A partnership between Antilles School and the V.I. Department of Education gave local upperclassman the chance Wednesday to swap campuses and read to elementary school students in their classrooms.
The swap was part of Antilles’ first “Canes Care” Day of Giving, a pilot project spearheaded by members of the Upper School Student Council who wanted to provide meaningful community service to organizations on the island. Juniors and seniors from Charlotte Amalie and Ivanna Eudora Kean high schools read to students in Antilles’ Early Learning Center and Lower School.
From Antilles, 50 students were split into two groups that moved between the E. Benjamin Oliver, Yvonne Milliner-Bowsky, Lockhart, Ulla F. Muller, Jane E. Tuitt and Gladys Abraham elementary schools, while Charlotte Amalie H.S. and Kean H.S. each sent 10 students to Antilles for reading sessions with the toddler through fifth grade classes.
“The student reading exchange today was a huge success,” St. Thomas-St. John Deputy Superintendent of Schools Michael Harrigan said. “At all levels, it was an exceptional and positive experience as it promoted literacy as well as collaboration amongst the schools. In fact, the student reading exchange was so well-received that planning has already begun to continue the literacy initiative in the fall.”
Student groups also conducted beach cleanups at Hull Bay and John Brewers Bay, groomed or cared for pets at the Humane Society or offered themselves up as victims for the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency’s “Operation Vigilant” drills, which are ongoing this week.
Another group of 10 students joined the culinary team at My Brother’s Workshop Café and Bakery to whip up some special treats, while the remaining group of 10 stayed on campus, cleaning facilities, planting and painting. Antilles School’s Green Team – an environmental group primarily made up of Lower and Middle School students – also headed off campus Wednesday morning for a cleanup at Frydenhoj Ballpark.
“Continuing our tradition of service learning and creating relationships that foster positive community relations – particularly with other schools – is the true vision behind ‘Canes Care,’” Marva Bennett, Antilles Middle and Upper School Division head, said. “All the schools participating today were united in their sense of purpose, and I also found that everywhere I went, I saw the students were having fun and that the experience was fulfilling and re-energizing for them.”
Antilles thanks Education Commissioner Sharon Ann McCollum, Michael Harrigan and the entire team from DOE; Jenny Hawkes of My Brother’s Workshop; the Humane Society team; and Irvin Mason Sr. along with the team from VITEMA.