Heritage News

HH Teachers Cruise the Virgin Islands

The feeling of the wind blowing in your hair, the smell of the sea, and the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with casting off the lines and heading into open water have drawn people from all walks of life to sailing. American poet and author E.E. Cummings said of the sport, “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.”

This past summer, Heritage Hall teachers and long-time sailing enthusiasts Nate Toll (US Science) and Rika Toll (ECC) took their passion for sailing to the Virgin Islands, spending four weeks cruising the British and U.S. islands. 

“As long-time sailors who usually sail only one week a year, it was a delightful experience to unplug for an extended period of time. Our daughters, Adelaide ’24 and Josephine ’26, spent three weeks and one week (respectively) on the boat with us, and we had a lineup of friends and family who joined us at different times. Our days were filled with reading novels, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, boat workouts (strength and yoga), journaling, and mastering the sails,” Rika Toll said.

Among the many trip highlights were “watching Adelaide independently dinghy to another bay, visiting the U.S. Virgin Island National Park, witnessing Josphine's desire to learn boat knots and navigation skills, ordering a pizza from a boat pizza joint anchored in a bay, holding moon jellies in our hands, and having limitless time to really listen to each other,” said Nate Toll. 

In the spring of 2023, the Tolls will share the beauty of the British Virgin Islands and joys of the ocean with a group of US students as part of the HH Explore program. During their week-long excursion, students will learn the basics of sailing and much more.

“Sailing not only teaches us many life skills but also about life. Additionally, through our adventures, we have come to appreciate how valuable the real world can be as a classroom. Nothing can compare to experiencing new cultures and seeing different ecosystems first-hand. As such, we are extremely excited for the opportunity to offer this HH Explore course,” Nate Toll stated.
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Heritage Hall is a co-educational college preparatory school in Oklahoma City. As one of the few secular private schools in the state, we offer a challenging academic curriculum for students from preschool through grade 12, as well as unique leadership opportunities, a wide spectrum of athletics, and a well developed fine arts program.