Students Take Deep Dive into Bahamian Lifestyle

Who wouldn’t want to spend their spring break exploring, learning and adventuring in the Caribbean?

Six students — sixth grader Kaleb Burks, seventh graders Ellie Frenck, Colby Feldman and Katie Philpott and eighth graders Chris Signorelli and Allison Montgomery — were accompanied by middle school science teacher Erin Smyth and her husband for a journey around the Bahamian islands of Nassau.

For a week, the Collegiate crew lived (along with the captain of the boat and his first mate) on a 46-foot-long sailboat, amassing knowledge of their new environment. Students visited uninhabited islands, studied their plants, unique weather patterns and beaches and paid special attention to their only residents: iguanas.

“The weather wasn’t ideal for sailing,” said Smyth. “But we ended up snorkeling at several locations almost every day. [Students] learned a lot about waves and currents and how weather and winds affect them.”


Students learned how to spear for lobster and fish, a skill that looked much simpler than in practice. Yet, when the captain taught everyone how to dive for conch, they had plenty to eat!

After a full day of snorkeling, sailing, eating fresh seafood and swimming with nurse sharks, Smyth directed students’ attention upward to learn about the stars and constellations.

Students were asked to keep up with daily chores like keeping the cabin clean and establishing a rotation for cooking dinner for the crew.

“By day two, [students] tackled their chores with a sense of pride,” said Smyth. “They seemed to have a real sense of adulthood and ownership. It was great to see them work together.”

When asked what he loved about the trip, eighth-grader Chris said, “Probably everything. I took so many pictures so I could come home and show everyone how beautiful it was.”

Smyth and her crew plan to present their photos and finding to the middle school this semester.