As we come to the close of our academic semester, we reflect on the highlights of our previous unit. It has been a unique and challenging time for our community as we faced difficult weather conditions that impacted everyone. In spite of it all, we were able to achieve and participate in many great events. The rainy months of October and November gave way to glorious sunshine and blue skies in December, and we made the most of it!
Student elections were held this unit. Candidates gave their campaign speeches, learned about the electoral process, and were chosen to represent their classmates. Students also designed and built a new compost system for our food waste and garden. Members of the Yearbook Committee started development.
As we like to stay active and engage with our community and environment, all students participated in a beach cleanup at nearby Playa Laguna. Our students worked together to make a big impact, picking up a lot of trash and plastic in one outing. Students collected recycled materials and built a Christmas tree from the materials with Miss Arianny. It was a lot of work, but our tree looks amazing (and so does the beach)! Students also organized a bake sale to raise funds for flood victims.
Our Holiday Fair on December 10 got everyone in the holiday spirit with some good old fashioned family fun. The free Holiday extravaganza was open to the public, and included such fun activities as a Visit and Photo with Santa, Reindeer rides, Face painting, Sean in the stocks, Elf hunt, Sack races, Holiday photo booth, Santa's mailbox, Cookie swap, Upcycled craft stalls, Holiday basket raffle and more! It was an event to remember, and we’re so pleased to have been able to celebrate the holiday spirit together.
Guest Lecture Series
During the months of November and December, we had a terrific lecture series (see November Happenings for additional guests). Some highlights include:
A Guest presentation from Sandra Weber, owner of Claro Café in Cabarete, who spoke to us about making choices to reduce her business's environmental impact on the community.
Guest lecture and science presentation from Dianna Cowern, AKA Physics Girl. She is a popular YouTube science personality, and spoke about how she does research and plans her many projects. She was joined by a mechanical engineer who discussed the design process with our students.
Guest lecture from Letti Pascuito, owner of Kana Rapai recycled art center. She taught our students about creative art using upcycling.
Guest cooking classes from local chef Paola and ISLA parent Odile Horjus.
Guest yoga instructor, Ms. Gabi joined us weekly to teach students of all ages about yoga.
Student Field Trips
ISLA Academy students had the opportunity to venture out into the community and learn about a variety of topics and engage with interesting people, doing interesting things, and help where needed. Our field trips related to topics being investigated on campus, so it was a wonderful opportunity to see ideas in action.
Field trip to the Mariposa Foundation to meet international muralist Xaivier Ringer. She spoke to us about the impact that art can have on affecting social change in a community.
A field trip to the circus at Extreme Hotel to learn acrobatic techniques, expand our comfort zone by trying out the flying trapeze and build class unity.
Sosua Bay field trip to participate in standup paddleboarding with Pauhana Academy.
Multiple trips to the communities of Maranatha, Sosua Abajo, and La Cienaga to deliver food, mosquito nets, rain boots, and clothing to the victims of the flooding. These items were collected, organized, and distributed by students, parents, and teachers.
A visit to Charlie's Foundation in La Cienaga to deliver items to the children sleeping there temporarily due to the flooding of their village. Several of our students also went later to play games and sing songs with the children.
Field trip to a Fedujazz event to participate in a music workshop with musicians from the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.
ISLA Academy is grateful to all of the friends we have made in the community that have made us feel so welcome, and have embraced our students.
Amazing! Thanks to all of the people that helped to enrich the learning experiences of our students, from the guest presenters to the parents that organized the events or provided transportation. Here's to another great term at ISLA Academy.