Beka Petersen: I didn’t know that what I would get out of The Link School was a second family.
People who would see me as limitless and as a woman who could reach to the stars or maybe even past them.
Never understood what true support meant until two men showed me and soon became my biggest inspiration or even my father figures.
Never knew that women could speak up for themselves until I surrounded myself with women who do.
Never fully grasped God’s grace and blessings until I unleashed myself from the glue on my feet holding me back. Never even considered that a fear of heights could become part of my favorite sport or that being upside down, spun, and flipped in a kayak could leave me wanting more of God’s love. Never thought that the dark clouds in my thoughts would become mantras of Bible and Science and Health quotes.
Even though I never knew any of these things would happen to just another person in this world like me, they did. And one thing I know now, is that I would never trade them for anything else.
Thank you Link School.
Benji Nickol: Before Link, I was not confident in the things I believed in. I was someone that was scared to start somewhere new with no friends. I knew that it would be a challenge, but I was up for it.
I’m still not confident in everything, but I’m less scared to put myself out there. Now, I feel comfortable to put myself out there in front of others. I am willing to take risks. Now I am a person that wants to take advantage of all the things that life has to offer and all the people that want to help me and care about me.
Now, I am grateful. I am grateful for getting to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to go to Link. I have had so many memories and will never forget the great things Link has done for me. I am grateful for my roommates for putting up with all my shenanigans for all the laughs that went on during the year and for constantly supporting me.
I am also really grateful for all the staff members here. It’s not easy teaching someone that thinks about fishing all the time and daydreams about it in class, however I learned a lot and I will never forget all the things that you have done for me and how important you all are in my life.
I am growing. I think these things have showed up throughout the year when things got tough or when I completed something that was difficult. Our community principle this year was Growing Edge. I thought a lot about what the advantages of keeping that term in mind could do for me. I demonstrated Growing Edge as I struggled on the uphill hike to Harvard Lakes. I saw improvement from the last time I did that hike, as a result of confidence that it was something I could do. I kept my head up and enjoyed the beauty that surrounded me and kept hiking. I have grown and matured and I have found my niche—a place that I can enjoy and reflect on everything I have to be grateful for. This is how I have grown and expressed the idea of Growing Edge.
Bryce Marmolijo: I was many things.
I was complacent & unwilling to try and step into what I did not know.
I was capable, but I didn’t feel like trying.
But throughout my experiences of being surrounded by the right kind of people who are different than me in so many ways, different in all the right ways to make me ask more of myself.
I was stuck.
Then I was running
And now to be able to get to the finish line, I need to find balance.
Callyn Saylor: I was scared, scared to talk, scared of what people thought, and mostly scared of everything that was coming next. But now I am more outgoing, less pressured to be just like everyone else, and feeling more ready to take on the next step of life. Now I know that I don’t have to make the right choice the first time and making a mistake will not make me a bad Christian Scientist. Now I know that the Sunday School answer is not always the answer that the teacher wants, some of them want what you actually think. There will always be something hard but now I am able to deal with them smoothly.
Eric Trevor-Roberts: I was nervous about coming into a new group, and now I am comfortable with going into new groups. I was not the best cook, but this past year I have been able to improve on my cooking skills. I was okay at boating, but I have learned new skills and techniques for being a better boater. I was not so sure about climbing outside, but now I enjoy climbing outside now. I was fearful of single track mountain biking, but now I enjoy single track. Throughout high school I was not wanting to ever take Spanish and since we are going to Spanish speaking countries I had a reason to take Spanish and I now am fine taking and learning it. I was thinking that I had thought of the career that I wanted to go into, but after going on all of the trips my ideas for career choices has changed.
Gunnar Barrett: Before coming to Link I was lost, I couldn’t imagine what the future would bring, beginning to lose interest in the activities that I could not live without. Often feeling sad and unhappy, drifting around like a fly in the wind, I’d be in and out of school, uninterested in anything that was happening there besides ceramics and what my friends were doing. I was very fed up. But then in four days’ notice, I got the option to come to Link. Now I am incredibly happy, I’ve learned so much about myself spiritually and physically. Now I feel capable to do the activities I did before with much greater meaning as well as new ones that I’ve learned here. I have a tight family here that I’ve shared some of the greatest moments of my life with and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Now school is fun to me, in this one semester I’ve learned more than I have in the past two and a half years. I am a proud, happy Link student.
India Espeset-Morrison: Bobby once told me; Hold fast that which is good.
It’s from 1st Thessalonians and when I looked it up later that night the full verse actually read:
Prove all things; Hold fast that which is good.
Prove all things.
I didn’t have a lot to prove before Link. I have always had an image of this person I wanted to become and she’s amazing. She’s strong, but every time I think about her she is different. To become who I want to be, it’s a lot to prove. It’s a road I’m traveling and will always be on, because I am always going to be changing. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this year, I am not even the same person I was five minutes ago. But this doesn’t scare me that much anymore because I know the first step will always be to hold fast that which is good.
Kelvin Elrick: River Rapids
I was like a class 1 rapid. I was like riffles in a river. I would take drum lessons and push myself in trying new things, take tae-kwon-do lessons with my friend to do something that would make me stronger, bike mellow terrain not to not push myself harder but to have fun riding something easy, ride in a sailboat to go out on the water to enjoy a calm ride only really to go out on a day where the wind isn’t blowing that hard, kayak on a calm lake where there isn’t much that could go wrong where I can have some freedom of where to go in a boat, and sled in powdery snow with jumps being built bigger and bigger until my butt starts hurting.
Now I am like a class 3 rapid. I am wave trains and surf waves. I am teaching myself to play drums to harder and harder songs to improve my skill. I am biking the hardest stuff I can find to push myself and work on my biking to become better. I am now sailing alone to get comfortable in stronger winds and teaching my friends to sail. I am kayaking on the lake on wavy days and kayaking rivers to become a better paddler and teach other people to all the things I can do. Now I’ve taken a runner sled down The Link school driveway.
Before I came to Link I had no idea what to do or what lay ahead of my life. Now that I’ve come to Link, Link has put me on a path to success. I now know what I want to do once I graduate. I have many skills to work with and build on I am prepared for life now.
Lia Senser: One significant change that I’ve undergone at this school was that before I came to Link, I was closed off. I was shy. I’d gone to a tiny school in a tiny town with the same people every year since pre-school, and yet I still had felt disconnected from everyone around me. I set up mental barriers against everyone, convincing myself as to why we were too different to be able to be friends. Coming to Link was very scary for me because I didn’t know a single other person who was going to the school. There were all new people in an all new place and I was way out of my comfort zone. It turns out that this was exactly what I needed. Once I got over my initial nerves I felt like I was starting fresh. Supported by Link’s loving community I found myself reaching out to others. This was completely new to me, I had always waited for other people to reach out to me.
Learning how to connect with others may seem small, but to me it made a big impact and it had a snowball effect. The more people I connected with, the more confidence I gained in myself. A greater confidence led to more and more friendships. Pretty soon I was looking at the world differently. There seemed to be less distance between me and the rest of the world. I found spiritual prep time in the mornings to be a very valuable time, reading about other people’s healings and stories. Love started to feel more accessible. I felt a greater sense of community, and not just within Link but within every other community I was a part of.
Before Link, I was closed off, scared of everyone. Now, I am open, sure of myself and of my value to the group, a willing contributor. Obviously I am still working on all of these things, still learning and growing and making many, many mistakes, but it was Link that gave me the shove that I needed to realize I had a place in this world and that it was to love.
Rina Naylor: I was constantly afraid of change and the future. Now, I am accepting the fact that life is always changing and to not fear that change because Divine Love will always provide an answer.
I was certain that I was valueless in the world. Now, I’m learning that even though I sometimes struggle to give myself value, others see something worthwhile in me.
I was not working hard; academically and personally. Now, I want to give my all in all my endeavors and make an effort to make it worth my time.
I was trying to repress my dreams, and ideas because I thought in order to be mature, one couldn’t be optimistic and could only be realistic/practical. Now I am letting my dreams inspire me, letting my optimism be the fuel for making my dreams reality and giving passion to my work.
I was confident in who I am, I’m still confident but I’m always searching deeper to learn more about myself.
I was uncertain what I want from my life. Now, I’m aware that it’s okay to be uncertain because as some of our plans waver and fall through, God’s plan will always guide towards good.
Santiago Doutrich: Before coming to Link, I was a very lonely person. I had no one but my family. Because my father is in the diplomatic corps, I had to leave all my friends every two years and never really stayed in touch with them. After living this life, over and over, I needed a change. A swift decision and I was at Link, a community that I had never interacted with before. Link truly helped me find a connection with the people I needed. They were people who understood me and really accepted me. I was welcomed by friends that connected with me immediately. I was welcomed by staff who truly cared for me. Finally, I was welcomed by a Spanish teacher who was too humble and flexible with me. Now, with all this welcoming, I am a boy with a new family and I no longer feel lonely.