Gratitude – Year 7 – Christmas

These are selections from student gratitude letters at the end of Year 7.

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Ruth Coolidge and I had the privilege of being a sophomore at Link this year. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. I love writing, horseback riding (which I don’t get to do a lot of in St. Louis), and singing. I came to Link because I wanted to try something really new. I’d grown up going to the same school every year and I found myself bored with a traditional classroom and wanting to challenge myself in a lot of different ways. I wanted to go to Link so I could learn to be fearless and adventurous and develop non-academic skills while still getting a unique and meaningful education. I couldn’t be more happy with my decision to spend a year here!

This year I’ve learned how to mountain bike, climb, ski, cook, interact harmoniously with nature and other people, work on the potter’s wheel, communicate in Spanish, use loads of new horseback riding skills, and so many other things I can’t possibly name them all. Link has taught me so many life skills that I’ll always use, but more importantly, how to develop new skills, be curious, try new things, and be patient with myself as I’m learning, all of which I will carry with me for the rest of my life even when I’m not a student at Link. I’ve become a radically different person, one who’s ready to face the challenges ahead with confidence.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to come to Link this year. Being a student here has changed me and my outlook on life. I will always treasure every moment I’ve spent here and draw from my Link experiences when I face future challenges. This year has been about so much more than school—it’s been about learning who I am and who I can become and how to be the person I want to be. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving me the chance to spend this year at Link. It’s been the most meaningful year of my life.

Sincerely,

Ruth Coolidge

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hi, my name is Beatrice Davis and I am 16 years old. I originally lived in St. Louis. I am adopted from Bucharest Romania. I love to do lots of different things – cook, play games, watch movies with others, run, and lots more. Some qualities that I express are patience, kindness, joy, active, creativity, compassion, and ready to learn and advance. I can be shy quite a bit, but once I know you really well then I am able to be myself without a problem. Another thing I try to express is freedom.

I did a lot of fun things this year. I really loved going to Guatemala and doing lots of different exciting things there. Some things I enjoyed were getting to hike up the volcano and getting to see Lake Atitlan at the very top. When we all split up into three different groups I was in the orphanage group. I had a blast watching and playing with the kids. It was also fun getting to pick coffee beans. Every morning we would walk from the hotel to the orphanage and watch the sunrise, hear the birds chirping and just enjoying the morning. I would love to go back there some time. Another thing I loved doing in Guatemala was getting to make chocolate. We got to learn how to make it, and we also made drinks some were tasty and others were bitter. I had a lot of fun in Guatemala and would love to go back sometime! In February we all hiked up to the Lost Wonder Hut for the avalanche training.

Being here at the Link School meant a lot to me. I appreciate all of the teachers and how much work they put in their day and night to help take care of us and make sure that we get everything we need spiritually and physically. I also appreciate the teachers extra help with my academics it has really helped and gotten my grades a lot higher than last year. I mostly appreciate you all for sending donations and helping with the payment. Another thing that filled my heart and meant a lot to me were the other students that are also here, they made me laugh whenever I was down or feeling angry. I am really glad that I got to make life long friends that I will never forget about.

Thank you so much for everything!!

Sincerely,

Beatrice Davis

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Gavin Frager and I am a junior at The Link School, returning as a senior next year. Of all the activities we do here my favorite is mountain biking, but I also really enjoy rafting, kayaking, duckying, etc…

This school year I have been very focused on getting in to a “responsible mindset” and not letting my less focused/mature/responsible side get in the way of what I need to do. I am extremely far from perfect, but Link’s extremely forgiving environment has been very helpful in this process.

Being able to come to Link this year means a lot to me. I feel like I fit in and that I am respected here. Thank you so much for helping me in this experience, and I look forward to writing another one of these next year.

Sincerely,

Gavin Frager

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Sam Davis, I am a third year student this year. I have continually returned to Link, because it is such a good place for growth and self improvement. Over the years the staff members have been continuously working with me to improve in many categories, specifically; integrity, respect for others, self awareness (finding my own view of myself), and forming a stronger relationship with the Divine.

On the note of improvements made, the continual help and support, and of course accountability from the staff end of things has made being at link the single most meaningful experience yet. Every staff member is here to help the students progress and meet their goals both in and outside of the classroom, and that is something everyone truly needs. A few other experiences up at school that have been meaningful to me have definitely been finally breaking the 3.0 barrier with my GPA. I have been trying to get a higher GPA since middle school, but could never even get close to that elusive three, but this year everything fell into place and I finally met that goal. That credit for that massive achievement is due not only to the staff or myself, but it is due to you, the sponsor, who graciously gave and helped me as well as many others meet our goals. You gave us an opportunity to be in an environment were meeting goals and breaking barriers is a norm, and where every single person here is helping each other through any challenge that comes up and life long bonds are formed.

Thank you so much for all you do.

Sam Davis

 

Dear Sponsor

Hello I’m Eli Abbott and I am 17 years old From Worcester MA and this is my first year at the Link School. I’m at Link is because I have seen myself grow in the ways that I have not done some things before and I have also accomplish new things that I have not tried like skiing. I love being here at the link school It has been such a blessing being able to come here. Also I can’t wait to start my Junior year here next year.

This year I have experienced so much that it has changed the way that I look at the world. On every field program I have grown in being able to complete any challenges that has happened to work around them and fix any problem that is happening. I have experienced some relationship problems and communication problems though which I have learned different way’s to do thing in differently. I love the school so much and I wish you could support me in future.

Things that have been meaningful to me are the things that I have done which at first I didn’t want to do. One thing the I have overcome is not wanting to ski because it scared me. But then I said that I would give it a chance, so I did and now I love skiing. Academically I have been have trouble with keeping up with the class and  doing well in those classes, so I talked about it with a practitioner  and she gave me some thoughts to pray with. With my academics I have improved so much that I have a couple of A’s which is way better then where I started this year.

Sincerely,

Eli Abbott

Thank you for all the support!

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hello my name is Zac Green; I am from Douglasville Georgia. I am a junior and this is my first year at The Link School. This year I have learned so much from being here. This year I have really worked on my academics and bringing up my grades. I have also worked on learning about the backcountry and experiencing the outdoors. This year on field programs we have seen some great views and things that made us think about how small we are, like in Moab, Utah there was an alcove some of us went into and there was a small forest in it. This year has been so meaningful to me, by people helping with my academics and helping me grow as a student, and a person.

Sincerely,

Zac

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Astrid. My time at Link is quickly coming to an end. I am one of the four students graduating this spring, and am sad that my time at Link is almost over. I live in Illinois, but consider Colorado a second home. I am attending University of Denver in the fall. I am excited, but also nervous about starting at a new school, in a new city. But I think that my experiences at Link have prepared me for college.

This year at Link I have been trying to glean all that I can. In January, we went to Guatemala where I was the student trip leader. It was a bit difficult at times to know when to be a student or a leader, but I found my way. I really enjoyed the experience because it gave me a sense of purpose while in country. My favorite trip that we took this spring was our trip to Canyonlands, Utah where we explored some canyons and waded in a river. It was a very harmonious trip, even though we had some unexpected adventures. Also this spring I have been building a Tiny House for my senior project. It has been an incredible experience. The building aspect did not go as fast as I would have liked, but we are at a point that am happy with.

Without all of these experiences I would not be where I am today. I have grown exponentially these past three years, but more recently this past semester. Link has provided life changing experiences that I will never forget. I have become a leader, critical thinker, creator, and an independent person. Thank you for allowing me to have these experiences!

Astrid

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Jack Evarts and I am a sophomore at The Link School from Boulder, Colorado. I came to The Link School this year because I needed a break from normal public school life and I wanted to see what experiential education was like. Back in Boulder, I was taking Japanese for my language, I played the trombone in the school jazz band, I was on the robotics team, and in the online gaming club. When I wasn’t at school, I spent a lot of time at my martial arts dojo, my martial art is called To-Shin do and I’ve been doing it for 3 years.

This year I did a lot of really cool and fun stuff at Link, and I’m really grateful you donated so much so I was able to come here. I thought that while here, I wouldn’t be able to continue my martial arts, but I ended up spending much of my time teaching self-defense to two of my class mates here. I was also able to get in a lot better shape while at Link, last Sunday, the 24th I ran in my first ever race, and got 3rd for boys in my age group who ran in the 8K. I have also had a lot of fun cooking here at Link. One of my favorite meals that I cooked here is a family recipe called chicken things. You wrap a ball of cream cheese in a chicken breast, then wrap that ball of chicken in bacon and fry it. My favorite trip we went on was definitely our international trip to Guatemala, my favorite part of that was probably the last few days that we spent by the ocean learning to surf.

At the Link school, I’ve learned a lot about teaching others and leadership. This year I am submitting two leadership levels to Bobby. I’ve also worked on interacting and working well with others and I am really glad I came to Link this year. Coming to Link also helped prepare my for having a roommate later in life, which I haven’t had before.

Sincerely,

Jack

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hi, my name is Lois McClintick, and I’m a freshman here at Link. Technically I’m from Illinois, but I’ve started to consider myself a Coloradoan. Probably the next most important thing you should know about me is that I’m really energetic and outgoing; once I start talking I almost never shut up (unless I’m reading), so if you ever meet me in person and I seem shy at first, don’t be fooled.

I’ve had some of the best experiences in my fourteen years in the past school year. I’ve learned so much – both academically and spiritually. As far as academics go, I’ve been a fast learner my whole life, and I’ve always felt slowed down by my large classes, but here – with classes of twelve at the absolute most – I don’t have that problem. I’ve progressed the most in my favorite subject, math, because I’ve been able to go at my own pace. Outside of the classroom, I’ve grown as a person in so many ways. I feel more comfortable talking to people I don’t know very well. I have also learned so many new skills related to outdoor sports; in fact, except for rock climbing, I hadn’t done any of the stuff we did this year. The mountain biking, backpacking, and white water kayaking I’ve come to love was all new.

Already, I can look back on this year and smile without hesitation. The memories and knowledge I have gained this year make me feel more complete than I have ever felt before. Being able to do some of the things I’ve dreamed of for years and other things I never imagined I’d do, is the best feeling I’ve ever experienced. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to tell anyone how much this opportunity has meant to me, but I hope this letter helps you see how truly grateful I am.

With infinite gratitude,

Lois McClintick

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Sarah Griswold, and I am a freshman at The Link School. I am from Chicago, and love to run and ride horses. My project this year was training for and running a half marathon. Through this, I was reminded of my love for running races, and how hard work will get me places in life. Riding horses was another thing that helped me to grow this year. My horse spent a lot of time testing me and trying to get away with ignoring what I asked her to do, but I was able to keep riding and learned how to deal with her quirks.

On the first backpacking trip at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t carry my own stuff and my share of group gear. I constantly complained about my how my pack was hurting me, and was dead weight for the rest of the group. This spring, I had the opportunity to backpack in Utah. By then, I had realized how poorly the last trip had gone, and made sure that this time, I didn’t complain about my pack. I was able to carry all of my gear and the group gear that was given to me. I found that however much good I put into an experience was how much good I would get out of it.

Thank you for giving me the gift of a year at The Link School,

Sarah Griswold

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Clara Oyer; I am a senior at The Link School and this is my second year attending Link, and sadly my last. I live in Buena Vista Colorado, but was originally from Saint Louis Missouri. I was accepted to Colorado State University Fort Collins for the Equine Science program but won’t be attending till my sophomore year. I am planning on taking a gap year next year to decide what I want to study in college the following year.  I will be interning on ranches to find what part of horse studies I want to study in the future, while also taking care of my freshman year college credits. I have prayerfully thought about the gap year and feel confident it is the right decision.

During The Link School’s project time program I have been working on training my two-year-old colt (horse).  I have been riding horses for most of my life but never have owned and or started a horse. Training a horse from the point where it knows nothing, has proven itself to be a challenge, but one I have enjoyed. One of the hardest things I dealt with while training my horse was changing our relationship.  My horse Brick was more like a pet rather than a horse that wanted to work with me. He would follow me around and loved to cuddle rather than work with me. I had to somehow break down part of that pet relationship and build on top of it a work relationship. Brick easily understood he could have respect for me but also that he had to listen to what I was asking him to do. Working with my horse was one of the most important experiences I have had this year.

Being at The Link School has meant a lot to me, it has taught me to be independent but at the same time a leader for others. The person I was before thought it was normal to be told what to do and who you had to be, because of Link this has changed.  My experience at Link has helped me to find out that riding horses is my true passion, and that it can be something I do for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t have been able to experience all of this without your help. Thank you so much for donating, it has helped me discover who I am and who I want to become.

Sincerely,

Clara Oyer

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hello, my name is Emma Oyer. I am from Buena Vista, Colorado, and this is my second and senior year here at The Link School. I came to The Link School last year, my junior year, and I have had an amazing two years at this school. The Link School has given me many opportunities to pursue my passion of riding horses and it is safe to say that I will be attending Colorado State University, Fort Collins, as an equine science major because of The Link School giving me chances to ride horses during these two years. This is just one thing Link has done that has shaped my life in a positive way; however, I know they have given me way more.

The Link School has allowed me to grow out of my comfort zone and try new things. Before Link, I was too afraid to get out of my comfort zone for fear of getting hurt. But Link helped me find the Love for adventure and showed me how to have fun and try new things safely. For example, in April, a few other students and I decided that we wanted to peak one of the mountains in town. When we were peaking, I began sliding on the snow that was beginning to melt. For a while, fear began to surround my though telling me that I would slip and not be able to control myself. But as we continued, we were asked to get our ice axes out to catch our fall and the fear I once felt disappeared. The gear I was given helped me feel safe to continue the peak, which we successfully finished. Link showed me that it is possible challenge oneself while also being safe and having fun.

This has meant a lot to me as I continue my next chapter into college, as I know how to get out of my comfort zone. College will be a lot different then anything I’ve ever done, but I know that with Link’s help, I will be able to challenge myself and show those around me everything I have learned while being at The Link School for these two years. So thank you so much for your donation and helping me be able to attend The Link School, this school has blessed me in so many ways.

Sincerely,

Emma Oyer

 

 

These are selections from student gratitude letters at Thanksgiving this year.

    My name is Emma Oyer.  I am a senior at The Link School and this is my second year attending Link.  I came to Link my junior year and after having a wonderful year decided to come again for my senior year.  Last year while attending Link I was a part of so many remarkable experiences and had so many options that I decided to come back again and experience more.  Throughout my time at link I have attended polocrosse nationals, become an official Colorado resident, and have gotten a horse.  These are just a few of things that Link has supported me with, however  Link has given me way more.
    The encouragement here at The Link School from everyone, the students and staff, is so astounding.  There is rarely a moment where I do not feel support or spiritual support from the people surrounding me.  Whether it’s academically or on an expedition, I see our community striving to support each other through our daily tasks.  Witnessing this support has been meaningful to me because I always know that there is a wonderful community ready to be by my side.  I have learned a couple important qualities from witnessing this and two of them happen to be some of our community principles: awareness, and gratitude.  Becoming more aware of what people need has benefited how I live my life.  I notice more when someone needs help and people notice when I need support.  And this then includes gratitude, everyone is so grateful for what they give or get and aren’t afraid to express it.  This has been so meaningful to me.
So thank you so much for supporting me during my time at Link.
—Emma Oyer

 My name is Ruth Coolidge and I’m from St. Louis, Missouri.  Before coming to Link I had been going to the same school my whole life (first through ninth grade).  I enjoyed my old school but I didn’t feel very academically challenged or engaged in a traditional classroom.  I was certainly not challenging myself physically other than doing sports during the fall and winter.  I first heard about Link through my church.  We have a bulletin board that advertises some Christian Science camps and there was a brochure about The Link School.  I read it almost every Sunday and Wednesday after church and while I never thought I would actually go there, I thought it sounded really cool.  A former Link student gave a testimony one evening about riding her horse at Link.  I love horses and I never got to ride at home.  That testimony further convinced me that I would love it at Link.  However, once I got into middle school, I put my interest in Link on the back burner.  I hadn’t given the school a single thought for months when my mom suddenly asked me last year where I would want to go to school if I couldn’t go to my old one.  I immediately responded that I would go to The Link School.  I was just as surprised as my mom at the complete certainty in my voice when I said it.  We started looking at the website and both fell in love with the school even though we’d never been there.  Before I knew it I was filling out the application!  I knew coming here was the right thing to do because I could have classroom experience that kept me engaged, challenge myself to do physical activities that were way outside my comfort zone, and grow closer to God as a result of challenges I knew I would face.
    Since coming to The Link School I have done all of these things and more.  I actually look forward to classes here because I love the one-on-one time we get with teachers as a result of small classes and the way we get to personalize our academics.  Math, for example, has really surprised me this year.  I’ve always hated math class because I was stuck with a uniform pace and teaching methods that I found dry and uninteresting.  However, math class at Link is probably my favorite!  The program we use, Aleks, allows each student to go at the pace that they are most comfortable with and focuses on mastery rather than mind-numbing repetition.  Also, because the classes are much smaller than at my old school, I get plenty of one-on-one time with my teachers so I can have real, effective help with topics I’m struggling with.  I feel completely supported by my teachers in math and every other class.
    Another thing I adore about Link are the project times.  Each student and staff member is encouraged to pursue something they’re passionate about.  A few times a week we have a two-hour block to do what we love!  For me, that was horseback riding this fall.  Like I mentioned earlier, I am extremely passionate about horseback riding but had no opportunities to pursue it in Missouri.  When I learned that Link offered a riding program that became a big factor in my decision to come here.  This fall I loved being able to set aside thoughts of school work and anything else that was bothering me and just focus on becoming a better rider.  While I did have some struggles due to my inexperience, I was able to rely on God for help and had support from Jess, the riding instructor.  Now that it’s getting colder I’ll be moving into the ceramics shop for project time to work on the potter’s wheel.  I love being encouraged to have fun in ways that are productive and fulfilling!
    One more thing I have to mention is the community here at Link.  At Link the other students are like my family.  I know and love everyone here, including the staff, and feel like I am loved as well.  I am actually invested in this community and genuinely care about what goes on here because I care so much about everyone in the community.  This is something I have rarely experienced before and to me it makes Link a very special place.
    Thank you so much for your generous contributions that have allowed me to come here.  I have had once in a lifetime experiences that I will never forget and I cherish every moment spent at this school.
—Ruth Coolidge

My name is Shepherd and I am so grateful for coming to Link a second year and I am also so grateful for you for your giving that helped me get here again – thank you, thank you, thank you a hundred times over.  I live in Carbondale, Colorado and I am fifteen.  In Carbondale my family and I are farmers and we enjoy the community there.  I came to Link to expand on two things, writing and cooking.  These two things I have all ways loved to do, and ever since I started to write and cook I have wanted to improve greatly on those skills and bring them into my future.
    Two other things that I have been working on are grades and fitness for myself so that I am able to do physical activities and not struggle so much.  Once again thank you so much for helping me this year and I hope to come next year.
—Shepherd LeVan

    Hello I’m Eli Abbott From Worcester, MA.  The reason that I’m at
Link is because I want to see myself grow in the ways that I have not done yet and accomplish new things that I have not tried like skiing.  I love everything that we do as a whole group such as the trips.
    Things that have been meaningful to me are the things that I have done which at first I didn’t want to do.  One thing the I have overcome is not wanting to ski, but I decided that I would give it a chance.  So I did, and now I love skiing.  Academically I have been having trouble with keeping up with the class and doing well in those classes.  So I talked about it with a practitioner and she gave me some thoughts to work with.
    Thank you for all the support.
—Eli Abbott

My name is Clara Oyer.  I am a senior here at The Link School and this is my second year here.  I’m originally from Saint Louis, Missouri but moved to Buena Vista, Colorado last year with my family.  I was interested in The Link School because it was an ideal place to pursue my dream, which is riding horses.  Link has been supporting me all the way through my vision of riding horses, and because of that, I have been accepted to college for Equine Sciences.  I am very happy to be at a school that allows me to have access to what I want my career to be, yet encourages and supports me all the way through.
    The support here at The Link School from the staff, and students, is what makes my experience at Link meaningful.  Rock climbing is one of many activities we do here at Link.  Last year rock climbing was something I dreaded and I never really tried to make it an activity to enjoy.  Yet this year, the constant presence of others’ passion for rock climbing has helped me to feel more comfortable while climbing.  The staff especially has helped me to push myself to test my limits, and push past what I believe my limitations to be.  They uphold me to work on accomplishing goals they know I can achieve, and because of that I have learned to support myself rather than put myself down.
    I would not have been able to accomplish and experience all of these life-changing occurrences without your help.  Thank you so much for helping me go to Link and supporting the community here.
—Clara Oyer

 My name is Zac Green and I am from Douglasville, Ga. I came to Link to try to find who I really am and what I want to do with my life.  I have been at Link for one semester and have already had drastic changes happen with my thought, my passion for learning, and a newfound love for climbing and mountain biking.
    This year I have loved getting to rock climb and bike.  Over the past semester I rode on the mountain bike team.  I also wrote an essay on why I could use a bike and sent it to the local bike shop for a writing competition and I won a credit towards a new bike!  Also this year I have been really working on rock climbing.  I have started lead climbing, even though it is pretty scary, I love having the chance to do it.  
    This semester I have also really been working on my academics, because last year at my old school it was a really hard year with trying to keep up with all the work I had.  This semester I have really worked on keeping my grades up and trying to do all that I can to make A’s in my classes.
    One other thing I really enjoyed this semester was helping the community.  One thing that we did was, when we where in New Mexico, we went to a road that everyone called “dump road,” and picked up trash.  When we were done I really felt like I helped out the community there.  
    Thank you for giving me the help I needed to come here and be a part of this great community.
    Thank you so much,
—Zac Green

    Hi! My name is Beatrice Davis and I am sixteen years old and I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri.  I love to play volleyball, soccer, and do dance.  I also love roller coasters.  I am a Christian Scientist and I go to Cedars Camps over the summer.  I have an older brother and he is also here at The Link School with me.  It can be fun at times!  Here are a couple of reasons why I chose to come here at Link.  I wanted to grow to become a better Christian Scientist.  And I thought that it was time for me to enjoy the world a little more in a different state.  I also wanted to meet new people, and get to live in a dorm room and make new friends.  And I wanted to be more active instead of just sit around like back at home and be lazy.  So far I’ve really been active and just allowed myself to have fun in the outdoor world.
    Some of the things that are meaningful to me are getting the chance to go on expeditions and big trips that not many schools get to do.  My favorite trip that we’ve taken so far this year was to New Mexico.  Some of the things that I really enjoyed doing there was rock climbing and getting to go to the Quivira Conference.  Those couple of days I really felt like an adult and I also felt like I was being treated like one.  The reason why I say that is because I got to listen to only adults share their presentations – some were a little boring, but I still learned a lot from them.  And I also learned how to take some really good notes.  I thought the note taking process was very helpful for me to take back to school with me.
    For my POL (Presentation of Learning) project I am working on self-defense with another student that goes to The Link School.  I am really having a lot of fun getting to learn how to do some really cool moves and how to protect myself from danger, also at the same time knowing that I will never be put in a situation like that.  
One of the things that I really enjoy is getting to do forestry.  It’s very hard work, but also very fun all at the same time.  I really love my classes.  I’ve noticed that the teachers here pay a lot more attention than back at my old school.  This year I also wanted to try something new – snowboarding.  I really love snowboarding and I think I am going to do that for the rest of my life.  
    I am really glad that I chose to come here to Link.  So far it’s the best school I’ve ever been to.
-Beatrice Davis

    My name is Astrid and I am a senior here at Link.  This is my third and final year.  I came to Link as a sophomore who wanted a change.  I had attended the same school since I was three years old and wanted to have new experiences and new challenges.  At Link I have definitely had a different experience, and have loved it.
    What I most love about Link is how it challenges me daily.  At my old school I had the same challenges day to day and I realized that I was not what I wanted.  Here, I am challenged daily with my classes and the various other activities that we do.  Every year we do independent learning projects and this year I decided that I wanted to build a Tiny House.  If you do not know what a Tiny House it is, it is a house that is less than 200 square feet and is built on a trailer.  Even though we just started building this month, I have learned a lot and know that I am going to learn a lot more as the project continues.  This project is allowing me to pursue an interest that I have in sustainable design as well as writing.  My interest in writing will be pursued though a blog that shows the progress I have made with the house.  This project pushes me in ways I never considered, and I love it, and look forward to its completion.  
This is just a part of my experience at Link, and am so grateful that you have allowed me to pursue this project and push myself in the process.
    Thank you!
—Astrid List

    My name is Jack Evarts and I’m from Boulder, Colorado.  I came to The Link School because the normal classroom environment wasn’t helping me learn at all and I needed something else to help me learn.  I’ve really benefitted from the smaller class sizes in particular and the teachers being able to work one on one with me more often here than in a public school.  I have really enjoyed the time I spend at A/U in the summer and loved the Idea of having my school experience similar to my camp experience, so I’m extremely grateful that you helped me get to come here.
    I think The Link School has really helped me grow spiritually as well as academically.  When I was at home, I would never read the lesson and only think about God or anything spiritual when I was at church on Sunday.  Having lesson study every weekday has really helped me to grow more as a Christian Scientist.
The field programs have also been very important to me.  They were one of the things I was looking forward to most when I found out I had been accepted.  I especially enjoyed our first trip to the Sangre de Christo mountain range, and Sand Dunes National Park.  I love doing back country trips like that, and I learned a lot about the leave no trace principals and the eco-system in that part of Colorado.
    Thank you,
—Jack Evarts

Hi, my name is Lois.  I’m 14 and one of my favorite things to do in my free time is read.  I’m here at Link because it sounded a lot like Wilderness Exploration Week, the camp program I’ve been doing at CedarS the past two summers.  It was also an opportunity to skip eighth grade.  I’d been trying to get the public school district I went to in Illinois to let me skip a grade for the past few years, but they always told me they couldn’t advance me.  When I was here visiting Link in the spring I asked Bobby about skipping a grade and he told me that if I thought I was ready and my parents thought I was ready he didn’t have a problem with it, and here I am!
    The community, academics, service work, and spiritual study here have been really meaningful to me.  At the public school I went to it always took people a year or two to feel like they were a part of the community there, but here I felt like I belonged as soon as I got here.  I’m one of those people who find it important to fit it by being who they are, and here I can do that.  Having academics that challenge me is what I’ve been wanting out of school for as long as I can remember and as far as I recall I’ve never had that, but being able to skip a grade, I finally do.  
    Doing service work makes me feel like I have a goal, and I really enjoy that sense of purpose.  Having spiritual prep time every morning is important to me because it makes me feel like I really do have a connection with the Divine.  That feeling makes me want to be a good person everyday.
    Thank you so much,
—Lois McClintick

    My name is Sam Davis.  I am a third year student this year.  I have continually returned to Link, because it is such a good place for growth and self-improvement.  Over the years Bobby, and the other staff members, have been continuously working with me to improve in many categories, specifically:  integrity, respect for others, self awareness (noticing the way I come across to people), and forming a stronger relationship with the divine.
    On the note of improvements made, the continual help and support, and of course accountability from the staff end of things has made being at Link the single most meaningful experience yet.  Every staff member is here to help the students progress and meet their goals, both in and outside of the classroom, and that is something everyone truly needs.  Another experience up at school that has been meaningful to me has definitely been finally breaking the 3.0 barrier with my GPA.  I have been trying to get a higher GPA since middle school, but could never even get close to that elusive three zero, but this year everything fell into place and I finally met that goal.  That credit for that massive achievement is due not only to the staff or myself, but it is due to you, the sponsor, who graciously gave and helped me as well as many others meet our goals.  You gave us an opportunity to be in an environment were meeting goals and breaking barriers is a norm, and where every single person here is helping each other through any challenge that comes up, and life long bonds are formed.
    Thank you so much for all you do.
—Sam Davis

    My name is Gavin Frager, and I am a student this year at The Link School.  This is my second year, and both have been completely awesome.  My first year, swimming in uncharted waters, everything was new and fascinating.  This year, when I mostly know the rhythm of school, I see parts of school that I completely missed last year.  I am extremely grateful that I can attend Link this year, and grateful that you made it possible.
—Gavin Frager

    I decided to come to The Link School because the public schools at home weren’t a good fit for me.  My parents pulled me out of a private school after sixth grade and sent me to the public junior high but I started being a ‘troubled kid’ there.  I felt I was smarter than a lot of kids, and bored, so I picked fights and made people hate me.   I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had here to start again.  I love to run, bike, climb, and ride horses, and I have many chances to do that here.  My favorite trips were the horse-packing trip and the biking/climbing trip in.  Both trips helped me grow spiritually and physically.
—Sarah Griswold