Education Commissioner McCollum surprise Henderson students on Super Hero Day
Primary students in the St. Croix District celebrated Week of the Young Child (WOYC), April 16-20, with special activities designed just for them.
Students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade enjoyed the weeklong celebration through the support of the community.
“Community partners and parents, in collaboration with school teams, jumped right in to participate in activities, such as read a-louds, movie day, character parades, career building, bullying, health and safety awareness, just to name a few,” said St. Croix District Elementary Programs Coordinator Jeselle Cruse-Peter, who spearheads the annual celebration.
Alexander Henderson Elementary
On April 16, Alexander Henderson Elementary School kicked off Week of The Young Child with Super Hero Day, which included a surprise visit from Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Sharon Ann McCollum. During the welcome ceremony, Ms. Plaskett’s Kindergarten class sang a special theme song that highlighted the importance of the week. Students, dressed in costumes depicting their favorite superhero, took photos with Commissioner McCollum, who enjoyed the interaction and complimented students on their costumes. Deputy Superintendent Faith George-Boone was in attendance, along with Kesha Tatum, Henderson’s WOYC coordinator, who donned a superhero costume, along with other faculty and staff.
Ricardo Richards Elementary
Ricardo Richards Elementary School began its celebration of WOYC with Career Day on April 16, followed by Pajama Day on April 17. Students showed off their best sleepwear featuring their favorite cartoon characters, sports, or colors. Teachers also joined in on the fun and came dressed in their own sleepwear. Although students were dressed cozily, they were filled with energy for another productive school day. Chairman Tamieka Phillipus, and Co-Chairmen Giselle Alcantara and Kester Skepple coordinated the weeklong activities at the school. Students also received backpacks and snack boxes donated by United Way of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Juanita Gardine Elementary
At Juanita Gardine Elementary School, students participated in Wacky Hair, Wacky Hats and Wacky Socks Day, and enjoyed a special visit from The Children’s Museum.
“For Week of the Young Child, we decided to have some more interactive, engaging kinds of activities,” said Children’s Museum’s Ellie Hirsh.
Fun activities, such as painting with vegetables, making slime, pouring and measuring using popcorn seeds and various measuring tools, and a building station were set up in the school’s library.
“What I’ve been doing for the last several years was collecting gently used children’s books and giving them away, so everyone’s going to go with one set--a picture book and a beginning reading book,” Hirsh said.
The Children’s Museum is no stranger to Juanita Gardine Elementary School. The organization has adopted two 1st grade classes and visit the school monthly to read to students.
It was a Success
Reflecting on the success of the Week, Mrs. Cruse-Peter said, “It was important to have Week of the Young Child despite the circumstances because we need to be able to celebrate our students and provide learning opportunities for them under any circumstance. Learning never stops.”
She went on to praise the efforts of the community.
“Our community partners, parents, administrators, teachers, and support staff did an impeccable job, as all stakeholders ensured that our students were not robbed of this memorable experience,” she said.
Mrs. Cruse-Peter explained that a fun day with all schools is traditionally held to wrap up the weeklong celebration. However, it was canceled this year.
“This year, unfortunately, due to the challenges brought about by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, the district was unable to host our Annual Week of the Young Child Culminating Celebration; however, we made it happen for our students, as individual elementary school sites conducted a week of activities in recognition of our youngest learners,” she said.
Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration across the United States and is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Its purpose is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families, and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.