April 17, 2006 – Under the cool shade of stately palm trees and to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, about 100 children trampled through the sand and grass at Magens Bay Beach in search of 225 Easter eggs at a party hosted Monday by FirstBank Virgin Islands for its Students First Kids Club members.
The hunt began after a bulls-eye toss, a face painting session, and a chance for the students to make balloon animals. There was even an appearance by the club's mascot Seemore the Sea Turtle, who took pictures and danced with some of the younger attendees.
When the hunt was announced, some kids, like 2-year-old Shan'non Caracciolo, preferred Seamore's company to combing the landscape for eggs, while others took the challenge more seriously by branching off into groups and huddling in various spots to devise strategies on where to look for the next egg.
In most cases, the youngest in the groups were told to rifle through smaller tufts of grass, while the eldest decided to investigate larger bushes, and sometimes, even climbed the trees to see what was hidden among the leaves.
"Look – I found one," said Bria Joyner, a 9-year-old student at Ulla F. Muller Elementary while digging through a pile of leaves. Squealing with delight, she showed off a yellow egg patterned with flowers to friends, before cracking it open to reveal a collection of candies and small toys.
After the hunt, the students – who ranged from 2 to 13 years old – sat down to empty their egg collection bags, to eat their candy while discussing who had taken in the most loot.
"I had so much fun," Joyner said, emptying a bag with 15 eggs. When asked about her egg-hunting strategy, Joyner said she took advantage of being one of the older students at the event.
"The younger kids didn't know where to look – they didn't do so well with the eggs that were really hidden," she said.
Other students, like 10-year-old Nisha Hodge, said they were disappointed that they didn't collect more. However, Hodge was able to obtain the highest score out of all the competitors in the bulls-eye toss. "The whole thing was really great," she said with a smile.
The Students First Kids Club was set up by FirstBank in 2004 to teach students about the importance of saving, helping them set up their own student saving accounts at the bank, and activities for the kids quarterly.
Alicia Bean, marketing director of FirstBank, hid the eggs Monday. Bean and FirstBank marketing relations manager Sadie Taylor-Clendinen, the event's organizer, also helped the kids search for eggs.
After finishing up at the beach, some students headed over to the Reichold Center for the Arts on St. Thomas for the Governor's Easter Party, where children from 4 to 11 were entertained by lively calypso music spun by an on-site DJ. There was an inflatable jump house and prizes for participants in races and tug-of-war.
While some students said they were disappointed that the eggs did not contain prizes of their own, they were excited to dance to the music, race each other on the field and partake in a table full of treats provided by the event's organizers.
"It's been a fun day for us," said T'iandra Garnette, Caracciolo's older sister, as the pair danced under a tent set up at one end of the center's grounds.
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