New newly formed Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy's Elementary All-girls soccer team, played in a historic event last Friday! The game was played at 4 pm and our girls won 5-1 against All Saints. Aurora Rodriguez had 2 (two) goals, Joniah Julien, Devin DeGannes, and Cassidy Caines, all contributed with one goal.
Beauty and the Beast has been both a huge undertaking and a labor of love however I believe you will all appreciate the end result. There have been many challenges along with much growth, development and rewards made over these past few months.
Our young actors, crew and directors have had a crash course since Irma and Maria in what it takes to put on a full pledged musical. Commitment, responsibility, collaboration, sacrifice, determination and true grit to get the job done. All skills that they can use throughout their lives and be successful in all of their future endeavors.
Just as importantly, I believe they have had moments of fun and a lot of enjoyment during this entire process and great satisfaction in knowing that they are now ready to present, for your viewing pleasure, VIMSIA's version of Beauty and the Beast....
Hope you enjoy the show
Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) Admissions Director and College Counselor, Kara Ebe, spent this past week at the Boston/Extended Area Network of Schools (BEANS) tour featuring Brandeis University, College of the Holy Cross, Emerson College, Simmons College, and WPI!
The BEANS Tour provides counselors with the opportunity to explore five outstanding colleges with your colleagues from around the world. Counselors will meet with admissions representatives, current students, faculty, and explore the cities of Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts!
“This is a tour of five schools which provides you with a unique opportunity to see different schools and engage directly with their admissions directors and faculty then take it back to your students to share” said Ebe. Everyday attendees visited one of the five schools for an admissions overview –detailing requirements, a tour of the campus, an opportunity to engage with or hear a student led panel and a professional development session.
The host institutions determine the final participants based upon a numbers of factors—among them are geographic diversity. Because BEANS is a fly-in program, the committee typically looks for counselors from areas outside of New England, New York, and New Jersey. Additionally, they look to provide opportunities to colleagues from secondary schools that have not recently been represented at BEANS.
Ebe was flattered by the encouraging and supportive reception from the BEANS Tour participants in response to the recent hurricanes. “Everyone of course asked about the hurricanes, but people are just so intrigued about us -especially those that didn't know we're IB. Immediately once they heard we're IB they started to inquire about VIMSIA and were impressed by what we have to offer” explained Ebe. “We haven't missed a beat with the rigor of what we offer our students, not only academically but now we have these student who are super resilient because of what they've been through” Ebe added.
This week in science club, led by Ms. Alexandra Silva, students built coral polyps with food and discussed the role of corals in food webs. They also talked about ways that humans can help and hurt corals. The two seniors helpers are Ver'Nele and T'Leah.
"I vividly remember attending my Brownie meetings, saying the Girl Scout pledge with three fingers held high and of course earning badges" said Pam Engle, parent at Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA), who recently started Girl Scout Over Seas Troop #44511 on the East End. "I still have my old Brownie vest with badges and pins and can't wait to get my daughter started and help empower young girls on island" she added.
The troop will meet every other week beginning in May and is open to girls in the community from K-5. "The support from not only the school but the community has been amazing! I was worried we wouldn't have enough parent volunteers but was proven wrong. We’ve already received various parent sign-ups - I guess many moms were also Girl Scouts and want to pass the opportunity or tradition down to their daughters" explain Engle.
Through the Girl Scout program —a variety of fun and challenging activities, like earning badges, selling cookies, going on exciting trips, exploring the outdoors, and doing community service projects. At Girl Scouts, girls will have the opportunity to lead their own adventure , and work with other girls to pick and choose the exciting, hands-on activities they want to do. The idea is to learn by doing!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Montessori-Girl-Scouts-818526068332098/?ref=bookmarks
Sign Up Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfPQyL3-2NwEuOoZNbUiaNR48eSWuCDLwk12uBmGQhn89eEvQ/viewform
Like many of our students, fourth grader Lexi Harris temporarily moved stateside after Irma and Maria hit the Virgin Islands. She joined one of her cousins at Green Acres School in North Bethesda, MD. Every year Green Acres School organizes a book drive for a cause, and after hearing from Lexi about damages to our school and island they chose our library as this year’s recipient! Lexi’s teacher Allison Stearn led the efforts. They packed up four large boxes of specially chosen books, and the Harris’ company Impact Construction took care of the shipping. Each book contains a unique student-made bookmark, many with the phrase “with love from Green Acres School” on one side, artwork on the other. We are so grateful to the students, staff, and families of Green Acres School!
Congratulations to Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy’s (VIMSIA) Shane DeGannes, School Nurse and Athletic Director, who was recently appointed the National Coach for the Virgin Islands Junior Track and Field team by the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation. “I’m excited and honored to be named the National Coach for our Junior team. I’ve been working for the past seven years trying to get the community to believe that I’m here for the sport of Track and Field and Cross Country and I think it has finally been validated by the Federation by sending me with the National Team” exclaimed DeGannes.
DeGannes was honored and thrilled when asked to accompany the dedicated members of the Junior Track and Field team along with two other Virgin Islands coaches to the Flow Carifta Games hosted in the Bahamas. Evan Jones and Talisse Thompson, a VIMSIA “lifer”, both trained with DeGannes with Evan placing in the top three. Jones won the silver medal in the boys under twenty 1500m run. “I’m stoked to have coached him” DeGannes commented, adding that “we haven’t won a medal since 2010 and it was time!”
Three runners from St. Croix and four from St. Thomas represented the Virgin Islands in the Flow Carifta Games. DeGannes recently developed his own club for runners called the St. Thomas Track Club. Both Evan and Talisse ran representing St. Thomas Track Club.
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, a Montessori graduate, chose to visit Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) today to not only discuss topics related to women in government but to talk to the students of VIMSIA about the power of peaceful protest.
As the only registered school on island to participate in the National School Walkout, students asked Plaskett what Congress’ reaction had been to the March for our Lives movement and whether or not it had sparked any changes in opinions after all the demonstrations. “What you have to understand is that the March took place right before the members went away for Easter break, so we have not returned back to congress since the march happened” answered Plaskett. “What I can tell you is that I went to the one that was in Washington and I saw a lot of members there, and at that march all the young people -like yourself- had stickers on them with the year that they would be able to vote as well as people registering all the young people who were old enough to vote to be able to vote” said Plaskett. Many members of Congress who want gun laws changed made the conscious decision to not get involved, and to not let the movement be taken over by lawmakers or by old people, and in turn pollute the message. “This is a young people’s movement and for it to be effective it had to be their movement and their voice” said Plaskett. Students were urged to not get discouraged and to continue voicing their concerns with whatever means possible as change will take some time.
Plaskett released an official statement further explaining why she chose to visit VIMSIA. “Of course I have a personal affinity to the Montessori program and the way it educates young people, but also there are several things about this Montessori school that I think are very important” said Plaskett. “The first is that you really -in a private school setting- have been great about creating a diverse community that’s not just diverse ethnically but socioeconomically and I think that’s a very good model that so many of us should look at throughout this community. The second of course is that VIMSIA is one hundred percent solar which is awesome and a very good model for us to use here in the Virgin Islands” Plaskett stated.
Students were applauded by Plaskett for setting the tone and leading the way in the Virgin Islands with the National School Walkout and the issues surrounding gun violence. “What is more important than marches is what happens after a march, it’s not helpful to march and then not do anything afterwards” said Plaskett. Adding that “while you were able to voice your opinions on the issues of violence in your communities, what is going to be more important is to follow up on what you’re going to do in the communities to support those changes.” Students continue to take leadership roles with safety and environmentally friendly initiatives putting VIMSIA on the map as one of the leading schools in the territory.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross visited the Upper Elementary Classes at Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA) to present the Pillow Case Project, an initiative geared towards disaster readiness.
Originally started in Louisiana after hurricane Katrina, the project was sparked by the actions of college students who were forced to evacuate their dorms with personal belongings and had no suitcases available… only their pillow cases.
Each student received a pillow case purchased and sponsored by Disney and distributed by the American Red Cross’ School Safety Program. Scenarios such as house fires and natural disasters were discussed at length and students were taught the correct emergency readiness steps.
Volunteers placed emphasis on the fact that students are capable of having individual power with emergency situation and feel prepared by taking personal and safety items with them such as a stuffed animal, first aid kit, MRE, medicines, toiletries, snacks, change of clothes, etc. A representative from the American Red Cross informed VIMSIA that after hurricanes Irma and Maria many children on island mentioned that their parents did not take the warnings seriously and as a result the children ended up with no food or shelter leaving them worried and disappointed.
Anthill Collective generously offered to paint an amazing graffiti mural in the Music Room at the Virgin Islands Montessori School and Peter Gruber International Academy (VIMSIA). Scottie Raymond, Brian Clark and Jared Mattes, artists from Anthill Collective, are on St. Thomas for a few days and have chosen to paint three murals, possibly four if time permits. They are working closely with the Youth Development Academy and will be painting at Mandela Circle. VIMSIA was fortunate enough to be picked as one of these places.
The Anthill Collective is based out of Vermont and its artists have been working together for the last five years, travelling all over the world spreading color and art. The Anthill Collective, named after the fact that ants are notoriously much stronger when the work together, is on a mission to "make things beautiful, spread color to places that would have otherwise been neglected and make it something that people can enjoy" said Raymond, adding that they want "to take art outside of the white cube." All three well renowned artists originally got their start creating graffiti under bridges and on trains, but as they met and worked with various artists around the world their skills progressed and they ended up forming their own company.
With the help of VIMSIA parent Dan Lewin, the Anthill Collective artists made the connection with VIMSIA Art Coordinator Jana Ferguson. It was Ferguson's responsibility to facilitate the project and set up a workshop with the students where they gave input for the mural design -such as featuring VIMSIA's beloved (and recently passed) blue and gold macaw "Sweetie Pie." Grades 7-12 students worked with the artists all day Thursday, helping with layout sketches, rolling paint, and blending and practicing different spray techniques.
"We love these opportunities because every now and again you get that one kid in a class full of kids that says 'this is my thing,' and we can offer them that without them having to have that scary run away from the police." said Raymond.
Ferguson was thrilled that Peter Gruber International Academy students were able to participate and take part in this amazing masterpiece. "I want students to experience gratitude for having Anthill Collective travel here to add art to our island. The team wanted to beautify St. Thomas after our Irmaria experiences in order to contribute to our community. The three of them came to donate their time and skills and we just got lucky because of our parent connection” said Ferguson. Adding that she hopes students will "look at art from different avenues - not everyone loves what is considered traditional art - so I hope this opens their eyes to all the different opportunities out there."
VIMSIA would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Anthill Collective for not only selecting VIMSIA as one of their projects, but for inspiring students and parents.