Down Island Trips are not only an important Island School tradition, but they are one of the most engaging and exciting place-based educational opportunities available to our students.  As a staff member, DIT’s are one of my favorite opportunities, too.  I get to see students in new contexts, having new experiences, and negotiating new ideas (sometimes uncomfortable and difficult). This semester, in a walk-on basketball game with some locals on Harbour Island, a student was called “white boy” for the first time.  Students talked about being treated like tourists.  Individuals talked about how people would come up and easily identify them as Island School Students.  They felt like this label meant that they were not individuals, but standardized and stereotypical predictions of people.  They wrestled with the dangers of labels.  They thought about the virtues of tourism.  They even faced the fear of a first thing in the morning 3o foot cliff jump.  What a way to start the day!  I could feel paradigms shifting under my feet.
So, to demonstrate what a Down Island Trip really means, I bring you three moments that illustrate the heart of The Island School’s Down Island experience:

Staged at the Governor’s Harbour library, this is an excerpt from final Harkness-style discussion about what tourism means to Eleuthera.

Watch as K1 takes the leap into a blue hole hidden in the north Eleutheran jungle.

Always a favorite stop on DIT is the banyan trees just north of Rocksound.  And Katie Leonard’s collective banyan drawing activity has become a tradition. Students take 90 second turns drawing and then passing and drawing and passing 12 different pictures.  See the 12 unique banyan drawings each created collectively by 12 different student hands.