Ten students from Hoboken Charter High School came as volunteers to help set up the Marine Lab the first week of June. Amongst other volunteer work they did on the island, they gathered material and collected specimens for the lab’s tanks. Here are a few of their reflections on the experience.
A.D. : This trip to Star Island was amazing from beginning to end. It took a really long time to get there but it was worth it. Once we had arrived to the island, we went into the building where we would sleep and unpacked our belongings. The rooms may not have been the best, but we got comfortable anyway.
My classmates who attended this trip and I explored around the Island. We encountered many things such as cemeteries, different plants, and most of all, seagulls. As a group, we worked and helped each other with painting, planting, shoveling and traveling through rocks. Overall, this is a trip I will never forget as this was my first time going on an island.
R.A.: Ever since I came and stepped on Star Island I thought to myself “wow this is nice, but this land is not shaped like a star.” The first thing I did was I went to the water and I loved it, the water was nice and clear. When we checked into the room with my roommates we automatically changed the room and made it look a bit more Jersey style. The boys were upstairs while the females were downstairs.
– We went to explore and saw a bunch of graves and seagulls. There were haunted stories of the people who died on this island. The view of the ocean was amazing and I could not take my eyes off of it. I was making coffee every time we ate for my roommates and teachers. The students who attended this trip with me really built a great connection with one another and had a nice vibe going. We became personally close with each other. My favorite memory was when we explored the beautiful island and later played softball.
A.P. : I loved every single moment of this trip. At first I was upset that I wasn’t going to be able to take a shower or use my phone for a whole week. But it wasn’t so bad after awhile. I loved the view of the water and the sunset. My favorite adventure was when we went on the rocks and explored the island.
– We learned so much about the people here — even the dead people. I enjoyed all the play as much as the work. We also learned a lot about our roommates and created a great bond. I had a lot of fun exploring and getting cuts and bruises. I would love to come here again someday to enjoy it just as much.
M.V.: Being the first class to go on this trip was pretty significant to me. Knowing that I was experiencing something that most of my school wouldn’t was important. Not only did I learn on this trip but I also built relationships and memories with people who also shared this experience. This trip is something that I would gladly do again and hope that in the future I can.
B.A.: This trip was an amazing experience and I enjoyed all the people that were on island. Going to the island was fun and interesting and I learned a lot being there and I also built good relationships and memories with people that were there. I hope that I will get to go back to the island and enjoy it all over again.
S.A.: Going to Star Island was a whole new experience for me. I love the fact that we were the first group to experience this trip and not many people got to go on it. Everyone on this trip created a bond because of it. I have built many friendships and memories because of it. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I was able to. No doubt about it.
D.S.: When I found out I was going to Star Island, i was really excited. I did not expect it to be that fun. It was an amazing experience. We were the first group from my school to go on Star Island. After experiencing new things in the island, I expect that our school would make this a tradition where we could come every year. There was a lot of work to do in the morning. We had something to do everyday. One day would be fishing, the other would be putting up the fence on the pier. After 5 p.m, it was dinner time and then we would rest. Going to Star Island with Hoboken Charter classmates made it really fun. On the second day, we played Twister at night and it was really fun. Everyone had a chance to play and have fun. The water is clear and really pretty, I never got bored of the beautiful view. The best day was Wednesday, it brought our group closer. We sat around talking until late at night. This trip brought many memories and new friendships that will stay with me throughout my life. It was amazing and if I had the choice to go back I would.
R.M.: My experience at Star Island was great. I did a lot of things I’ve never done like help put together a marine lab, search for hermit crabs, watch the sunset, rock climbing, crawled through a cave, and painted a solar dehydrator. I would have never gone on an island were the seagulls wanted to kill me.
I had a lot of fun and made friends with people I never thought I could be friends with. Everyone there was nice and they made the experience even better. Star Island is something I’ll never forget.
From an educator’s point-of-view the trip was fantastic. Kids bonded together deeply and the after-effects are still visible at school. They became responsible for themselves and looked out for each other. They made significant contributions to the island as well. They also got hands-on experience setting up the marine lab and collecting specimens.
Above photos by Rebecca Mannix.