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Rotary Club 'Leading the Way' at St. Mary's Catholic School

Aug. 31, 2006 — Children at St. Mary's Catholic School will be safer this year thanks to a generous donation by the Rotary Club of St. Croix.
Rotary members met with school officials Thursday to present them with road signs warning motorists that children were present and at play.
Keeping in line with this year's Rotary theme, "Lead the Way," the club initiated a plan to erect bright blue-and-white safety signs at all St. Croix schools and playgrounds. The project started in 2001 and has continued steadily with a two-year intermission while more signs were made and shipped.
The reason for the project was simple: "Keep kids safe," said club president Beverly A. H. Beck.
Schools along Queen Mary Highway have already benefited from the project. Rainbow Reading, Free Will Baptist, Central High, St. Croix Educational Complex and Country Day Schools are among some of the institutions displaying the club's signs for motorists to see.
St. Mary's presentation was delayed due to recent construction on school grounds. "We updated the playground," said St. Mary's Principal Elizabeth Hering. "The walls needed to be strengthened and the area beautified," she said. School officials chose to wait until the play area was complete before erecting the signs.
"I think community support is essential to keep our children safe and to educate them," said Hering. "We have been very blessed to have support from many places," adding that the signs come at exactly the right time, "especially with the shortage of crossing guards."
While club members installed the signs at all the other schools, St. Mary's signs will be posted by the school itself. Hering said the signs help children observe and learn safety rules. Projects such as this are "an embodiment of what we ask the students to learn," said Hering.
The club goal is to have safety signs everywhere that children play. Canegata Ball Park is the first playground to receive its signs, and other playgrounds will follow.
Hering lauded the club for its continued service to island schools. She proudly mentioned that the club provided dictionaries to the school's first-grade students in an effort to keep "leading the way."
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