Last week, students were asked to undertake another in a series of epic challenges at The Island School. The Literature Department assigned students to write a story of their Island School experience through the form of the traditional Heroes Journey. Even more difficult, they were made to do it in the very specific stanza and rhyme form in which Derek Walcott’s Omeros was written (the primary text for their course). In the truly triumphant tradition of our students here, they persevered and were able to articulate beautifully written poetic expressions of the knowledge that is gained through the journey.
Enjoy this example written by James Boyce, describing the epic experience of free-diving with Maxey as his epic guide:

Free diving through Cathedral

The conch horn blows as a calling to free diving.

The sun is just emerging from the blue ocean.

I don’t want to wake up and have trouble finding


the motivation to move. I feel a notion.

The thought that my time here is limited comes to

me and I decide to put my day to motion


I get dressed, get all my gear, and put on my shoes

When I reach the boathouse I see Maxey sitting

there waiting for me. He says we are going to


Cathedral and gives me tips on deeper breathing.

We load into the boat and head to Cathedral.

I hop in the water, excitement starts creeping


into me. Cathedral is named after a hole

that runs through the entire length of the coral.

I want to push myself, so to achieve my goal


I ask Maxey to guide me through this new portal

I take my last breath and dive into a surreal

world of silence in the absence of all oral


communication. I travel deeper. I feel

as if I need to breathe, but I know I can go

further. I reach the entrance to the cave, the keel


of the big boat far above the tips of my toes

I enter the cave and as I am about half

way through I come to realize and I come to know


that if I need to breath I don’t have any shaft

to the surface, but then the amazing wildlife

and structure of the cave brings me back from the daft


thoughts that I was having about losing my life.

I finally exit the cave and start floating

up to the surface again. It feels like a knife


is piercing my lungs and I’m almost breaking

the surface. I rise from the blue ocean like the

sun, with a new appreciation for pushing


myself to do what I want. Maxey says that he

needs to get us back to campus before breakfast.

This journey left me with a new love for the sea.