Gratitude – Year 8 – Christmas

These are selections from student gratitude letters mid-year Year 8.

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Summer Herout, and I am a senior from Portland, Oregon. I went to a large public high school and enjoyed my time there, but I was ready for a change and more of a challenge.

This year I am taking AP Spanish and AP calculus as well as Collapse, English and Ecology. These classes have been both difficult and very interesting.

Being a part of such a small, tight community has taught me a lot about myself and how to interact with others. From my experience living with fourteen students, I now feel more prepared going to college where I will be living with a roommate.

This year I have grown lots spiritually. Issues that come up with academics and college I now face with metaphysics. Taking the SAT had been very stressful and scary for me, but with the support from staff members and their sharing of ideas, I went into the SAT this last time feeling open to God and knowing that it was not me taking the test. This experience really helped and I hope to continue to make progress overcoming my fear of test taking.

Already this year I have had so many meaningful experiences. One that really stands out for me though is my experience in Calculus. It has been very challenging for me, and at times super frustrating. The support I receive from the staff has been so helpful. Frequently I find myself in a state of confusion and feel that calc is impossible, but with their help I have made it through the semester. I cannot imagine being at my old high school and taking calc.  There is no way that I would have made it through without their support and willingness to help.

Thank you so much, I truly appreciate all that you are giving,

Summer Herout

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is India! I’m originally from Santa Fe New Mexico. Here at Link we’ve been doing so much! It’s been really amazing. I didn’t grow up a Christian Scientist but I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn and study it. Lesson study every morning is always such a great way to start the day. It gives me a sense of calm and empowerment. This week our lesson is:  “Is The Universe Including Man Evolved by Atomic Force?” It’s a great one.  My favorite line in the lesson so far is, “Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man.” It just reminds us to love and that everything around us was created by love, including man. It’s a great line to remember in times of worry.

The academics at Link are pretty great.  My favorite subjects at the moment are a tie between History and English class, but in all honesty I enjoy all of them pretty much equally. In English class we just ended on the topic of the Renaissance and Romanticism, which were really interesting.  My friend Kiersty and I made a video starring 3 Romanticist writers and it was so fun to film! In history we just ended on the topic of the beginnings of Christianity, Greece, and Rome, which was also really interesting as we also studied current events. I wrote a research paper on the movement “Black Lives Matter” and it was really nice to finally get to write about something I’ve been following in the news for a while. In Math we’ve been using the program ALEKS, which at the moment, I am currently behind in due to a family vacation, but believe it or not, this program actually makes me enjoy catching up.

Link School is really valuable to me in so many ways.  The academics have me learning more than any other school I’ve been to. For once in my life, I’m honestly enjoying every class I have. I love our outdoor programs.  My favorite so far was the backpacking trip in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  The scenery was breathtaking and it added to my appreciation of the wild. Spiritually speaking, I’m more in touch with God than any other place or time in my life.

I’m so thankful to you for helping me experience this place. I wouldn’t be here without you so thank you.

India

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

I am writing to you because of the opportunity you have given me by donating money so that I can be a part of the Link community. My name is Mathias Fanta, and I am a freshman.

Here at Link, we are participating in a number of programs that incorporate teaching subjects like Science and English.  It has been a year of growth for me because of the Christian Science approach to life.  Being able to be in a community of spiritual thinkers has boosted my understanding, and relationship to God. I have done things I could not have dreamed of if I had not come to Link. Climbing a huge stone, traveling to Ecuador, the list could go on and on.

I have grown this year more than any other. The idea of freedom has established many good life lessons. For example, I am far better when it comes to financial ideals and saving. I also have been given the chance to work on time management. While I may have been able to work on material goals, I have learned so much about myself as God’s child and his reflection.

This letter is to simply give thanks for all of the opportunities that I have been given because of your kind and generous donation to my education, and growth as a person.

Sincerely,

Mathias Fanta

 

 

Dear Sponsors

My name is Kelvin, and I am 15 years old.  I really like outdoor education.  Before I came to The Link school I was home-schooled.  At Link, I’ve been doing lots of academics. My favorite class is science.  I’ve had a lot of fun in science class, especially on trips.  I’ve grown in academics and in my ability with all of the fun things I’ve done hear at Link.  My favorite field program that Link did was the mountain biking trip in Fruita, Co. I really like the community hear at Link.  I think it is an awesome place. Everyone is nice, respectful, and helpful. I’ve had a lot of spiritual guidance and healing here; more than any other place I’ve been.

This school is meaningful to me because it’s a place where you can learn, grow, and have fun.  I value Link because I’ve learned so much and it’s the best school to go to.  One of the many things I value is how much one can learn. I am learning how to ice climb and I am really enjoying it.  I value all of the staff hear at Link.  They provide neat projects, challenging tasks, lots of enjoyment, and they want us to succeed in our tasks, and they are just loads fun.

–Kelvin Elrick
Hello I’m Eli Abbott and I am 17 years old from Worcester, MA and this is my second year at the Link school.  I am a Junior.  I’m at Link because I want to see myself grow in different ways, and I want to try new things that I have not tried.  I love Link School, it has been such a blessing being able to come here.

At Link I have challenged myself with wanting to do more with climbing, like practicing lead climbing and belaying. I have also started to ice climb, which is really fun. These new activities are really enjoyable. The trips that we get to go on are challenging to me and I love them, they bring out the best in us. I love the close-knit group and how loving and supportive we are here at school. The spiritual focus here is really important because everyday we study so what we read can help us though the day with the challenges that are out in front of us.

Academically I have been having trouble keeping up with the classes and doing well. I have been talking about it with a practitioner and she supports me with some good thoughts to use.

Thank you for all the support

Have a great day.  Eli

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Zac Green, and I’m from Douglasville, Georgia. I started going to The Link School two years ago when I was a junior. I used to go to a public high school in Georgia where I didn’t do a lot and was just trying to get by. Since I have been coming to Link, I have started to strive to not just pass but really do things well. I also never did anything fun like climb, bike, and all of the other things we get to do at Link.

At Link we do lots of things like climb, bike, backpack, ski and snowboard. I think the best thing about Link is the academics. The teachers really try to push you to do your best and not just get by. I also appreciate how individualized it is; you really get all that you need to succeed without it being handed to you. One of the other things I really like is the community and how close we all are. For example, we all have a choice on how things work and what we want it to be like. I really like that because you don’t always have a choice on how things are done in a community. We also have spiritual prep in the morning, I like that because it really sets up the day to be a good one and prepares you for what you need.

The time I have been at Link has been very meaningful to me because it has changed how I think about things and how I react. I have learned so much from being here in the past two years and am so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity. It has been so valuable to me to be here.

Thank you, Zac

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

Hi, my name’s Lois. This is my second year here at Link, and I’m a sophomore. I make a point to push myself and be positive. I’m technically from Illinois, but I consider myself from several different places including Colorado and the Midwest. I love to read and talk – meaning unless I’m reading or sleeping I’m probably talking, so if you ever meet me in person and I seem shy at first, don’t be fooled.

Some of my fondest memories of the past fifteen years have been here at Link. I’ve learned a lot about myself this year as well as the curriculum being taught in classes. Being with so many people all the time has made me realize how much I appreciate my alone time, but when I am with people I can still enjoy myself. During the mountain biking season, I pushed myself to the limits racing twelve miles every other weekend. Those months proved to me how persistent I can be when I set my mind to something.

Looking back on this semester I know I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons that will help me throughout my life. I’ve been able to do things this year I’ve dreamed of and others things I’ve never imagined. 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,

Hi, my name is Cassie, I am 17 years old and I am a returning Link School student. Over the past four years I have been to six different schools and have bounced between many of them. I went to the Link School my freshman year for a semester and loved it but couldn’t afford to come back because I have so many siblings. Between leaving The Link School and coming back to Link for my senior year, I had many traumatic experiences including a school shooting, and I could not be happier to be back here. This environment is something that means so much to me and I am so grateful for the opportunity to finish my high school career here.

While here I have been able to immerse myself in several languages and excel in many other areas of study including science and math. I firmly believe that the things we learn in high school are the building blocks for whatever comes next whether it is college, military, or just going straight in to the work force. While here at Link, I have been able to really invest in the things that I want to learn and care about. I really love being here and I am so humbled by the opportunity to learn in this amazing atmosphere once again.

There are many things aside from the academics that inspire me here. Over this short semester, I have gained the truest sense of self I have yet experienced. I feel like this school has truly shaped who I am in the best ways possible and I expect will continue to do so. One of the main reasons I decided and applied to come back here is because I feel like I am the best version of myself when I am in this atmosphere.

 

Thanks so much for sponsoring my classmates and me in going/returning to this wonderful blessing of a school.

Sincerely,

Cassie

 

 

Hi! My name is Kaelyn Colizzo, and I’m currently a sophomore attending, as I’m sure you’re well aware, The Link School. My extended family and I live in Denver, Colorado, with our dog, Missy, and horses, Chicka Marie and Red. I was adopted into a family of six. We are an amalgamation of people of all ages, making for a very interesting life, to say the very least. I have a younger brother, Isaac, who just turned four, two younger sisters, Annalise and Hannah, nine and fourteen respectively, one older sister, Cassie, seventeen, and two older brothers that are both in college. When I’m not in class or doing homework, I love to ride my horse, Chicka Marie. We’ve done rodeo events, Polocrosse, mediocre (at best) jumping, cattle working, and trail rides. I also devote a fair amount of my free time to reading and writing; both pass times inherited from my father and developed when I was younger. On the other, less productive hand, I also have an innate propensity towards procrastination and bad TV crime shows (obviously unrelated), and love to spend time with my friends and family.

This is my first year at Link, and to say it’s just different from my public high school, with its overwhelming student body of 3,000, would be the understatement of the century. In my classes I am learning basic Spanish, Algebra II, Community Ecosystems and Dynamics, World Cultures, and English. My favorite of these is English. I’m a voracious reader, and love to write short stories, news-like articles, and informative essays, the latter of which is not a popular activity among my peers. Shocking, I know! For project time you can usually find me getting ahead in homework (or catching up, more likely, but that’s beside the point) or spending time with the aforementioned Chicka Marie. This time allotted specifically for projects allows me to develop my own passions and interests and pursue them in a scholastic manner, which is, in my opinion, a remarkable liberty that I am extremely privileged to experience. Another favorable aspect at Link I’m grateful to experience is the community. The sense of camaraderie and trust that just pours forth from every member of our small society is incredibly meaningful to me. I love the people I have met here, and consider myself blessed to call them my family.

My entire Link experience so far has been so incredibly meaningful to me it’s hard to put into words. The people I’ve been able to surround myself with here give me so much support and selfless love, and for that, I will always be unspeakably grateful.

- Kaelyn

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Kiersten Sheehan and I’m a senior at the Link School this year. I’m originally from New York but my parents are currently living in Jersey City, New Jersey in order for my dad to have a shorter commute to the city everyday; cutting a 2-hour commute to a 20-minute commute, makes a big difference. This is the second boarding school that I’ve attended as a high school student. The first one was the Principia Upper School in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve been a staff member at Adventure Unlimited Ranches in their Horsemanship program this past summer and I have also been a horsemanship and Polocrosse camper for the past five years. I will be graduating from Discovery Bound’s National Leadership Council program this February.

Since this is my final year in high school, I know the areas that I need to work on in order to be successful academically. Attending Link has helped me focus on improving those areas; I feel more supported and encouraged to push myself in order to achieve the grades I desire. As a senior, not only do I have to work on schoolwork, but I also have to find time to apply to colleges. Thanks to the senior college prep class, I felt capable to accomplish all the requirements needed in order to apply. What really surprised me was when I found out I was accepted to all the colleges I applied to and was even offered scholarships. Not only are the academics wonderful, the way the school applies its academics to worldly activities is amazing. Every trip has had a bigger meaning; I have been able to get out of the classroom in order to understand first hand why Romantic poets write about nature or what makes a forest at lower elevation have more biodiversity than a forest at higher elevation.

There are 26 letters that can create many thousands of words, but I cannot fathom a way to sincerely express how grateful I am for your unselfishness to help teens like me to experience this unique form of education.  What means the most to me is that outdoor experiential education is the field I am most interested in focusing on in college, so to come to a school and get the opportunity to explore the field is very beneficial in my decision making. I love that I get the chance to practice all that I’ve learned in the classroom through various activities during the year and in the future. Again, thank you for all that you’ve provided for not only me but also the whole Link community.

Sincerely,
Kiersten Sheehan

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Gavin Frager from St. Louis, MO, and I’m a senior at The Link School. This year is my third and final year here, and although I’m excited to graduate, I am also sad to be leaving. Link has given me so many opportunities to grow, and even though I haven’t taken advantage of all of them, the ones I have taken advantage of have completely changed who I am as a person.

Lots of the things that have changed about me have been what I enjoy doing. In the past, my personal entertainment was always selfish, and I found it very hard to enjoy doing anything meaningful for others. But as the years have gone by, I have found ways to make helping others fun, and I often find the end result significantly more satisfying.

Overall, I am just so grateful for the opportunities that I have been given here at Link, and am extremely grateful to you for making it possible for me to progress so much as an individual. I am a better person because of the opportunities I have been presented with, and am looking forward to being able to help others with the things I have learned here.

Thank you so much,

Gavin Frager

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Sarah, and this is my second year at the Link School. I am a sophomore, and I am really grateful that I could come back this year. All through last year, my family and I were not sure if I would be able to, so I spent a lot of the summer praying about my right place (which I felt was here).

The public school at home is okay, but they have tended to mess up my placement in classes and the district is enormous, making it easy to get lost in the shuffle. When I first heard about Link, it sounded like the perfect place to take part in my education and be more than a face in the crowd. I also love the outdoors, and Link has given me the opportunity to ride horses, boat whitewater, hike and peak mountains, live in the most beautiful (and my favorite) place, mountain bike, and ski. I have had so many opportunities that I never would have had at home.

One of my favorite things to do here is run, and I have had several healings while running. These were significant to me because they were the first healings that I had totally on my own, and they were instantaneous. The first was a healing of a knee injury I got while skiing late in the season last year. It made walking difficult and running impossible for weeks, and it interrupted my training for a race at the end of May.

It eventually stopped regularly bothering me, but would come back randomly while I was working out. I got to race day, and two hundred meters out from the start, the same knee in the same spot began to bother me. I knew that it had to stop, because I had thirteen miles ahead of me, and a Bible verse my summer track team had emailed out several months earlier came to thought. It is from I Peter 5:6, 7 and I suddenly knew that if I was to have a healing, I couldn’t be fearful or partially focused on whether or not my knee still hurt: I had to totally focus on God and this verse. I repeated it once through in my head and the pain was instantly gone (this whole process really took ten to fifteen seconds but much longer to explain) and I have never had it come back to bother me.

This healing prepared me for one I had this summer while running in the Junior Olympics. I was running the 1500 meter race, and was on personal record pace when I started to feel like throwing up. I spent the second and third laps of my race running but dry heaving every ten steps and asking God to please help me. I was running in front of thousands of people, which is not a very supportive atmosphere for healing. A few months before, I had re-watched a popular movie called Divergent. In it, there is a scene where the main character realizes that she is in a simulation she is supposed to think is real. She sees it for what it is, says to herself “This isn’t real”, and then breaks some glass and wakes herself up. While I was running this race, I suddenly heard the actress’s voice in my ear like she was right next to me saying “This isn’t real.” I realized that I could choose my reality, and that feeling ill was only real as long as I chose to accept it. I thought to myself “I can choose my reality, and I refuse to accept this.” I instantly stopped retching and was able to finish the last lap.

It was a really humbling experience for me, because I could have won my heat of thirty girls (instead I came in last), and I can never explain to all the spectators why I was running so slowly. This healing was also a really powerful experience because it proved to me that God is everywhere and always with me, and it also showed me that I can have healings anytime and anywhere, even without help from anyone else. Link has helped me become an active, capable Christian Scientist, and it still shows me how to use it every day. I am always grateful for Link and how much it has helped me grow.

Thank you,

Sarah

 

 

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Tyler Lent. I’m 16 years old and a sophomore in high school. I love the outdoors and all winter sports. I come from a small town in Colorado called New Castle that not many people know about even though many people pass through it on their way to Grand Junction or Glenwood Springs. About 6 years ago I moved to Texas with my mom and step-dad, which brings me to why I’m here. My life at home was pretty good except my step-dad didn’t provide the best environment to grow up in, so when my uncle told me about this school when I was visiting Colorado, we began to take steps for me to come here.

At Link we have many academic activities that are interactive and push us to think harder. All the trips and expeditions we go on revolve around an academic subject such as science or English. Our first trip we went on a 6-day hike in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This expedition was focused on science, and asked questions like, how the altitude affects the atmospheric pressure and how certain animals affect each other. Our third trip was focused on English, poets and poems. We learned about several different poets and wrote our own poems. Our next trip, Ecuador, is going to be focused on Spanish and on healthy community. We are going to help a small village and we are also going to donate several mountain bikes to another village.

I really can’t say how grateful I am to be here. It has really changed my life being in an environment that makes me feel important and that cares about me. I love living in Colorado again, and to be able to do all the things I love such as snowboarding, mountain biking, rafting, and climbing. In Texas I couldn’t do any of these things and it (among other things) really brought me down. Now that I’m back in Colorado, I’m happy, and enjoying life and the outdoors again. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.

Sincerely,

Tyler