ST. JOHN, USVI –The Julius E. Sprauve School welcomed its students back in a grand celebration and pep rally on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Education officials, parents, the St. John community and well-wishers lined the halls and cheered students on as they marched toward their new modular classrooms.
Sprauve Assistant Principal Jeune Provost was especially excited to start the 2018-19 school year. “It is going to be a wonderful year for our teachers, students, and staff. We are so grateful for the support that we have received from the community and we are really looking forward to seeing our students grow and prosper in these state-of-the-art classrooms,” she said. “The students will be challenged by the increased rigor of a full day of instruction but I am confident that the support of our teachers and staff will make that transition easier for our students.”
Upon arrival to school, students filled the Cafetorium and were greeted by Provost. The morning’s assembly began with a prayer by Rev. Carlyle O. Sampson of Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cruz Bay. Following the blessing, Principal Marion Esannason brought forth the welcome. Principal Esannason thanked Governor Kenneth Mapp; St. John Administrator Camille Parris; Education Commissioner Sharon Ann McCollum; St. Thomas – St. John District Insular Superintendent Dionne Wells-Hedrington; AECOM; and the Sprauve school family their support in reopening Sprauve school for the 2018-19 school year.
Principal Esannason also gave special recognition to the St. John community for showing up to welcome the students back to school. “A special thank you, the St. John community—you are important stakeholders in shaping the lives of our future leaders—this is truly your school. In spite of the hurricanes, we are blessed and privileged to remain one school that will continue to be a beacon of light in this community,” she said.
Superintendent Wells-Hedrington, a former Sprauve School Principal and fellow St. John native expressed delight in opening the first modular school in her district. “It has been a long journey and I’m happy to be here with you this morning. This is the first modular school to open in this district—the St. Thomas – St. John—and in the Territory. It is an accomplishment, we are truly grateful, we are truly blessed.”
The former principal further encouraged parents to be more involved in the school community. “To my parents, we need you to be actively involved in what’s happening at Sprauve. Education does not start and end with a school—it begins with you parents.”
Following the welcome, parents, Education officials and community well-wishers lined the halls to cheer students on as they paraded through the existing building and to their new modular classrooms on the ballfield.
Parents and the community at large were impressed as they stepped into the new state-of-the-art classrooms for the first time. “I really like the modular units. We had our doubts but we are really pleased with the outcome,” said Thomas Mathews, local business owner of Our Market Smoothies and Ice Cream. Matthews offered free ice cream to students and teachers in celebration of the opening of the new school year. “All of us can be great because greatness comes by service and looking out for each other. We want to welcome back our students and staff.”
Commissioner McCollum also attended the celebration and was amazed by the overwhelming support by the St. John community. “This has been a fantastic opening for the school. We are very pleased to have our children back in school as well as our faculty and staff. The energy is very positive and extremely high and our challenge now is to keep the positive energy going and to have all of our students succeeding and learning in these new classrooms,” said McCollum.
The nurturing spirit of Superintendent Wells-Hedrington as a mother, teacher and principal kicked in as she consoled a young student missing her parents. Wells-Hedrington had the students draw a picture of her favorite thing and gave her a few words of encouragement. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________