A group of youth with buckets and tools standing beside a pond

Folk U: Audio Postcards from the Cortes Island Academy

This whole month, Folk U Radio has been partnering with the Cortes Island Academy to feature student work and the music and ideas and voices of the Cortes Island Academy students. There are 20 of them, coming from homes in Cortes and the surrounding area to nations as distant as Germany and Indonesia.   

“We asked the students, what would you write about your experience on Cortes Island? If you were to send an audio postcard home or an audio postcard to someone you know and love, what would it sound like? They were required to record their own voices, they had to record real sound effects, download sound effects, and also get copyright free music. All is part of a project that had to be less than three minutes and would talk to their experiences, and the results have been incredible,” explained Manda Aufochs Gillespie.

Here is the first audio postcard: 

“I have lived on Cortes for six years now. My favourite things are the sunsets, all the pretty stars. I love how nice everyone is here. I love the summers where you can stay out from morning until night, going swimming and going on late night walks with your friends and family. I love the beaches. It’s such a peaceful place to go to whether you’re alone or with friends.”

“I don’t want to say much, but Cortes is forever home. Okay”.

“When I think of Cortes, I think of swimming in the lake with my roommates going on long walks in the sun in September when it was still warm, and getting off the ferry on a cool November morning and seeing driftwood covered in snow slowly make its way out into the ocean.”

The student explained, “What you just heard was my first attempt at explaining what I think of when I think of Cortes. It was half-assed and short and not very descriptive, and honestly just shitty. It was only in the past few days that I started to believe what people have been telling me. My mom told me in the first week that I seemed like a different kid, but I brushed it off and my friends were telling me about how it was glowing, but I didn’t believe it.”

“Even my roommates, who I’ve known for two months, which feels really hard to believe, keep telling me that I look he healthier and happier, and they’ve commented on things about me that they’ve seen. The other night, I was looking through old pictures and suddenly it clicked. I am happier and I am healthier, and this isn’t entirely my own work.”

“It’s this place and this school and this community and these people who’ve got me to where I am now, which in my opinion is the happiest I’ve ever been. So I wanted to thank everything and everyone involved in this course because without them, I don’t think I’d be nearly as fulfilled as I feel now.”

Listen to the rest in the podcast above.

Top image credit: Students working at Dillon Creek Restoration project – Photo courtesy Cortes Island Academy

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