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General News · 9th September 2022
Manda Aufochs Gillespie
The Cortes Island Academy update....

After many months of hard work by an innumerable number in our community, it was an incredible experience to witness the 20 students that make up the Cortes Island Academy arrive on island.

The program commenced this last Tuesday with a meet-n-greet at the Cortes Island School with parents, students, homestay parents, facilitators, and more joining in. A student from an island even more remote than Cortes, fell on his knees in gratitude when Julie Keith showed up with pizzas for everyone.

The first day was Wednesday with facilitators and students doing community building exercises to establish the goals, community agreements, and understanding that will make up the foundation which the learning will building upon.

And then it's been outside for the first block, the Outdoor Adventure Leadership course, facilitated by Kai Harvey and Tosh Harvey through Cortes Kayaks. For the next 5 weeks the students will be studying their new homes, exploring Cortes Island by land and water, acquainting themselves with outdoor skills, the local ecology of land, tidal, and water ecosystems.

All off-island students have been placed with four heroic local Homestays (thank you Homestay families!), where they will live throughout the semester making lasting friendships and connections with Cortes Island families and residents.

Stay tuned for more updates on Cortes Island activities over the next 20 weeks of our programming on the island. Visit to learn more or sign up for newsletters.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to making this semester happen, large and small. We truly could not have done this without the support of this amazing community.

Thank you on behalf of the Cortes Island Community Foundation, the Cortes Island Academy, and SD72.

Manda Aufochs Gillespie
Kiera Tsakanos
Jeffrey Lontayao