Some St. Croix students were back in the classrooms on Monday, October 23 to continue with their education for School Year 2017-18. Although under quite different circumstances due to the devastation of schools by Category 5 Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017, the students returned high spirited with minds in gear eager to learn.
Due to the damages of several elementary and junior schools, St. Croix District Administrators headed by Superintendent Colleen Williams logged heads to come up with a plan to house 8 schools in school facilities not severely affected by Hurricane Maria, namely the Juanita Gardine Elementary School, the St. Croix Educational Complex and the St. Croix Central High School facilities. Classes are also being conducted at the Youth Rehabilitation Center, Alternative Education and the Adult Education programs.
Students of Gardine School are sharing their facilities with Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School students whose facility was severely damaged. The St. Croix Educational Complex facility, opening on October 25 due to an issue with it being used as a shelter, is being used for its students, the St. Croix Career and Technical Education students as well as students from the Arthur A. Richards Junior High School who have been displaced on account of the destruction of their West End facility. Students of St. Croix Central High School are sharing their school with John H. Woodson and Elena Christian junior high school students. Students at the host schools meet from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., while guest students come in from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Morning session students partake in the School Lunch Program from 11:30 p.m. to 12:00 noon just before afternoon session students take their lunches.
The school principals reported a fairly smooth reopening of schools for all sessions. The schools held assemblies for students before beginning the school day. Arthur A. Richards Junior High School Principal Kent Moorehead quickly got students to face the reality that the Complex is their new place of learning. “This is it,” he told the students, some accompanied by parents. “We have to come together and make it work for all of us.” Assistant Principal Doctrine and the 7th and 8th grade counselors also encouraged students to pick up their task of acquiring their education at the Complex facility. The students later followed their teachers to their new classrooms.
The St. Croix Superintendent Office in keeping parents abreast especially parents of those schools in session, held community meetings on Thursday, October 26 at the St. Croix Educational Complex auditorium to roll out the District’s plan for conducting classes for the rest of School Year 2017-18. School administrators along with educational directors and coordinators made presentations to the parents relevant to their specific areas.
All in the entire prospect looks bright as St. Croix schools move on to recovery.