V.I Montessori School
Is the nicest place to be,
On the island of St. Thomas,
In the Caribbean Sea
(words from the V.I. Montessori School Song)
June 12, 2003 – And indeed it was on Thursday, as a close-knit group of family and friends gathered on the school playground for a graduation ceremony for eight upper elementary and five middle school graduates that was short but full of feeling.
Presided over by the school's administrator, Shournagh McWeeney, the event had special meaning because most of the 13 graduates had been Montessori students from the age of 3.
"These graduates are like family," McWeeney said. "We are happy that they have made it this far, but we are still sad to see them go These are an incredible group of children."
It was a sentiment shared repeatedly throughout the program, from middle school director Mariel Blake's tribute to her graduates to a special presentation made by the "9-12 form" graduates, a group of eight youngsters who chose to donate $1,000 to the St. Thomas Humane Society's recently launched capital campaign to build a new animal-care facility.
The 9-12 formers are Montessori's "upper elementary" pupils ages 9 to 12 who are taught as a group in what would be grades 4-6 in the traditional school system.
"Our upper elementary graduates have been selling pizza twice a week and with the money that they raised were able to take a trip to Puerto Rico," McWeeney explained. "When they came back, they saw that they still had $1,000 left in their account; so they decided to invest it in the Humane Society."
Darr Conradson, a member of the Humane Society board, was on hand to accept their contribution. The gift, to be matched with another $1,000 by campaign chair Randolph Knight, will be used to build a bench that will carry the names of the young donors.
Blake, after commending this effort, offered these comments: "What is a Montessori student? One can't always judge by how the classroom looks. Brilliance can be quite sloppy; geniuses don't always have the time to straighten up. But here at Montessori, we are a family." Addressing the graduates, she added, "You will always be there; you are always connected; you are always penciled in."
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