Tag Archives: Manda Aufochs Gillespie

The Cortes Island Academy looks ahead to 2024/25 & back at the past year

The Cortes Island Academy’s school year is over. Graduation was on January 25. Executive Director, Manda Aufochs Gillespie, just gave Cortes Currents an overview of the 2023/24 semester and a peek into the year that is just about to begin.

“This school year (Sep 2023-Jan 2024), the Cortes Island Academy was a lot of fun.  We learned a lot from our first year. So this year we really got to just revel in the model, the awesome kids and local knowledge holders that came out to make this year happen. It felt to me like a lot more fun, and a lot less trailblazing,” she began. 

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2024 Village Commons Update

From the Cortes Island Community Foundation

Several big announcements were made and a robust list of collaborators were present on February 1st, for an update on the development of the land that is known as the ‘Village Commons’ in Mansons Landing. The meeting had about 36 attendants, including 6 people that virtually attended via zoom. The evening of presentations had a strong theme of collaboration and neighborhood togetherness.

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The Story Behind ‘Keepers of the Land’

The audio version of this story begins with a solitary male voice raised in a seemingly ageless First Nations chant. Then Doug Neasloss, elected chief counselor of the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation, states, “We’ve always had the responsibility to steward, that’s what we are doing.” 

The clip was taken from Deirdre Leowinata and Tavish Campbell’s documentary ‘Keepers of the Land.’ They spent two years working with the Kitasoo Xai’ Xais in Klemtu, more than 350 miles north of Cortes and Quadra Islands.

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A new semester begins at the Cortes Island Academy

The Cortes Island Academy kicked off its second year with a ‘meet and greet’ barbeque on Tuesday, September 5. Students and homestay parents met with some of the people working behind the scenes. School started the following day.

“Right now, the students are just going back into the classroom after being in Carrington for the last four days on a camping trip that started on the weekend and went into the week.  They are still in the  outdoor education fundamentals getting to know each other part of the semester,” explained Manda Aufochs Gillespie, the Academy’s principal Board member.

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Folk U: Open Mic at Friday Live Music

The tenth and last concert in the Friday Live Music Series was an open mic afternoon. Welcoming in the fall on September 1st in the Village Commons tent, the event was a well-attended last hoorah. Performers featured were Louis Belcourt, Sun Rob, Tashi, and Jemma & the Good Thing. Manda Aufochs Gillespie hosted the concert live on Folk U Radio. 

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