Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 28 January 2007

The Ratner School, Part II: A sense of community

Friday was an exceptional day. One of those days where I just love being an educator. We were fortunate enough to spend the day with the 7th grade from Deep Creek Middle School, which is the local Bahamian Middle School alternative that The Cape Eleuthera Foundation oversees.

The initial meeting in the classroom, and outside of the school was, of course, awkward. However, as soon as the kids found themselves mingling on “neutral ground” and doing normal kid things (e.g. riding on a school bus, exploring a cave and/or climbing a tree), the relationships blossomed. We took a short trip “down island” to Rock Sound to explore some caves and climb around in centuries old Banyan Trees [aka Strangler Figs]. Towards the end of the day, the kids excitedly exchanged emails with their new friends and played “Twee Lee Lee”, an energetic 4-person clapping game reminiscent of “Rockin’ Robin” that I used to play on the playground outside of Long Branch Elementary back in the day. Ratner kids intermingled with DCMS kids. Even the boys got involved in Twee Lee Lee!

Inside the Rock Sound Caves.

Playing “Twee Lee Lee”

The boys getting into it.

Ratner [blue] and DCMS [grey].

After DCMS returned to school, we continued on to explore a beach near Rock Sound that turned out to be pehnomenal. One of the most beautiful/interesting beaches I’ve ever seen. The tidal pools were full of life, and there were great reefs just a short snorkel off shore. The kids were on cloud nine!

Exploring the Tidal Pools. We spotted a Moray Eel, here!
Kids being kids.

Saturday morning was spent learning the basics of sea kayaking, which was a blast, and creating environmental art with found natural materials on the beach. The afternoon brought more snorkeling around campus and a bonfire on the beach [complete with campfire oranges!] that night.

Our Sunday morning visit to the lively Mt. Zion Baptist Church rounded out our community-based long weekend. Here are the kids all dressed up for Church:



  1. hey Helen!

    glad to see you’re off on another adventure and doing what you love. I’m jealous, with the wind chill it feels like 10 degrees outside here in Richmond. soak up those rays and don’t forget to visit home sometime.


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