Running for Our Life


Run for LIFE is a half-marathon on August 8, and Summer Theater Camp is returning for its third year on July 6-19. These events will help sustain education on Lummi Island and at Beach School, on track to be authorized as an International Baccalaureate World School in the fall.

Run For LIFE

We think this might be the most waterfront running route in the area. The run circles the north half of the island, with views of the Salish Sea 75% of the time. Begin with epic views of Mount Baker and then round a panorama of the San Juan islands. If we’re lucky, a pod of orcas may just make an appearance to encourage us on! Start time is at 8:30 am for the 14-mile route. Or start at 9 am for the 7-mile and 3.5-mile routes. The 100-yard dash will start at 8:45 am. Walkers are welcome. 

This is truly a benefit for kids and their education. LIFE is doing everything humanly possible to keep costs as low as possible—ideally nonexistent—so that all proceeds can support Beach School and education on Lummi Island. For this reason, this will be an untimed race, meaning you’ll have to keep your own race time. Those timing chips are so expensive to rent!

The team captain that registers the most runners/walkers at the 14-mile or 7-mile level will win a one-night stay and dinner for two at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island. Many thanks to our fabulous Willows Inn team of supporters, this is a world-renowned dining experience!

There will also be a drawing for a yummy $75 Beach Store Cafe gift certificate for folks who register as individuals.

Summer Theater Camp

The Lummi Island Theater Camp offers a creative and structured environment for K-8th graders, for on-Island and off-Island kids. Students will learn to sing, dance and act as they rehearse and perform the musical Bye, Bye Birdie. Teamwork, being supportive of each other, and aspiring to do excellent work will be emphasized. The camp will pursue fun through excellence. Lots of smiles ahead!

Theater Camp will be July 6-19 with a culminating performance. The camp will run five days a week, for five hours a day (half days for younger children) 9:30 am – 3 pm. For more information contact Erna Gregory by email or phone (360) 758-4076.

In years past, students attended from Seattle, B.C., Oklahoma and California. We are fortunate that David Post, Artistic Director of Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (BAAY) has agreed to return for his third year as Camp Director! The first year David directed Annie and last summer it was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.

The 2014 production of  South Pacific  at Beach School

The 2014 production of South Pacific at Beach School

Beach School Enrollment is Down

Projected enrollment for the next school year is 29 students. Tom Phillips joined the LIFE board “out of fear the Ferndale School District was approaching a position in which economic necessity would soon begin a series of decisions that would ultimately threaten the existence of the school.”

Ferry crewman Tom Phillips helps a little passenger with a huge ferry pass

That didn’t happen, but low enrollment continues to be reflection of the resident population and demographics.

Tom went to Beach School. Both his teachers still live out here. “Judy Thomas was my best friend’s mom and ran the old Aquaculture. We used to take field trips down to Legoe Bay and she’d teach us about marine biology. The current school manager, Kathy Thurber, was my other best friend’s mom.” The school is still staffed with people who raised their families here and continue the heritage of learning on the Island.

The International Baccalaureate Program

Beach School manager Kathy Thurber says the IB program “has added depth and breadth to an already outstanding educational program at Beach. Students look, question and focus on the world at large with a feeling of empowerment. Small ratios of teachers to students, World Language Program, and huge parent involvement add to the program’s success.”

With the support of the Ferndale School District, the Beach School PTO, and other community partners, LIFE officially filed the application to be a candidate school for the IB Primary Years Programme. IB schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Beach Elementary School believes is important for their students.

Boosting student enrollment is a pivotal issue in our community. The existence of a vibrant school has an effect on everyone’s enjoyment of life on Lummi Island.

That’s what keeps Tom involved. “My motivation remains: visualizing the Island without the families. For me, without the families there is no community.”

Are you interested in learning more about the Beach School and the IB program?

Mainland families are welcome to inquire as well. Learn more at or contact LIFE Secretary Erna Gregory at (360) 758-4076.