Shavin Curtis, class of 2021: “The day we went to Penikese Island, I was very skeptical. I was expecting it to be creepy but it wasn't, it was more beautiful than scary--a very pleasant island with no predators. The beach was awesome. I'm known to have aquaphobia, but on Penikese I jumped off of the dock into high water and it turned out to be less terrifying than I thought. I’m not saying that I overcame my fear of water-- I’m still scared to death, but not as much as I would be if I didn’t jump. It was really fun. I also learned some songs from my playlist by using the guitar they have there at Penikese.”
Emily McKinney, class of 2021: “My favorite part was being able to explore the island: I loved seeing the ocean and the sunsets and I really liked seeing all the stars. There was not much light around so you could see them perfectly. It was also really fun to hear scary stories like this one about a man in yellow pants-- it was especially fun to scare some of the other students with this story.
I think the Penikese trip was a very important trip because we got to see all of our staff and kids’ behavior out of school. I feel like we got to know each other a lot better and I think now we all feel more comfortable around each other.”
Silas Nelson, class of 2019: “The entire trip was very interesting and important because we got to talk more with our classmates. We got to know them better and we became more of a family, in part because we were stuck in close proximity with each other for two and a half days. I think it was also important because it showed us what life is like without our phones, how much we rely on phones for everything and how little we actually use human interaction. I would do the trip again because it had a good impact on the people who went there.”
Zoe Ingargiola, class of 2021: “In Project Vine we go on field trips all the time. This time we went to Penikese Island. On the first night there, we went to a small part of the Island where past residents were buried from when Penikese was a Leper Colony. The man who was staying on the island with us to help us explained how when two or more people who were very close passed away, say like a mother and a child, they would be buried right next to each other. While everyone was talking, I picked some flowers and set a few on each grave I saw there, just because I thought it was a small, but nice thing to do.”
Colby Balboni, class of 2019: “I think it was really cool that we had some freedom during the trip. We had the ability to explore the entire island and got to learn for ourselves instead of just people showing us around. We got to explore the old buildings and walk along the beaches and the hills, and during the night there was little-to-no light pollution so you could see the stars.”
Levi Vanderhoop, Class of 2019: “The Penikese trip was a good experience. Being on a remote island and being away from technology for a little while was so peaceful. My favorite part was day two and spending it with a person I didn't usually talk to at all but I became good friends with at Penikese. That was something that was happening all trip. I made friends with everyone and became closer with the people I was already friends with. I got to know my teachers better and saw them as humans. I love them already but it was still good to see them outside of school.”
Nate Sawyer, class of 2021: “Penikese was great! I had an amazing time. I definitely can't wait for next year. I think the trip was a very important learning experience for everyone. We got to live in a house, eat together, sleep together, hang out together, play together: like a family. I enjoyed playing pool with my fellow peers and fishing with Joel. I wish we did more night hikes! One thing I have to do next year if we go again is visit the other part of the island. I think this was a great experience and really hope we're doing it next year."
Tristan Blair, class of 2021: “The moment I really enjoyed from our retreat was on the final night: all of the members of the program were all in the living room and we were all in the dark and we just talked. People were all saying great things about our program and how we are a family. I really enjoyed going on the trip and getting to know the faces we see everyday. I liked eating meals with our classmates and getting to know the teachers out of school. It’s a really different experience and I would go to Penikese again.”
Nick Lytle, class of 2021: “One thing I liked about Penikese was when we were allowed to choose what we wanted to do and we could go explore the island. I liked looking for sea glass for one hour and I found a lot. I also liked when we cooked. We had to use a very old oven. We had to put a lot of wood in the fire to keep it going. I wish we could have stayed for a few more days.”
Maddie Youmans, class of 2021: “The ride back from Penikese was bittersweet. As we all loaded onto the boat, people talked of the good experiences they had and also how ready they were to go home. I tried to take it all in one last time: the dorms, the beaches, and the moments I shared with my Project Vine family. It was a hard transition for me. I was given my phone back but wanted nothing to do with it. I saw others grab it fast and turn it on automatically and I didn’t understand. I had an amazing time with no technology, trying to find things to make yourself happy or entertained. In the end, you really find that other people are the most important things.”