Gratitude from the students of Year 13 (2020-2021)
Hello, my name is Will Rackham, I am a senior at The Link School, and this is my
second year here. I grew up in Colorado and I have always loved the mountains and the
splendor that is found within them. I love to be active in the outdoors and a lot of the
time, I find it hard to stay still. This has got me in some trouble but it has also led me to
find a passion for all kinds of action sports. Some of my favorites are snowboarding,
mountain biking, climbing, and skating. Link is awesome for me, because I am able to
tap into my love for the outdoors here. Additionally, I feel really supported here
academically and the marrying of these two things has led to a newfound level of peace
and harmony in my life. I love philosophy and neuropsychology, and although I’m no
expert I hope to get there some day.
Some other random but fun facts about me is that I love my dogs, and all
animals in general, but especially my dogs. Comedy is my pride and joy, even if it’s not
so funny sometimes. I love to make people laugh and forget about the troubles in life for
as long as I can.
Spirituality is a key element of my life and I enjoy exploring everything the
world’s religions have to offer. I really appreciate the space that Link provides to explore
and deepen my spirituality. It has been a really rich part of the experience of being
My dream job is to become a Bush Pilot/Airframe and Power-plant mechanic
and to fly planes in general. Too bad Link doesn’t have a twin engine plane yet for me to
practice on. I’ve been working on a proposal for us to get one but, so far no dice.
In everything I do, I love to push myself, and I try to give my all to everything I
bring myself to.
Link has been amazing this year in so many ways. With everything
going on in the world, it’s sometimes hard to believe that we are even here and
continuing to grow together as a community in this amazing place. With so many things
unknown during these unprecedented times, one thing that is for sure, is that I am not wasting a second of my time here at Link. I’ve been climbing a ton and actually led my
first climb just this week! It’s cool to be able to see myself progress in something I know
I have put so much time into.
For our weekly project time I’ve been working on mechanics and learning the
inner workings and components of automobiles. This has been super interesting to me
and it’s a helpful skill to obtain. I love being able to work on cars and learn how to do
different service jobs on them. So far, I have done oil and oil filter changes, a brake job,
tire rotations, and safety checks. We’re also building this super cool model engine and
it’s really interesting to be able to see firsthand how all the pieces work together.
Finally, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection recently. Link really makes me
want to break down my inner landscape, and see where I could improve as a person
and as a friend. I grew so much last year and made so much progress, and that
progress has led me to discover even more things I can work on. It is energizing to be
Link means an incredible amount to me. I try to wake up early every morning to
watch the sun come up and just reflect on my being. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that
I even go to a school this remarkable. I live with all my best friends, that’s every sixteen
year old’s dream, and no matter how challenging it gets sometimes, it’s nice to take that
time in the morning to center my thought and realize that I am in fact living the dream.
Everyday here is a new opportunity to grow as a leader, a friend, a student, and most
importantly a citizen of the world. Everyday my future looks more bright and Link has
made me realize that I have the potential to do anything. Thank you for making this
With much gratitude,
My name is Lowry Miller. I am a senior, and this is my second year here at Link. I
grew up in upstate New York, where neighbors are about a mile away instead of a
couple doors. Growing up, I was always extremely interested in the outdoors. I spent
much of my time at a farm near my house. While I was there I learned the importance of
hard work, as well as focus through the care of animals such as horses, cows, and
chickens. I came to Link in hopes of finding safety in school. My best friend had passed
away just three years prior to my first year at Link and I knew that I really needed a
change. I find great value in deep connections and solid friendships, and there was a
great lack of that at home and Link seemed to be offering that. So, I came to Link where
deep connections and care for others is the status quo. Link is a place with a community
that is like family.
At Link, my love and respect for the outdoors has grown exponentially. However,
when COVID first hit in the spring of 2019 I hit a wall of personal growth after the
quarantine period and all the students had to go home. Since coming back in 2020, I am
trying to learn how to continue to discover and grow no matter where I am in life. To me,
Link is the best place to learn this tough lesson. “Wabi Sabi” is one of our community
principles this year and we have defined it for ourselves as “finding beauty in growth.”
This year I have been pretty focused on my future and thinking through my options.
Because of Link, my future looks extremely different than it did two years ago.
I used to want to be a rehabilitator for horses, but now I am looking into guiding
and mountaineering. Climbing is by far my favorite activity that Link offers and I would
love to somehow create a career for myself through climbing. I spend my time in Senior
Class looking at certifications, and places like NOLS or Outward Bound to work, and to
move towards these dreams over the next few years. I have also been spending our
weekly project time in Mechanics class with a group of students and James. I have
always been extremely interested in cars and understanding all the intricacies of them.
Not only have I been focused on growing in the afore mentioned areas I have also been
putting a lot of effort into my academics this year and focusing more on school. I am
holding myself accountable to completing work on time, which is something I have really
struggled with, putting genuine effort into classes, and pushing myself to improve.
Balance is something that I have been attracted to ever since I was little. Link is
teaching me how to live a balanced life through all of the activities that we have been
doing, the patience and flexibility of the community, and how everyone is dealing with
To me, the Link School is an anomaly because it changes everyone who comes
here in drastic and beautiful ways. Link has taught me the value of working together,
and the importance of focus, caring for others, patience and many other things. In a
world that is so often divided, Link makes me hopeful. Everyone is unified in their
differences. We rely on each other. That is the most meaningful thing to me – the
connections that I have made. Connections with new people, nature, and myself. I am
allowed to be honest with myself here and to be authentic in my expression of myself.
With that honesty, I am slowly starting to trust myself more and express myself in a
more natural way.
Expressing gratitude is another one of my core values and being allowed to
come to a school in which I can learn in an experiential way, makes me extremely
happy to be here and deeply grateful. I think that everyone should be given a chance to
experience a place like this. It is absolutely life changing for me. I am so grateful for all
the opportunities and options that Link has presented.
With much gratitude and love,
My name is Bennett Rackham. I was born in Denver Colorado and grew
up there. I am fourteen years old and am a freshman here at The Link School.
My favorite things to do are snowboarding and furthering my understanding of
botany. Also, I recently got into rock climbing while at Link which has been a fun new
endeavor for me. I really enjoy the flow and necessary patience that is required in
climbing and snowboarding and I look forward to deepening my skills in these
areas. Link School has already helped me deepen these skills. With the greenhouse on
property, I have furthered my research on plants, life, and sustainability. It has made me
realize how hard it actually is to grow food and this process has enhanced my
appreciation for American small farms and farmers. Also, with the regularly scheduled
program days, I can set my focus on outdoor learning and skill building for things like
climbing, biking, snowboarding, and hiking. This has made me grow exponentially by
teaching me more about myself, my growth, and the importance of a good mindset. For
weekly self-driven project time, I have been reading and learning about metal working,
particularly, black smithing. I really enjoy the satisfaction I get after I build something. It
makes me feel like my hard work and research has paid off.
This year I have also been working on developing my scholarly habits and
improving my skills in things like organization and not procrastinating. I have been
learning from my peers and teachers how I can be better organized. This has and will
continue to help me throughout my life. My procrastination has died down a lot as well
because Link has helped me rediscover my love for learning and motivation for
Spiritually, I have felt my connection to God and Divine Love deepen. Being
outdoors, in such a vast place like the Colorado mountains or the Utah deserts, has led
me to find more beauty and Spiritual connection with everything. Also, thinking about
gratitude more often, as we do during our Wednesday night gratitude meeting, has led
me to be much happier and grateful about my life.
Overall, Link has meant so much to me. I have learned an incredible amount
about myself and others. Link has pushed me to deepen connection with others and
build successful relationships. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be in this
wonderful and beautiful place. The Link School gives me many opportunities that I
would have never gotten in any other high school. Opportunities like wonderful full-time,
and part time staff, to talk to, state of the art facilities that provide joy and education, and
a lodge full of resources and books that can teach me almost anything I want to know.
At Link, I get to further my understanding of Divine Love, and look forward to
that daily practice and study. I have found my academic rhythm and I get to learn new
and exciting outdoor skills which challenge and motivate me. I am one, of few kids, who
gets to come here, and for that, I am grateful.
Hi there! My name is Callyn Saylor and I’m from Virginia. I came to Link for a
year when I was a freshman, went home for a few years, and then rejoined last year in
the second semester. I have been so grateful for the support Link gives me both
academically and physically. I have learned so much in both categories and want to
share a little bit with you of what I have been working on.
For starters, I have been taking calculus and it’s been extremely challenging but
with Link I am in a class alone and am able to get a lot of one on one attention and
support. This has enabled me to find some success. Initially I thought it would be
challenging to be the only student in the class, with no one to help with homework or
study with, but it was a learning process and has proved to actually be really positive. Through this process I have learned how to discipline myself and to be an independent
self-motivated worker. This growth has not been limited to just classes. I have been working on pushing myself physically as well, and at Link, there is ample opportunity for that! This year I got
into a kayak for the first time and practiced new skills – although mostly I was just trying
not to flip. I have also been working on developing my climbing and honing the wide
array of skills needed to be a versatile and strong climber. So far, I have had the
opportunity to try crack climbing, liebacks, a little chimneying, and face climbing. Early
on I decided it was worth the effort to participate in everything Link has to offer. With
that in mind I have really given some attention to improving my mountain biking this
year. This has not been an easy process for me but I have been persistent and have
been fully supported along the way. One Saturday, Summer (staff member), Lowry,
Sophia, and I went to a trail across the valley called “Bacon Bits”. Although I was not
good at mountain biking, I really pushed myself that day because I had a strong desire
to move through my fear and I wanted to get better. That day, I went over every drop
and jump I could see, and with the support of the girls I never fell and had one of the
best weekends I have ever had.
These experiences have been fun and supportive. The calmness that Link gives
while also really challenging me to overcome my fear, is amazing. The staff have acted
with grace and patience as they support us through every step of the process. I will
never understand how I am able to grow so much each year and still grow so much the
next. Thank you so much for your sponsorship. I love being here and am eternally
grateful for the time and financial resources you have given to Link that make this place
Howdy! My name is Connor Rutledge and I hail from great dry Nevada! I am an
artist who loves to sculpt and be outdoors. I meet most things with enthusiasm, but
when I’m tired, it’s hard to get me into a “let’s do things” mood.
Since my arrival at The Link School, I’ve been mostly trying to stay active in
something I’m doing, whether it is working out, doing something art related, or just
making a sword. My schoolwork, my grades and my whole will to do good in school has
improved since I have arrived, giving me somewhat of a relaxed feeling instead of the
stressed one I got from my public school. The service times gives me time to give back
to the things around me and give back to myself. I love doing hard work, especially if it
is building, moving, or just helping people out, and service time helps me do that.
Project time gives me a chance to teach myself something I’ve always wanted to learn
how to do, I’ve been making a sword. I spent a considerable amount of time planning
out what I wanted to do with it, and from the point I am now I can see that my hard work
has paid off. With the school always taking us to go rock climbing, mountain biking, and
snowboarding/skiing, I’ve feel more awake and happy. I used to hate climbing
outside, I don’t know why but the feeling changed after I came here, and even though I
don’t finish climbs outside that much, I am getting better at it. I used to be so afraid of
mountain biking, the rocks and speed made me nervous, but now I see that mountain
biking isn’t that bad and is so much fun. Even though I just learned how to snowboard,
I’ve fallen in love with the sport. I’ve never been so ready to fall down in my life.
Spiritually, I’ve been disconnected. Something happened to me a few years back that
made me believe that there is no God, or no one looking after me. Now I realize that if
that didn’t happen to me, I wouldn’t have wanted to come here. So, now I’ve been trying
to bridge that gap and make a new connection with religion.
Finally, I wanted to tell y’all what this has meant to me. Being in this place and
being surrounded by all of these people has helped me see that people can change,
and it has given me the chance to change. I have been the best version of me I have
been in a while, and I credit The Link School entirely.
Thank you all for helping me get to this wonderful school, this is a sensational school
Hello, my name is Hayley Preston, and I am a junior this year. I’m from St. Louis,
MO and this is my second year at Link.
Some of my favorite things about Link are the classes and then going on trips
and being able to transfer that classroom knowledge into the outdoors. So far, my
favorite trip was mountain biking and climbing in Utah and also a trip where we learned
Swift Water Rescue skills out on the Green River on a section called Desolation
Canyon. Since being here at Link, we have worked on biking, climbing, and boating.
Initially, I felt pretty hesitant to engage in a lot of these activities but after dedicating
myself to the process and trusting in the staff to be clear and patient teachers, I began
to love each of them for what they taught me as a person and how they enable me to
grow. I am now excited every time we go out on trips because I get to focus on learning
The residential aspect of Link is also really special to me. As you may know,
every Tuesday and Thursday we have time to work on our own individual projects, and
this year I decided to work on ceramics and other art-related things like drawing, and
painting. It’s been so liberating to be self-motivated and pursue these individual
passions. It is a nice balance to our highly structured time in other areas of the program.
I have also really enjoyed our service time, during which I have been working on
reorganizing the library and labeling all the books. On top of that, every morning we
have spiritual prep, and I have enjoyed working on a deeper understanding of Christian
Science and learning about healings other people have had.
Coming back to Link this year has meant a lot because I have gotten to meet
new people and go on amazing trips most schools could never do. I also value the
ability to develop unique and meaningful relationships with everyone around me. I have
really appreciated being here because it has helped me have a fresh start. All staff and
students do not judge everyone based on their pasts. I know I have grown more as a
person in understanding others and being patient with them as well.
My name is Jonathan Keller. I’m 18 years old and from Hamburg, Germany.
This is my first year at Link and I’m so glad to be here and so grateful that you guys
make it possible for all of us to be here!
The way we learn here, and the trips we go on – to places I have only seen in
pictures before – is amazing. It really motivates me to study for school because of the
balance between classroom time and field time. We often have an hour of class each
day on trips, but it is more like an individual thinking about something and really
focusing on something with some deeper thoughts. The program is very well organized
and, even if it is complicated sometimes, especially because of Covid-19, the staff and
James always think about something meaningful we can do despite the restrictions we
are experiencing. That is very unique, and I respect all the effort they put into their work.
They enable us to have a good time and lets us experience a number of things we have
never experienced before.
One aspect of Link I really enjoy is that we have project time two days a week
during which we can work on an individual project or do something in a group like
mechanics with James. I appreciate the practicality of a lot of things we learn because
those skills can be transferred to life outside of Link. I feel like it’s a very positive thing in
life to know how to fix a car on your own. Our service work each week is another aspect
of the community I appreciate because it is very helpful for the community. Everybody
works on something on the property which keeps things working and clean. I really
enjoyed working on our bike jumps course during service work to keep everything safe
for everybody. I think it is so nice that everybody is working on things for the community
but also still have time to work on individual projects here.
Link is also a place where people share so many different skills they’ve learned
and help people out whenever they can. It is so nice that everybody has something they
are good at, so we can teach each other, and become better at things that are new to
us. Part of the culture here is that everybody is willing to learn new things.
Everybody is supported by other students and the staff also help out with
everything and anything the students are struggling with. The classes are very well
chosen and are always structured and well organized, and everybody is engaged in
participating in the class work. That is a very nice way of learning and I’m really enjoying
I am so thankful that I can be here and get the chance to experience something
so unique. I know none of it would be possible without the support of our sponsors! All
of you give us the chance to experience something we will never forget.
Thank you all so much! I hope you will have a good Christmas with your families!
Hello there. My name is Sophia Green. I am a Senior and am currently in my
second year of school at The Link School. I am from Santa Cruz, CA but Colorado holds
a special place in my heart. I am a big reader of Fantasy. I also have been riding horses
for eleven years now and am missing it with all this snow. The Link School is what
brought me some light in my high school years when they seemed to drag on aimlessly.
This year I have gotten even more into rock climbing, despite my fear of heights.
Last year was my first time ever climbing outside and one of the few times I ever
climbed in general. With the support and guidance of Link staff, I have slowly been able
to tackle harder and harder climbs. This year I have been able to complete some
5.10c’s and have a goal of completing a 5.11 in the near future. Along with this, I was
able to take part in the Horsemanship program and had an absolute blast. I cherish all
the time I spend on horses and enjoyed getting to ride the horse I have been riding here
and at A/U for the past three years. I even partook in mounted shooting and enjoyed
learning about this new sport. Since the year has now met winter, we are going skiing
every week. I snowboard and last year was my first season. This sport is something that
doesn’t come naturally but I find joy in the learning process and challenging myself to
get up every single time I fall to the slopes. I proceed to work on linking my turns even
though they are what cause my falls. This year has had a big focus on fitness in
general. I have started sticking to a plan with six workouts a week and it is fascinating
and amazing to watch myself get stronger. All the activities at Link allow me to work on
my persistence and having the drive and knowledge that I am capable of anything I put
my mind too.
Link has given me so much. Last year, I was afraid to make the decision to leave
everything I knew and come here. To a school that did all these seemingly crazy
activities that I never did myself. I was unhappy Freshmen year at a gossip filled public
school and then at an independent study school where I was not being academically
challenged. I was looking for a change, and thought, why not? Leaving, and coming
here was the most important decision I have made in my life so far. Last year was a big
delve into my past experiences that I hadn’t reflected on from fear of being hurt. This
year has been a continuation of this exploration. I have a tendency to hide what I’m
feeling from myself. This leads to break downs. But this is where Link has helped me.
The Link community has provided a safe place for me to do this vital exploration and
reflect and learn the hard way. Link is teaching me how to be true to myself, even when
the outside world tells me to be this way, or that. I appreciate being at a place that
ingrains in you a fire. To push when you feel done, to get up when you feel rooted to the
ground, and to allow love to be your guide when darkness seems to be the only option.
All of this is because of you. I am so grateful for you. Without your support, I
wouldn’t be here, and I am so very grateful to be here. Thank you so much.
My name is Raiden Petersen, and I live in Buena Vista. I have been interested in
astrophysics for a while. Right now, I am working to get to calculus for my senior year
even though that seems like it will take forever sometimes, but I know I will get to it.
I have been using my time to learn physics, which is taking a while to
understand. I’ve also been getting into wilderness first responder (WFR) with some of
the staff members here (Summer Herout and Ben Sleeman) who have been helping me
learn some of the many abbreviations. On my road to calculus I have been taking two
math classes this year, which has had its ups and downs, but I’m not the only one in two
math classes. My friend Will is also in two math classes, which is great because I am able to go to him when I need help. Sometimes when I have free time I meditate and
read a book about Zazen meditation. I’m trying to practice so I am able to keep a calm
mindset when it comes to stressful situations.
This school really means the most to me because I am able to keep my grades
up, which was hard for me when I was in public school. This school also really helps me
to be more socially out there when it comes to meeting new people. I just can’t talk
when I am in a group environment instead of just one on one. This school means a lot
to me, and I don’t know how to put it into words. I can’t stop thinking of all the times
when this school has helped me with different scenarios whether it was the students or
the teachers. I know that I would not be able to try to achieve the things I want to do
without Link, and I can’t see myself in any other place.
Hi! My name is Karen Trevor-Roberts and I am a senior at the Link school. I am
from St. Louis, and I am a huge fan of the St. Louis Blues hockey team. I am a huge
hockey lover, as I am a field hockey goalie. Another thing that is important to me is
music. I play several musical instruments, but I mainly play the violin. I also play the
piano, cello, and ukulele. Something else in my life that I feel is really important is that I
am in NLC. NLC has changed my life. Through NLC, I achieved the Congressional
Award Gold Medal. By earning this medal, I learned that I love helping people and
animals, and I also learned that I enjoy doing outdoorsy activities.
At the Link School, we do many outdoorsy activities, which I have enjoyed
tremendously. My favorite activity we have done so far is skiing. When I applied to Link
this year, I was already looking forward to skiing. When I actually got to go for the first
time, I had a blast! Skiing isn’t the only thing I do at Link. During project time, I have
virtual violin lessons with my teacher from St. Louis. I have been playing the violin since
the third grade. I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to continue practicing, as it is
my goal to be in the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra one day, which is one of the top
orchestras in the country.
I’m super grateful that I get the chance to be a student at Link, because I learn
better in this type of learning setting. My grades even show it as I have all A’s and a B+!
I struggled a lot at my old school because I had to finish out the school year online.
Being in person helps me stay focused and more engaged in my studies. I also love
how uplifting the Link community is. Everyone at Link is always supporting one another,
which makes us like a close family. I believe that I have made long lasting friendships
that will last after high school. I love that we go on trips because our bond gets closer
with every trip. Also, many of the activities we do on trips are new for me. On one of our
trips I noticed that I have grown to love mountain biking. I feel like this is amazing because I used to be scared of biking. Link presents so many opportunities that help me
grow as a person. For this reason and more, I am super grateful that I get the
opportunity to be a student at Link and that you helped me get here.
My name is Victoria Geyer. This is my second year at Link. I am from Dresden,
Germany. It is a beautiful city with a river and many old buildings. My parents have been
divorced since I was five. They get along well so I don’t really mind it. Just this summer
my mom moved to Berlin. She works there now. She hasn’t been working for years but
she decided to work again so that I can be here at Link School. I have a brother. His
name is Vincent and he is 16 years old. We get along very well. He is very athletic and
loves to play soccer. He might come to Link next year. I have known my best friend
Paula since 10th grade. We love walking my neighbor’s dogs together. Their names are
Murmel and Balu. Balu is really funny. He can’t sit still and is always chewing on a bone.
I miss them a lot. I am really interested in acting. That is what I want to study after
graduating from Link. I went to the same school for ten years, but after 10th grade, I
wanted something different. I came to the United States in 2018 with my dad and my
brother for the first time. And when we left a month later, a part of my heart was still
here. I was so sad that I could not be here anymore. So, then my best friend inspired
me to go to school here. There was no way that my family could pay for that. When I
was about to give up this dream, my mom found a card in the Christian Science reading
room in Dresden. We just discovered Christian Science a week before because a
kindergarten friend’s dad is the leader of the CS church in my city. The card that she
found advertised to go to a Christian Science school in the states. So, I contacted the
organization and they told me about The Link School and Principia. I liked Link a lot
more from looking at the websites. Then I started applying here.
This year is of course very different than last year, but I am so grateful that we
can be here. This semester I participated in horseback riding at Adventure Unlimited for
the first few weeks. Last year it didn’t work out for me to ride at A/U, so I am really
happy that I was able to go riding this fall. I learned so much from Lach and Linda. We
were doing things that I didn’t even know you can do on a horse. We were shooting and
playing polocrosse and I was jumping for the first time in my life. My riding improved so
much during these weeks. I love all the different outdoor activities we do here. I really
enjoy rock climbing. I hated it last year but my will to succeed is so much stronger this
year and that is what is making climbing so fun for me. Last year I told myself that I
couldn’t climb a route because someone who is a better climber than me struggled at
this. Now, I tell myself that I have to get to the top because I won’t quit. I am much stronger now compared to last year and I enjoy working out. I am really grateful that we
can go skiing during these times. I think no one should take that for granted. Words
can’t describe how happy I am to be here and to get to do all this stuff. I mean my family
is sitting at home all day right now. Germany assigned another lockdown with a curfew.
My brother can’t go to school and my friend, who is a hairdresser, has to stay at home
too. To be here and go skiing, climbing, riding, boating, and go on trips is a blessing.
Last week I taught people how to make a wreath. We went to cut some branches and
then we started to make them. We even decorated them nicely. Making wreaths every
year is a family tradition. Being able to do that here brought a lot of Christmas feelings. I
enjoy making nice origami stars to decorate the school. I wish you could come to visit
and see how we decorated the property. I like all my classes. I see so much
improvement, especially in writing essays. I enjoy learning Spanish. That is my third
language and I want to continue learning it until I am fluent.
As I said, being here is a blessing. I am so happy and I am spiritually growing
constantly. I am a lot more self-confident. I think at Link I am getting well prepared for
life. This school helps me to be independent and to see a little of what it will be like to
live on my own one day. Even though I am sometimes annoyed with the tight schedule,
I don’t think there is any better way to prepare for life after school. Every minute is used
in a good way, no time is wasted. I appreciate that everyone cares about one another.
Last week I had a little dispute with a teacher. I was asking something in a way that I
afterward realized was not nice and she snapped at me. But then she wrote an email
and apologized and told me that I could have asked nicer too. I was so surprised to get
an apology like that from an adult. This really shows that there are good people who
don’t think they are better than me just because they are older. We were open with each
other about how that made us feel and together we are working on a nicer way of
communicating with each other. I have had many teachers who have talked to me in a
way that made me feel small and none of them ever apologized. Her apology really
moved my heart in a good way. Here everyone is equally appreciated and treated, no
matter how old you are. This is what I have never found anywhere else. I am so grateful
for everyone who is putting time and money into this beautiful, unique place. Thank you
Gisela Victoria Geyer