From Beaches to Glaciers: SLS Student Tackle the World

While most of the St. Luke’s faculty and students were gearing up for the start of a new school year, Catherine Verklin ‘17 and Hugh Lavelle ’16 were leaving for semesters abroad in Switzerland and Nassau.

Catherine traveled 3,896 miles away from home to Zermatt, Switzerland, where she spent her semester hiking, climbing mountains, and skiing.

Catherine Verklin '17 mountain-climbing in the Swiss Alps

Catherine Verklin ’17 mountain-climbing in the Swiss Alps

Zermatt is a charming mountain village with cobbled streets and horses and sleighs instead of cars. The experience changed Catherine, who says “I felt as if I came back a new person, with different outlooks on life that I never had before. I did incredible things, and that totally changed my life. I also did not have access to electronics, so I was able to become more independent without using the Internet or my phone”.  Spending the semester in Switzerland was anything but a relaxing vacation. They did all of the activities during the school day, one day hiking 22 miles.

Catherine says that her biggest challenge was finding the balance between schoolwork and all of the new exciting activities she was exposed to.

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Verklin glacier-walking in Switzerland

Hugh Lavelle had an equally life changing experience at the Island School on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  Hugh says he “learned how to live sustainably, explored all of the natural beauty that Eleuthera had to offer, had a research project where we assessed the post release mortality rate of a shark, and made strides to understand the complex culture of the Bahamas that goes beyond sand and sea”.

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Lavelle ’16 on a fishing trip during his stay at the Island School

In addition to making life long friendships, Hugh says “The Island School broadened my horizon, I did things that I would never have done otherwise – whether that was swimming in shark infested waters or jumping off cliffs into the shallow blue waters of the Exuma sound. More importantly, it taught me new ways to approach school, which I will look to apply to my academics here at St. Luke’s”.

Both agree that spending the semester outside of SLS changed their perspectives both on themselves and their education.

— Laura Pizzani, Staff Writer

Posted by on February 4, 2015. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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