23 days have quickly come and gone.

Tonight we celebrate our journey with a farewell dinner and reflection video. To capture the essence of the journey, is no easy task.

For many, it may be the adrenaline rush of countless adventures. From hiking up mountains, to surfing in Hanalei Bay, to swimming with dolphins, to zip lining high above the trees, to a zodiac ride in paradise, these are surely defining moments. For others it may be the quieter more surreal awe-inspiring moments that leaves a lasting impression. Perhaps it was the tranquil gliding motions of Manta Rays, the serenity of Pacific water, the blissful coastlines, a conversation one had with a local expert, or the pleasure of making a home cooked meal using freshly grown ingredients.

Yet for some students, the true meaning of the journey will come from the friendships developed and acts of kindness along the way. Perhaps it was the person you least expected who reached out, a student who helped with an assignment, or a roommate who shared some much needed fruit, or carried your bag up a flight of stairs. Maybe it was the sense of warmth or generosity of the people that will leave a lasting impression. In fact, for many of the students I’m sure the essence of the journey will come from all three elements. While we’ve been fortunate to witness some incredibly scenic landscape, pristine beaches, and underwater sanctuaries, the true beauty comes from that fact that we continue to learn about ourselves, our place in the world, and how we can shape it. What was learned in the classroom is only a small part of what each student will take away on this trip. Throughout the journey, students have challenged themselves from trying to new foods, pushing personal physical boundaries, adapting to the islander lifestyle, to developing a greater sense of global citizenship.

In closing, I would like to extend a few words of appreciation. First, to the students who embraced the journey thanks for looking after one another along the way and best of luck in your future endeavours. To the teachers, the learning itself has been innovative and experiential. Thanks for going above and beyond each day. To the parents, thanks for patience, cooperation, and support. Lastly to the Blyth Academy staff, thanks for your continued support in overseeing the smooth operation of the program.

While the group is preparing to fly home to Toronto, I’m sure they’ll have many more untold stories to share in the days and weeks ahead. Our summer together has come and gone, but for many I hope the journey has just begun.