The Exeter Summer 2017 CSI cluster trip was definitely full of laughs and good times for all involved. We began our day on a small ferry headed to Star Island (one of a cluster of small islands known as the Isles of Shoals), just off the New Hampshire coast.

As we got to the island, the fog began to clear, revealing the kind of landscape that you would imagine an indie teenage love story to be set on. White houses, a clear blue sky, stony beaches, and long grass that swayed in the wind. The entire class was given 50 minutes to begin planning their homework for the night, which was to write a murder mystery story set on a Star Island-like world.

After lunch, we all went our separate ways. Some explored the hotel, the island’s main building, to get a greater sense of island life. Some went down to the beach to take pictures, and some went tidepooling. The ones who went tidepooling found many different types of crabs, snails, and water bugs in the puddles in the rocks that were left when the tide receded. Those who went to the hotel learned about how the island has to conserve energy and water in order to survive. CSI student Nina Webber (age 13, from Newton, MA) spent half the afternoon tidepooling and half in the hotel and said that the trip “was educational” and that “there was a lot of inspiration for our stories.” Overall she found the trip “very enjoyable.”

After a wonderful afternoon of exploring, we all boarded the ferry back. After dinner, we had the extraordinary opportunity to sit down with Anthony Amore, Director of Security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. Like an art detective, he is currently chasing the paintings stolen from the museum in 1990, over 27 years ago, and still the biggest art theft in the world.

He gave us an inside look into the chase for half a billion dollars worth of art. The nuances of his job are more complex than one might think, Mr. Amore has been chasing these paintings for about 20 years. He knows every single detail of the heist backwards, forwards, and inside out. We were also offered the opportunity to ask him some questions, and it is easy to tell that Mr. Amore does not take his job lightly. Everybody in the cluster was in awe of him. CSI student Phelps Tin (13, from Hong Kong, China) describes Mr. Amore as, “Very respectful. Even though we weren’t as important as him, he treated us as young adults. [He was] fantastic!.”

To sum it up, the day was educational, inspiring, and most importantly, incredibly fun.