This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to volunteer with our students and staff at the Lockhart Elementary School shelter. Amidst the steady backdrop of rain that has hardly let up since we were impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, I was overjoyed to be able to spend the day in such a positive space, where the joy we were able to deliver was matched in full by the hope our students were given every time they read a book, shared a slice of pizza, or played a game with members of our larger St. Thomas community.
As educators, we always look for opportunities to teach those lessons of resilience, compassion and brotherhood that we hope will turn our children into the leaders of tomorrow – leaders who can rebuild cities, care for those in need, and rally behind the important causes. With all that we have experienced over the past month, it seems like those teachable moments are now plentiful, and I have never been more proud to see our students, and students across the territory, rising to the occasion.
There’s no doubt: I’m proud to be a Virgin Islands educator.
What’s more, I’m proud to be a part of the wider community of Virgin Islands’ educators, both public and private, who have worked so tirelessly to reopen our individual campuses and provide spaces in which those teachable moments can be born, nurtured and grow. Collectively, our challenges are immense – both physically and financially – but as a group, we are persevering, and as a result, most of the children of the territory are now back in school.
It’s an inspiration to be part of a community who understands the value of education and the need for children to be together again, living through those teachable moments that empower them to care for their families, their community and their schools.
And, working together, I anticipate even better years ahead. At Antilles, we’ve been telling students that “we’re back and stronger than ever,” and I believe that it extends to all of us — all the administrators, teachers, parents and members of the community who have been working to put the USVI back together for our students.
Congratulations to all and best wishes for a meaningful and successful school year!
Liz Morrison, St. Thomas