experiential learning is a way to keep me interested in classes. Going out and doing expeditions while learning has taught me to grow as a student and help me discover what I’m capable of academically.

We just recently got off an alpine mountaineering expedition. I was really concerned about this expedition because it was going to be physically demanding. On the fourth day of the trip I was feeling really tired and it was our last day to attempt a peak. We were hiking Mt. Etna, which is a mountain next to the Lost Wonder Hut where we were staying. When we were hiking the mountain, any fear or idea that I was sore or to tired or was unable to hike Etna was gone. The group of students and staff that I hiked up with shared so much joy and love towards the group that everything went very harmoniously. We peaked Etna later that morning. Being able to go and peak a mountain with the amazing group was a marvelous way to end the year.

The Link School and the people here have taught me a lot about how to be a joyous loving person. Everyone giving and sharing that love towards each other has strengthened our compassion towards each other. Trying to peak that mountain wouldn’t have been as easy if we didn’t support everyone there. I’m so grateful for everyone here.  I’m sad the year has to end but I know that next year I will learn something new that will help me to become a stronger individual. Thank you so much for supporting me at being here at The Link School.  The experiences I have had here have meant the world to me.

Sincerely,   Clara Oyer

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Sam Davis I am a junior from St. Louis, MO, and have attended the Link school for the past 2 years.

I have spent these past two years doing many different things that have made me excited and helped my growth.  Some of the things that I have really enjoyed, are our biking trips, the service work time, and our river trips. The biking has really helped with my determination and improved my balance and patience with learning new skills.  With the service work I found a sense of home in working with my hands much like I do at home.  With our river trips I found new ways to find peace and calm in the river.

These past two years I have been working a lot on my integrity and on my outward appearance, making sure I don’t put out a sense of hate or frustration when I am walking around and interacting with others.  While it has been tough to tackle these issues, the community here has helped me a tremendous amount and these issues have gone away and I am more happy and have been able to really address the underlying problems that were there waiting to be healed.

Thank you again,            Sam Davis

 

Dear Sponsor,

As a senior here at Link I’ve been given innumerable opportunities to grow spiritually and as a person.  I am incredibly excited for everything that will come after Link, and feel that this opportunity has set me up for the continuation of success I know will follow.

This year, I’ve had many experiences that have been the laboratory of the growth I’ve seen.  They have come in struggles on expeditions and in daily life at school.  The most poignant of the experiences I’ve had in the outdoors came while kayaking.  As an A/U rafting camper of four years, I thought I had an understanding of the river—to me, everything I heard about the river made sense.  For me, kayaking was incredibly humbling because I thought I was comfortable on the water, yet every one of my kayaking experiences seemed absolutely frustrating.  One of the community principles this year was patience, and after a particularly humbling day on the river I realized that I needed to be patient with myself and let God do the work.  As the year progressed I continued to work on my kayaking skills at every opportunity and found that every time I stepped back to let my boating be an expression of God, I boated well and comfortably.  However, anytime I got back into feeling like it was all up to me, I would have a rough day.  In the end, I felt much more confident about my kayaking ability because I realized that my abilities aren’t my own, they are expressions of God.

As I look to the future, I know that I am heading into a largely unknown world, but the experiences I have had at Link will put me in position to succeed whatever I face.  Next year, I will be going to school at Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia and I can’t wait to bring the lessons I’ve learned into practice in a brand new experience.

Your donation has been essential to my time at Link, and I’m eternally grateful for what you have done for me.

Love, Kevin Wood