80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, August 13, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesStudents Give Electric Response to Governor's Anti-Violence Message

Students Give Electric Response to Governor's Anti-Violence Message

Nov. 16, 2007 — A pulsating energy rippled through the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School Friday as hundreds of students, law-enforcement officials and a vibrant Gov. John deJongh Jr. spoke out against gun violence and ushered in hope for a more peaceful future.
During the event, hundreds of Speak Your Peace CDs were also distributed to students, who all took a pledge to be gun-free. In the summer of 2006, Project Safe Neighborhoods launched its first "Speak Your Peace" contest in the Virgin Islands, which challenged the territory's young people to write music with an anti-gun-violence message. The 18 contest winners then saw their music produced at ISW studios on St. Thomas.
BCB students spoke excitedly during the event, with some commenting that they would never turn toward using guns to solve arguments. While the morning was filled with musical numbers and positive speeches from several of the school's teachers and Insular Superintendent of Schools Lisa Hassell-Forde, deJongh's remarks moved the audience and had everyone roaring with applause.
"This is the most inspirational Friday morning I've had since I won the election," deJongh said to the packed auditorium. Getting the crowd going, deJongh asked students whether they would be interested in being governor some day. While many didn't respond right away, a large segment cheered loudly after deJongh said that, as governor, they might be able to tell BCB principal Carver Farrow "what to do."
"That's right," deJongh said, playing along with the crowd. "But remember, that means in order to stand up here, you have got to do well, you've got to stay in school."
DeJongh promised to help with the educational process, saying that he wanted to spend more money building schools than prisons.
"If you commit a crime, I can't promise that I'll be in the courtroom with you," he said to the students. "But if you decide that you want to walk across the stage at graduation, I can shake your hand, and make sure you have a bright future in the Virgin Islands, or anywhere else you may want to go."
DeJongh's remarks roused the crowd, and he left the stage amidst a cacophony of shouts, cheers and applause that echoed through the building. The reaction was the same as the governor exited the auditorium, with several students and teachers getting up to wave or shake his hand.
Speaking afterward, Project Safe Neighborhood's board chairman Richard Doumeng described the event as "awesome."
"Of all of the things I've done in my life, this has got to be one of the best," he said. "Several of the parents have even come up to me and said that being on the Speak Your Peace CD has changed their child's life. Can you believe that? It's amazing. That's the kind of stuff that keeps us going."
Speak Your Peace CDs will also be distributed to other schools throughout the territory, said Wes Hand, law-enforcement coordinator with the U.S. Attorney's Office. Hand added that he has been in talks with the St. Croix school district to get the process going.
"When the governor said that this is the most inspirational Friday he's had since taking office — well, I think that says it all," Hand said. "It really was a great morning."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Nov. 16, 2007 -- A pulsating energy rippled through the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School Friday as hundreds of students, law-enforcement officials and a vibrant Gov. John deJongh Jr. spoke out against gun violence and ushered in hope for a more peaceful future.
During the event, hundreds of Speak Your Peace CDs were also distributed to students, who all took a pledge to be gun-free. In the summer of 2006, Project Safe Neighborhoods launched its first "Speak Your Peace" contest in the Virgin Islands, which challenged the territory's young people to write music with an anti-gun-violence message. The 18 contest winners then saw their music produced at ISW studios on St. Thomas.
BCB students spoke excitedly during the event, with some commenting that they would never turn toward using guns to solve arguments. While the morning was filled with musical numbers and positive speeches from several of the school's teachers and Insular Superintendent of Schools Lisa Hassell-Forde, deJongh's remarks moved the audience and had everyone roaring with applause.
"This is the most inspirational Friday morning I've had since I won the election," deJongh said to the packed auditorium. Getting the crowd going, deJongh asked students whether they would be interested in being governor some day. While many didn't respond right away, a large segment cheered loudly after deJongh said that, as governor, they might be able to tell BCB principal Carver Farrow "what to do."
"That's right," deJongh said, playing along with the crowd. "But remember, that means in order to stand up here, you have got to do well, you've got to stay in school."
DeJongh promised to help with the educational process, saying that he wanted to spend more money building schools than prisons.
"If you commit a crime, I can't promise that I'll be in the courtroom with you," he said to the students. "But if you decide that you want to walk across the stage at graduation, I can shake your hand, and make sure you have a bright future in the Virgin Islands, or anywhere else you may want to go."
DeJongh's remarks roused the crowd, and he left the stage amidst a cacophony of shouts, cheers and applause that echoed through the building. The reaction was the same as the governor exited the auditorium, with several students and teachers getting up to wave or shake his hand.
Speaking afterward, Project Safe Neighborhood's board chairman Richard Doumeng described the event as "awesome."
"Of all of the things I've done in my life, this has got to be one of the best," he said. "Several of the parents have even come up to me and said that being on the Speak Your Peace CD has changed their child's life. Can you believe that? It's amazing. That's the kind of stuff that keeps us going."
Speak Your Peace CDs will also be distributed to other schools throughout the territory, said Wes Hand, law-enforcement coordinator with the U.S. Attorney's Office. Hand added that he has been in talks with the St. Croix school district to get the process going.
"When the governor said that this is the most inspirational Friday he's had since taking office -- well, I think that says it all," Hand said. "It really was a great morning."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.