GCS Arrival and Dismissal Times for 2016-17 School Year

Goshen Community Schools Arrival and Dismissal Times
Horario de entrada y salida de clases de la Corporación Escolar de Goshen

Normal Schedule (Tues – Fri)
Horario regular (Martes a viernes)

  • Elementary/Primarias – 7:50 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.
  • GMS – 8:35 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
  • GHS – 8:25 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.


Late Arrival (1st day of the week – Mon or Tues after Monday holiday)
Entrada tarde (El primer día de la semana (lunes) o el martes si el lunes fuera día festivo)

  • Elementary/Primarias – 8:30.m. – 2:50 p.m.
  • GMS – 9:15 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
  • GHS – 9:05 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.


2-hr delay due to severe weather (1st day of the week – Mon or Tues after Monday holiday)
Demora de horario de 2 horas debido a clima severo (El primer día de la semana (lunes) o el martes si el lunes fuera día festivo)

  • Elementary/Primarias – 9:50 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.
  • GMS – 10:35 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
  • GHS – 10:25 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.


2-hr delay due to severe weather (Tues – Fri)
Demora de horario de 2 horas debido a clima severo (Martes a jueves)

  • Elementary/Primarias – 9:50 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.
  • GMS – 10:35 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
  • GHS – 10:25 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.



GMS Musical-Lion King Jr.

Goshen Middle School students will present the musical Lion King Jr. this weekend.

Show times are Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m.

Students may pick up tickets from Ms. Miranda Earnhart in the choir room, or parents may pick up tickets in the GMS main office from 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. this week.

Don’t miss this great show!!

GHS Choirs Earn Gold at ISSMA

Congratulations to the Advanced Crimson Chorale (10-12 grade auditioned women, directed by Stutzman), the Crimson Choir (9-12 grade non-auditioned mixed, directed by Snyder) and the Crimson Chorus (9 grade women, directed by O’Leary) who all earned gold ratings at ISSMA district contest last night at Concord High School. Choirs performed 3 concert pieces, adjudicated by 3 judges, and were evaluated on Sight-Reading by a 4th judge. Congratulations to all students who participated!

New RedHawk Logo in GMS Gym

GMS art teacher Melanie Hire spent part of her Spring Break painting a RedHawk logo in the GMS main gym. She had to project the image on the wall and get into a lift in order to complete the painting.

The Goshen Middle School gym is sporting this great new look just in time for the annual Night of Hoops. Come by the gym this evening (Friday, April 21) and check it out!

You may watch the video by clicking on the link below:


2017 Life Skills Prom

GHS Life Skills Prom, April 20, 2017

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

Today was the annual GHS Prom for local Life Skills students. This event began several years ago when a Life Skills teacher advocated for her students to experience the same excitement and anticipation of prom as every other high school student. Since that time it has become an annual event, and it is a favorite for many students and staff at GHS.

Students from Northridge, Northwood, Concord, and the Goshen Young Adult Program joined the GHS class for a catered lunch, followed by  pictures in a photo booth, and dancing. The photo booth and music was provided by Epic Events (Ross and Heidi Elias) who provided their services at a reduced cost, and were absolutely wonderful to our students.

The prom is planned by the GHS student council and their sponsor, Guidance Counselor Jaimie Pierce. Ms. Pierce said that the student council volunteers by putting up decorations, serving the meal, helping with the photo booth, and making sure everyone has someone to dance with, and is having a great time. She said there were also students beyond the student council who volunteered to help because they know the Life Skills students and they wanted to help make their day special.


As you may be able to tell from the pictures, a very good time was had by all of those in attendance. Thank you to everyone who made this day a day worthy of the weeks and months of anticipation. We are already looking forward to next year!

Kindergarten Blast Off

Blast Off (Kindergarten open houses at the individual schools.)

All students should be registered for kindergarten prior to Blast Off. If you still need to register a student, you may come to Central Registration at the GCS Administration Center located at 613 E. Purl St. Goshen. Central Registration can register students Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Blast Off dates:

Chamberlain, Chandler, and Parkside—Thursday, April 20, 2017, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

College Kindergarten—Thursday, April 20, 2017, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Model, Prairie View, Waterford, and West Goshen—Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

If you have questions, you may call Central Registration at 971-4149.

State School Superintendent’s Visit to GCS

Dr. McCormick came to Goshen on Tuesday for a meeting at Goshen College for Elkhart County educators on the U.S. Department of Education’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Prior to the meeting, Dr. McCormick visited Goshen Schools to sit in on a TAP Leadership Team (TLT) meeting at Model Elementary and to visit with central office staff.

In the TLT meeting, Dr. McCormick observed the conversation between Model principal Lynne Peters and the Model master and mentor teachers. They were looking at data, and asking themselves how they could improve and move students forward. As they looked at percentages, they realized that in one area they were very close, but to them it still wasn’t enough. “We want everyone, we want that last 5% to succeed too.”

This is the first year that Model has implemented the New Tech curriculum in their school, for just three of the grades. Next year, there will be full implementation of the program, which uses project-based learning (PBL). They noted that New Tech is a great way to teach, but they were examining ways to combine it with the TAP “stuff” that they have learned over the last few years. “We don’t want to lose the TAP stuff we have learned because it has helped our students and has helped us to become much better teachers.” They discussed how the TAP and PBL languages could work together, and then laughed because they are starting to hear the New Tech language come back to them from students with phrases like “failing forward”.


In conversation with Dr. McCormick, the superintendents explained the TAP process, and how it has helped to improve the corporation from a state-appointed “D” score to a “C”, and now to a “B” score for the last two years. They shared that the principals lead the TLT meetings, giving them an opportunity to lead and teach their staff, and then the master teacher(s) in each building lead the weekly cluster (professional development) meetings with staff.

Dr. McCormick asked how new teachers get trained in the TAP system, and the superintendents said that all new teachers start the year with “new teacher days” at central office, but that the building master teachers typically meet with new teachers to give them extra training, to talk about questions they may have, and to offer support.

Dr. Woodworth stated that through TAP, teachers have more ownership of their professional development and increased opportunities for leadership in the corporation. They reportedly like working closely together and sharing ideas through professional development. Considering the increased observations and professional development that are inherent in TAP, Dr. McCormick asked how the superintendents get feedback from teachers about how they feel about TAP. The superintendents said that there are several surveys that the teachers take at the end of each year that provide data to gauge teachers’ feelings and attitudes toward several factors including the career pathways, professional development, and collegiality.

Dr. McCormick asked the superintendents about budgetary concerns for the school corporation, and because of the costs associated with TAP, how it might be sustained. Currently, there are some very real concerns for next year’s budget. However, Dr. Woodworth stated that it is not likely that GCS would give up TAP because of the effectiveness of the program and how it has contributed to student improvement and teacher effectiveness in the corporation. She added “We apply for any grants that we can, and we might just have to get creative.”

The conversation finished with some consideration of current bills being proposed by state legislators, and how Dr. McCormick is feeling about things after a few months in office. She stated that she is “very glad to have a good team of people” around her.

Dr. McCormick stated she was very impressed with Goshen schools, and the results being achieved by the students and staff. She said that the state is looking at how to develop leaders in education, but that it looks like Goshen already has some good ideas about school improvement and developing leadership in their professional staff.

It was Goshen’s honor to host Dr. McCormick for the afternoon, and we hope that it will not be long before she returns to visit our schools to see more of the wonderful things happening for our students and staff.

4-10-17 Board Recognitions

Staff and Student Recognition:

GHS Science teacher, Andy Brubaker: Upon receiving a 2017 Teacher Creativity Fellowship grant. He will use the funds for a biking trip on the Colorado trail. He will be taking the trip with a friend. While on the trip, they will volunteer for the foundation that maintains the trail, as they want to do something to give back. The idea behind the project is sustainability, and he will make a video after the trip to report on it.

GMS Master teacher Liz Martin: For receiving a Teach Plus Policy Fellowship. The fellowship is a group of Indiana teachers who want to connect with state legislators and work with them on school policies. Ms. Martin stated that she met Dr. McCormick, in February, and she has presented to the education committee about the importance of mentoring new teachers. She stated that the legislative committee asked her a lot about TAP.

Technology Director Dave Snyder: For leadership in Technology. Mr. Snyder was recently featured in a national publication for K-12 educational technology. Mr. Snyder and the whole technology department have been diligently working with the schools as GCS implements the 1:1 computer initiative corporation-wide.

The GHS Varsity Winter Guard: For their poise under pressure, as their music cut out completely during their show in Pittsburgh. The students continued their show in silence, and earned the enthusiastic support of the crowd.

Please click on the link below to watch the video of the event:


Dr. Woodworth, Winter Guard Director Takesha Stoll, GHS Winter Guard seniors Carrie O’Dell, Micaela Cacahua, Analia Valdez, and Melissa Viruez, and Mr. Merino

Merit Students Complete Project at LoveWay

Click on the link below to read the story from the Goshen News:


As part of their education at Merit, students are asked to do a service project to assist disabled people in the community. On Wednesday afternoon, some of the Merit students and staff members went to LoveWay to see the sensory trail that they have been working on since September. The project, which was built using exclusively recycled or up-cycled products, was led by Merit Instructor Suzanne Juday who has a background in fine arts.

In the early fall, students helped with some practical needs at LoveWay, such as putting mulch on the trail. In the colder months, they worked on items to decorate the sensory trail to give the therapeutic horseback riders something to look at which would engage their senses.

LoveWay director Eric Pianowski stated that he spoke with the Merit students when they first came to LoveWay, and explained the non-profit therapeutic riding program to them. He let them know that by providing the work and materials at no cost, LoveWay would save money, and thus be able to use more of their funding to provide scholarships for more kids to ride. After showing everyone the completed trail, he stated “I had no idea it would be this grand!”

Thank you, Merit students. Well done!



Good of Goshen Photo Challenge #RedHawkPride

Calling all supporters of Goshen Community Schools!! We invite you to participate in next week’s Good of Goshen Photo Challenge, during the week of April 17-21. Please see below for details. We can’t wait to see you chronicle your great RedHawk Pride!!

At the end of the week, the photos will be judged by the Good of Goshen team. The winner will get to see their winning photo as the Good of Goshen’s Facebook and Twitter cover photo for an entire month, and will receive a $25 gift card to a local business of their choice!

April: #RedHawkPride  Contest Dates: April 17 – 21  Let’s gooooo Hawks! Share your photos that relate to Goshen Community Schools. Whether it be at athletic events, school plays, concerts, field trips, or portraits of teachers or students, we invite you to show us your RedHawk pride.

Rules: To participate in the Good of Goshen Photo Challenge, post photos to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the following hashtags: #RedHawkPride + #GOGPhotoChallenge + #GoodOfGoshen

Photos must be posted within the contest date range in order to be judged. Participants can post no more than three entries.

The winner of each month’s contest will be announced on the Monday following the contest week. In order to claim their prize, winner must email goodofgoshen@eyedart.com with their choice of gift card. To pick up their prize, winner must come to the Launchpad (above the Goshen Chamber of Commerce) at 234 South Main Street between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Winner must present a valid ID for proof of identity.

All photos entered will be shared on the Good of Goshen Facebook page at the end of the contest week.

Branden Beachy is an amazing photographer (photo above), but don’t let him be the automatic winner, GCS. Participate!! Let’s see your RedHawk pride!

In Memory of Susan Ellington

On Monday evening, Goshen Community Schools lost long-time orchestra teacher/director Susan Ellington to cancer. There have been many tributes by former students and GHS faculty members on social media, and many expressions of support for Susan’s family. Susan was very special, and she will most certainly be missed. We take comfort in the fact that her love of music and people has been instilled in the hearts and minds of many students, and that her love will continue to grow through others.

The following is one tribute from a former student:

We weren’t the brightest students in the world, though we liked to think we were. We weren’t the best instrumentalists either. Trust me, if you’ve heard Carmel HS in Indianapolis play at ISSMA competition, you know that to be true. But there is something that we all had that we knew was special. We had Susan Ellington.

In all my years of playing in orchestra in Goshen Community Schools, I never had a director quite like Mrs. Ellington. She was kind, fiercely passionate, and she never gave up on her students. Each one was precious, and each one had a gift. She believed in the power of music to bring students of all backgrounds together. No, we weren’t always perfectly in tune. Sometimes the first violin section would muddle through a phrase of particularly challenging 16th notes, and play very confidently on the cadence of the phrase. Mrs. Ellington always pushed us to be the best that we could be, but at the end of the day, we were creating something special together. It didn’t have to be perfect for her to be proud of the work we had done. We were all beautifully flawed people coming together to work towards a common goal.

Mrs. Ellington has done so much for music education, and thousands of students have been impacted by her work. Brava, Susan. You will be missed, but we celebrate your life through song and fond memories.


Written by GHS graduate Emma Roth.

Daughter Kendra Ellington Nafziger and Susan Ellington

Funeral Arrangements are as follows:

Visitation will be at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home (1911 S. Main Street, Goshen, IN) on Friday, April 14 from 2:00-4:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm. Celebration of Life on Saturday, April 15 at 1:00pm at Eighth Street Mennonite Church (602 S. 8th Street, Goshen, IN) with graveside service immediately following at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Elkhart County Symphony at P.O. Box 144, Elkhart, IN 46515.

The following is a poem that Susan offered to her graduates:

We Have Made Music

 Isn’t there a kind of sample brotherhood in the making of music?

Just a sample, under conditions that are transitory.

But one which might grow if it could be remembered and nurtured?

 Making music together is hard work that is fun.

Making music together creates a kind of brotherhood where failure is everybody’s loss.

Where success is a victory for all, where differences and inherited beliefs have no relevance.

We create a new world for a few moments; we are for a time in pastures green…

and remembering, wish the world could be like that, forever.

Thank A Teacher Campaign

2017 Goshen Community Schools Foundation

Thank A Teacher campaign

Flowers are beginning to bloom, spring break is over and the final countdown begins! As our thoughts turn to summer, let’s take a moment to reflect and celebrate the hard work and dedication of our Goshen teachers!

Ever wonder what to do to show your appreciation for a great teacher?

Here’s an easy win-win solution! Make a contribution to the foundation in honor of your favorite teacher(s). During Teacher Appreciation Week (May 1-5, 2017) we will honor the staff member of your choice with a commemorative card highlighting your words of thanks. School principals will be notified of all staff who receive this special recognition. We will also recognize all honored staff at the Goshen Community School Board meeting on May 22, 2017 and through the local media.

Your donation funds future grants awarded throughout Goshen Community Schools to encourage and support creativity, innovation, and excellence that furthers opportunities for the educational community. Help us recognize the great teachers working throughout Goshen Community Schools!

Click on the link below, and follow the prompts for Thank A Teacher:


Forms may be submitted online, or printed from the website.

Thank you to all of the wonderful, dedicated teachers at Goshen Community Schools!

GMS Orchestra-ISSMA Award Recipient

Congratulations to the Goshen Middle School orchestras and directors, Sean Patrick, Zac Coudret, and Jay Pfiefer, for being named a recipient of the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) All-Music Award for 2016-2017.

The award has been given to our talented young musicians and their dedicated directors upon recognition of “outstanding musical accomplishments” during this past year. ISSMA will present the GMS orchestras with a special banner to display in recognition of their musical achievement.

Congratulations to the students and staff, well done!


GHS Gold Medalist/Art & Writing Award

Gold Medalist-Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2017

Goshen Community Schools is pleased to announce that Elkah DeVoe has won a Gold Medal in the Drawing & Illustration category, with her piece entitled “Resilient People.”  A Goshen High School junior, Elkah DeVoe has been identified by panels of creative professionals as one of the most talented young artists and writers in the nation! This year, more than 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted, and only the top .5% were recognized at the national gold medal level. Her piece will be sent to New York City to be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until the end of June.  She is the only gold medal student at GHS this year whose actual art work will be shipped to New York.

As Goshen High School Art teachers, we are very proud of Elkah. Please join us in congratulating her for this outstanding achievement!

Cindy Cooper, Thomas Zuber, Lindi Cranston, Betsy Poling, Susan Long

Crimson Percussion Ensemble-State Champions!

The GHS percussion ensembles went to work last weekend, doing what they do: Traveling, making percussive music, listening to their directors, and winning! The concert group, with their show entitled “Winter Solstice”, was the state champion at the Indiana Percussion Association state finals on Saturday, for the fourth time in a row! Their 91.75 first place score put them ahead of 2nd place finisher Fishers High School at 87.15, and 3rd place finisher Lake Central High School with 78.0.

Students in the 2016-17 ensembles include: Carson Adkins, Angel Bazia, Octavio Blacut, Daniel Bowser, Zach Buckmaster, Javier Castillo, Emanuel Contreras, Angy Cruz, Melissa Daniels, Paul Drescher, Arturo Escobedo, Cruz Garcia, Jonathon Garcia, Bryan Garcia, Alex Garcia, Arely Garcia, Nathan Garratt, Daniel Guipe, Isaiah Kauffman, Samantha Linares, Oscar Lopez, Maddy Martinez, Hank Miller, Eve Miller, Jose Montanez, Bryan Moreno, Noe Palacios, Pablo Palacios, Sam Peeler, Fabian Perez, Arthur Peterson-Veatch, Joana Regelado, Oscar Peterson-Veatch, Sasha Rivera, Yaira Roman, Kevin Sanchez, Ashley Sanchez, Matthew Schrag, Dylan Steury, and Ben Taubert.

For those unfamiliar with percussive arts, here is some explanation of this sport of the arts:

Percussion Competition Classifications:

Scholastic – Units whose membership comes from the SAME High School or a school that feeds to that particular High School.
Independent – Units whose members are not necessarily associated with a particular school.

The units are then further divided into classes:

  • A Class – Beginning programs and performers.
  • Open Class – The intermediate developmental level of performers.
  • World Class – The most advanced programs and performers.

Goshen High School competes in the most difficult category, world class. So, when Goshen won their category at state finals, they were in PSCW (Percussion Scholastic Concert World). Goshen also has a marching (or movement) group, and their category is PSW (Percussion Scholastic World). That group earned 4th place at state, with their show entitled “What a Wonderful World”.

As a GHS extra-curricular activity, participation in percussion is elective, and something done completely outside of the school day. How much do they practice? A lot. Through practice and repetition, the students learn advanced music and marching skills, discipline, cooperation, and leadership skills, all while competing at the very highest level possible. In fact, at this time, GHS is the only high school in Indiana, and one of only a handful of programs in the USA, to have two world class groups.

The percussion staff consists of directors Derrick Shannon and Chris Murphree, assistants Alex Hinds, Jonathon Carr, Jessica Holcomb, and Rocco Duranti, with administrative oversight from band director Tom Cox. It is interesting to observe one of their practices. Derrick Shannon, is a focused, relatively soft-spoken guy, but he clearly has the attention of the students at almost any given moment. Even when the kids are playing and it is loud, he can stop the action with just a quick whistle. Then, everyone turns to him for the direction that is sure to be forthcoming. It is something to see. Kids will be kids, and these students are certainly no exception; but when Mr. Shannon whistles, the students stop what they are doing and pay attention.

The program has been in existence since the 2002-2003 school year, but due to a couple of changes in directors, participation was down for several years. Mr. Shannon has rapidly grown the percussion program, and has quickly earned the students’ respect. He has connections in the business, and has procured some valuable sponsorships and instruments for the GHS students. It hasn’t always been that way, and the students know it; they take a lot of pride in what they have and what they do, and it shows. The commitment to the teaching staff and to the percussion program are evident, as even students who are not percussionists in marching band sign up to participate in winter percussion.

The percussion groups compete in the Indiana Percussion Association (IPA) and Winter Guard International (WGI). In IPA, GHS faces schools from around the state of Indiana. In WGI, GHS faces schools from around the country, including perennial powerhouse groups from California, New York, Texas, and Michigan. Below is a list of the honors and championships earned by the GHS percussion groups over the years:

IPA-Indiana Percussion Association

2003, State Championship in Concert A

2007, State Championship in Concert World

2009, State Championship in Concert World

2014, State Championship in Concert Open

2015, State Championship in Concert World

2016, State Championship in Concert World

2017, State Championship in Concert World

WGI-Winter Guard International, Sport of the Arts

2005, WGI Championship in Concert Open

2006, WGI Runner-up in Concert World

2008, WGI Runner-up in Concert World

2014, WGI Championship in Concert Open

2015, WGI Runner-up in Concert World

That is an impressive list, to be sure! And now, they are gearing up for another WGI competition in Dayton, OH in about 2 ½ weeks. Prior to their trip, they will give a send-off/preview concert of their 2017 percussion shows in the GHS main gym. The date has not yet been confirmed, but stay tuned to Goshen Community Schools Twitter and Facebook for more information, and then come out and see these fantastic musicians in action!

Below are some pictures from their show “What a Wonderful World”.

Intriguing, aren’t they? Come to their preview show to see what they can do.

Best of luck at WGI, Crimson Percussion!

Merit Students Complete Project at LoveWay

High school students from Merit Learning Center in Goshen have been working on a service-learning project at LoveWay since September of 2016. On Tuesday the 11th of April they will install the grand finale of their service-learning project, four landscapes for LoveWay’s sensory horseback riding trail. On Wednesday students and faculty will be coming back to LoveWay to see the trail in use as LoveWay rider’s experience the updates for the first time.

When the weather was agreeable, the students would come and work once a month on cleaning the trail and laying mulch. When the weather turned colder they began working on large art projects, essentially mini-environments or landscapes that will be installed along the trail. LoveWay’s sensory trail is used as part of their therapeutic riding classes for youths with special needs. The idea behind the trail is to engage the students’ senses as they guide their horse along the quarter mile path. The students love the experience and so do the horses.

Two groups of students will be coming out on Tuesday the 11th to install the project, one beginning at 9 am and the other at 1 pm. Then on Wednesday Merit administrators and a smaller group of students will be there as well. This has been a great opportunity to see high school-aged students empowering younger individuals with special needs; impacting both groups of people.

Nice job, Merit Learning Center students and staff!!

Field Studies, Turtle Hospitals and Group Photos

See photos of the our day here.

Today is beautiful yet again, however we have a very nice breeze which keeps the heat down a little bit.  I’m a bit nervous to even admit that considering weather reports back home suggest snow today for Goshen.  To make all of you feel a bit better I will let you know about the amazing scent that permeates the air here.  As Dylan Steury has told his mom, Michele Fanfair Steury, “You know you are in the Keys when you smell that!”  The sea grass that decomposes along the edge of the sea wall causes the most “awesome” smell of methane you can imagine.  Some days it’s not very noticeable however today because of the wind working sea side is pretty stinky.  The other day I saw a T-shirt that said, “You smell like low tide!”  Quite appropriate for down here. Despite the smell, and honestly it’s not that bad most of the time, working here is amazing.

Yesterday the students worked on their field studies which will be presented today, Thursday, at 4:00pm.  It’s crunch time as all work needs to be completed before we leave Friday morning.  Some have been keeping up, but there are always some procrastinators.  Shocking I’m sure! :)

Second year students spent the day at the Coral Reef Restoration project in Key Largo with Alex Neufeld, a GHS Alumni.  I haven’t had the chance to talk to anyone about their experience up there, but hope to later today.

The chaperones and kids went out to John Pennekamp to experience the reef.  It was pretty amazing seeing the more colorful fish and coral that lives out there compared to that living off of the resort.  Because the resort water environment is grassy and muddy, the fish that live there tend to be less colorful so they can blend in.  It’s been a great learning experience.

The afternoon was filled with trips to The Turtle Hospital in Marathon.  The place is amazing.  We learned there are 7 species of sea turtles and that 5 live in this area.  At the time of our visit there were only 4 there.  Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, and Kemps Ridley.  The Leatherback are not typical patients of the hospital.

Turtle patients come to the hospital when they get calls from people like you and me who have found them stranded or sick.  You can tell a turtle is sick if they are floating on the water or have a lot of barnacles on their shells.  Some amount of barnacles is common, but having a lot means they are not swimming and diving much.  Those that find and call in the turtle rescue get to name it.  Hence the really odd names they have there:  Smelly cat, Little Fat Briana, George (which is a girl), Poppy, Tippy, Chuck Norris, Franco, Bubble Butt.  This list goes on as there are 47 turtles currently residing there.  Some are permanent residents while others are there temporarily.

To be released as a turtle you must have at least 3 working flippers and 1 eye.  For a few turtles, this has held them back. Shark bites, boat propellers, and other accidents have led them to multiple amputations and poor eyesight. Without flippers they can’t dive and swim.  Another reason that a sea turtle cannot dive is if they have “bubble butt syndrome” which is what happens with a turtle gets hit by a boat or something else which causes a deformity in their shell.  The syndrome was named after “Bubble Butt”, who is a permanent resident at the hospital.  You can immediately tell a turtle has this because they cannot dive and they have a very conspicuous lump on their shell sticking out of the water.  These turtles also have air trapped in their muscles resulting from their impact with the boats.  The hospital has tried many ways to release them of this air, but have not been successful.

Last night we had yet another amazing meal of hamburgers, brats, and numerous salads.  I’ve been so impressed by the meals prepared here.  We are very blessed to have such an abundance of food.  After the meal we had the annual group photo.  Because we had such a large group this year, 163 people, we took a few smaller group photos as well as the big one.  Below you can see us in our lavender shirts.

All of us!

Marine Biology Students

Marine Biology Staff

Chaperones and kids

Island Grill Videos

Sorry for delay with the videos from Tuesday night’s Island Grill meal.  As I said yesterday, the Coconut Cowboys really know how to get a party going and to encourage the students to dance and sing along with them. The highlight of the evening was the mash up of Beatles songs with Riley Bove.  Also enjoy the entertainment of the backup singers and Sweet Home Alabama.


Pennekamp, Coconut Cowboys and The Beatles

See photos of the day here.

Tuesday the students and some staff and parents went to John Pennekamp for a snorkeling excursion.  This is a favorite for many as its a chance to see some larger and more brightly colored marine life than what is visible outside of our resort.  Pennekamp is a roughly an hour from the resort depending on traffic, so they headed out early.  For those of us staying back at the resort it was a very quiet day.

After the snorkeling trip they had a short amount of beach time and then time to get cleaned up for the Island Grill.  Every year the restaurant closes down for the group meal.  They serve an assortment of items such as Mahi, chicken, burgers and vegetarian options.  This year they were also entertained by a band called the Coconut Cowboys.  Reports say they were pretty amazing and had a great knack for getting students to sing with them.  I will be posting video of this later!

The busses arrived back at the resort around 8:30 just in time to roast marshmallows and have s’mores to end a pretty great day!

Today the remainder of the adults and kids will be heading to Pennekamp so I have to cut this short.  Look for the videos of the dinner later tonight.



Bights that sting, puke fests and prom proposals

You can see photos from our day here.

Yesterday by far was the one of the most interesting days.  It started off fairly normal with students heading off to their respective habitat studies, and excursions, but one by one, the stories starting coming in.

During the afternoon the 2nd year students took the pontoon to a location called Triton Flats.  There assignment was, according to Kyle Taft, “To collect biodiversity and quadrant data. While there we also found a sea hair, we named it Papa Shrek.  It looks like a large black slug with wing like fins on the back of it.”  In previous years Kyle said they found another that they had named Shrek.  As you can see on the link they do look a bit like Shrek!

Apparently this black slug like creature was a favorite of Sara Taft, something known by Camden Lacy.  He used it as inspiration to ask her to prom while out on the flats.  Rumor has it she said yes.  I’m sure it will be prom proposal that people will remember for a while.

Also during the afternoon a group headed out to a location called “the bight”, pronounced “bite”.  Among those on the trip were Christina Haimes and Pete Biddle. They were out snorkeling the area and were not seeing much.  According to Haimes, “We thought we would head to the mangroves were we have typically seen better marine life.”  So off the two of the went.  Soon they found themselves in very shallow water, about a foot deep, that was mostly sediment and grass.  What they didn’t notice right away was that something was living there, a lot of somethings.

“We floated into this area that was really shallow and as I looked down I quickly realized that it was home to jellyfish. A lot of them.  I tried to stay calm and not disturb them by just moving my hands and flippers just a little in attempt to get out of there.  Pete was trying to do the same thing.  Stay on the surface and move as little as possible.  Unfortunately it wasn’t enough because we were both stung quite a few times.  My biggest fear while snorkeling has been to be stung by a jellyfish.  I can tell you now that it hurts, a lot.” Biddle had a body suit on so he didn’t get the welts caused by the jelly fish stings.  Haimes had quite a few all over her legs about the size of baseballs.  By the evening and after using cortisone cream, she was feeling better.

And just because I know you are all thinking it, although Haimes had offers, she didn’t allow anyone to pee on her stings.  “That is a myth!”, she exclaimed.  :)

The evening seemed to be fairly relaxing for some of us.  The place was quiet as many were out on the second night fishing excursion.  The first night went really well, lots of fish caught, quiet seas, only one got sick.  What a perfect time THEY had.  As I was heading to breakfast I began to hear the stories of a not so perfect night.

WARNING: Don’t read further if you are prone to sympathetic vomiting!

They are calling it a “puke fest”.  Forty-two passengers were aboard and only 8 managed not to be sick.  It started in the front of the boat when someone “let it fly”, spraying those down wind.  (I imagine it was something out of a movie.)  From there on they started dropping like flies.  The conditions were not ideal.  High waves and rough seas kept them from going out as far as the previous night.  The boat was rocking and even though they took precautions, it wasn’t helping.  Sara Holsopple said, “They warned us that it was rough and people were going to puke. Eventually I just closed my eyes and leaned forward.  It helped.”

Dani Smith was perhaps the worst off.  ” I just hung over the side of the boat until it stopped. (which was hours) Then I tried to lay down and just get through it.”  Some didn’t get sick but felt nauseas the majority of the time.  You could find people laying down wherever they could squeeze.  One student was sleeping on a bench and fell off.  “I heard a thud, ” said Josh Haimes, ” and he was down.”

Those that didn’t get sick actually caught quite a lot of fish.  I believe we have 27 lbs in total.The fish kept will be filleted and eaten on the last night we are here along with all of our other left overs.

For those of us that didn’t go, well, be glad you didn’t.  For those that did, I hope you have a better time at John Pennekamp snorkeling today and that the seas are calmer.  And if you do feel sick, jump out first please!




GHS IB Student Featured in HIBS Newsletter

Goshen High School is pleased to announce that one of their students, senior Charlie Collins, had a full-page story featured in the Newsletter of HIBS-Hoosier Association of IB World Schools. Charlie, who is also a varsity football and baseball player for GHS, is an IB diploma candidate on track to graduate this spring. His article reported on the collaboration of IB students from GHS and from Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, of Flint MI.

Click on the link below to read the article:

Vol.2 – Issue 3 – HIBS Newsletter

Welcoming the students from Flint (on the left, holding the sign).

#19, entering Foreman Field.

Again, #19. (This picture is from a previous year.) Charlie is in his last athletic season as a RedHawk.

Thank you, Charlie, for representing GHS so well, in both the classroom and on the athletic fields. Good luck next year!