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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Parent University A Huge Success

Edith Brown, Ashley Brown, and Cecilia Trotman get graduation status from "university" official Brenda Fredericks.The parking lot at the Edith Williams Alternative Academy buzzed with excitement Wednesday evening as parents finished up the last few classes in the first four-week session of Parent University.
Spearheaded by St. Thomas/St. John Insular Superintendent of Schools Jeanette Smith-Barry, Parent University was a success on St. Croix last year; and it appears Smith-Barry has done it again, this time on St. Thomas.
The first cycle of the program had multiple sessions offered on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Parents who have completed eight sessions will take part in the first Parent University graduation ceremony.
Parent University has provided free transportation from designated public areas and free child care in order to make the university available to as many as possible. Joseph Sibilly School teacher Sharon Richardson, who has been acting as district director of parent and community relations, has gotten lots of positive feedback from parents. “Many think the session ended too soon,” said Richardson, “and they’re looking forward to the next session.”
Out of the 140 in attendance Wednesday night, Richardson estimated that over 100 had enough classes to participate in the graduation ceremony.
Smith-Barry said quite a few people were short one or two classes, but there were a few parents who actually had more than needed.
Parent University will move to Lockhart Elementary School for the next session. Smith-Barry said, “We’re looking forward to the move because we will be able to have larger classes. We have a lot more possibilities and are hoping eventually to use both sites.”
Wednesday evening, parents gathered around a small table in the parking lot, clamoring to find out if they had enough classes to graduate.
Cecilia Trotman, Ashley Brown and Edith Brown were excited to find out they qualified for graduation but sad to see it end. Trotman, who thought the classes were extremely informative, said her favorites were the class about attitudes and another in which WAPA taught everyone about their meters and ways to conserve energy and reduce their bills.
Ashley Brown said, “We learned so much. All parents should come.”
Edith Brown’s favorite class was the computer class. She did not know how to use a computer prior to Parent University. She also enjoyed a class conducted by the Department of Labor in which she learned about job opportunities that she didn’t know were out there.
All three parents raved about how nice all of the teachers were and are considering attending the second session, which starts on Tuesday, March 2.
The first Parent University graduation ceremony for St. Thomas will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Charlotte Amalie High School.
For more information about registering for Parent University, please contact Richardson at (340) 775-2250 ext. 8530.

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