“Montessori is an education for independence, preparing not just for school but for life” - Maria Montessori
Twelve sixth year Montessori students walked the stage and graduated from Virgin Islands Montessori School & Peter Gruber International Academy’s (VIMSIA) accredited Montessori Program. Graduating from one of only two available Montessori schools in the US Virgin Islands is a game-changer for these students and a life decision supported by their friends and family. VIMSIA’s graduation included remarks from keynote speaker, Brad Wilson, CEO of Brad’s Deals LLC, current parent and member of the VIMSIA board of trustees.
Montessori Director, Norma Bollinger opened the 41st annual graduation ceremony by welcoming twelve eager graduates ready to take on life and move up to VIMSIA’s International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program next fall. There have been over six-hundred Montessori graduates in St. Thomas since the school was established in 1964. Bollinger explained that a noted difference between a Montessori graduate and one that graduates from traditional school is their “love for learning, our children from the minute they begin in a Montessori program are motivated through intrinsic motivation.”
The ceremony included speeches from both Upper Elementary Montessori Directresses Caroline Morrison and Kate Ludick. Morrison highlighted how important the role of the teacher is stating “Dr. Maria Montessori believed that it is the role of the teacher to walk alongside you, challenging your imagination whenever possible to help you see through the obstacles in the way.” Ludick was thrilled to see such a beautiful ceremony to mark the end of another successful school year. “The children now are going into the third plane of development and becoming adolescents. It was a very positive way to end the year for them and do something special, because they gave us –the teachers- hope” said Ludick.
Successful entrepreneur Brad Wilson –also a Montessori graduate- took the opportunity to share with the graduates three things he wished he knew as a teenager, during his keynote address. “First, be aware of your life and if it’s one of inertia or activity” commented Wilson, commending the Montessori graduates for already living a life of activity by choosing a Montessori education. “Second have a practical framework for success and lastly be open to your instincts and the wisdom of your unconscious mind” stated Wilson. He stressed how “the importance of independence, curiosity and discovery will only grow in the future.”
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics there are 132,656 schools in the US (2008 numbers), 4,000 of them are Montessori Accredited schools with only two located in the US Virgin Islands.