Alumni News! 1.18.17

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Dear Alumni:

We have started January with gusto!

Thanks to the volunteer support from many graduates over winter break and the leadership of Coach Amy and Coach Floyd, our athletic teams will be playing on a new GHCDS Panthers gym floor. We also eliminated flooding from the gym thanks to significant trenching work in December—a huge step forward.

We also completed a mini-makeover to the main library over winter break, including new flooring, Ideapaint (dry-erase) along the east wall, and a soon-to-be-installed new interactive projector. We look forward to hosting board meetings, all-faculty meetings, workshops, and classes where the renovated space allows us to share our thinking more effectively.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing many of you at our New York City reception on February 4!

Happy 2017!

Kari

 

Thank You From the O’Neal Family

A message of gratitude from the family of the late Asa O’Neal, GHCDS’16

Dear GHCDS Faculty, Staff, and Community,

It is difficult to find the words to adequately express our gratitude for the many kindnesses you have shown us during this trying time.

We are so grateful for all you have done for us and for Asa through the years. The cards, letters, phone and email messages, prayers, and visits meant a great deal to us as we struggled with our heartbreaking loss. Along with the emotional support you gave us, your thoughtful tributes and other gifts of your time and energy helped sustain us day to day.

We are unable to write individual thank yous to each one of you, given the great outpouring of support. Please know that your generosity and thoughtfulness have touched us deeply.

Knowing that we were not alone helped us bear our grief and sadness. Thank you for being there for us.

With sincere thanks,

The O’Neal Family

The Court That Love Built

GHCDS SPIRIT LOGOHappy New Year, Panther Families!

I need to step away from my usual format this week to share a story with you.  This Week in Sports will be listed at the end.

The Athletic Department had the most amazing, inspiring, touching, hardworking and So Panther Incredible holiday break! As you know, Coach Floyd and I set out to break down our old gym floor and rebuild our court to be dedicated to Asa O’Neal. Our maintenance staff was committed to a huge library project, but we were determined to do it with Panther grit and spirit, as the Class of 2015 gave us the court, and the Class of 2016 gave us the funds to repair and rebuild it. We asked several students, coaches and alumni to help. They did so much more than that!

“Thank you” seems inadequate for the time, sweat and love our Panthers, former and present, put into this new home for our athletes. Many stepped off planes from college and jumped into work clothes to churn concrete, take apart and remove our old court, scrub and sweep, then grab a crowbar to crack crates, haul and place new flooring, sweep, mop, shovel, and drill. They gave their all to give something beautiful and lasting to our Black and Gold future. We started on December 22nd and finished on January 7th. I can’t thank Our Fabulous Coach Floyd enough, who wore the Foreman hat! His character and heart can be seen in every detail.

Please watch and listen with your athletes so that they may get a sense of what went into The Court That Love Built:

To these Incredible Panthers, thank you for giving us “Something Amazing”…YOU! We are forever grateful, and forever proud to call you family:

Jacob Anderson

Jordan Lake

Hasani Lynch

Christian Santiago
Firas Idheileh

Ihab Idheileh

Sydney Fleming
Aaron Fleming
Thalia Hendricks
Sylvana Montealegre-Hutchins
Ly’Nese Setorie
Chloe Phillips-Hayden
The Salamah Family
Marshall McCormick
Jordan Bernhardt
Coach Lishati-Shumba Bailey
Coach Marcus Christian-Hendrickson
Devin Boyd
Blake Carter
Riis Motta
Hailey Coates
Michael Farrante
Kenan Massicott
Norman Rogiers
Jelena Vialet
The spirit of Asa O’Neal-every day cheering us on!

Special thanks to the GHCDS Administration for their support, Hadyn Fleming and Fleming’s Transport for storing and delivering our court, The Virgin Islands Volleyball Federation for offering us a top quality Sport Court at a beyond generous, extremely discounted price, Felix Lima and our maintenance staff for providing support and help with cleanup, Jolynn Grace and our Development Department for assisting with the design of Asa’s dedication, and Lea Wilson for an awesome lunch for our volunteers.

Meet Alumni On The GHCDS Board

Interview with Kye Walker, GHS ’95

After graduation Kye Walker attended Florida A &M University  and would later go on to receive her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  Kye is the founder of the Walker Legal Group. She is admitted to practice law in the Virgin Islands, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. Kye joined the GHCDS Board of Trustees in 2013 and has been an instrumental part of the transition and remains very actively involved in the advancement efforts of the school.

What year did you graduate?

1995, I was the Presidential Scholar that year which earned me a full scholarship to Florida A & M University where I obtained a Bachelor in Political Science in three years instead of four due to all the AP credits I earned at GHS.  Thank you Ms. Schill!

Can you share a favorite memory or experience from your time in school?

There were so many at Good Hope.  Among my favorites, was participating in the very first Moot Court competition; the Marine Biology trip to St. John where we camped at Maho Bay and other Marine Biology trips around St. Croix, which included jumping off the pier in Fredriksted; and raising the most funds of any senior class at the time and using the funds left over at the end of the senior year to purchase books for an African American section in the library.

What impact did your educational experience here have on your life choices?

It definitely exposed me to diversity at an early age, which made it easier for me to adjust to law school at Penn where I was one of eight Black students in my class.  It created long lasting friendships that I continue to maintain to today.  Most importantly, it gave me great self-confidence to accomplish all that I desire and the sense that any goal is unachievable.

Can you share one or two of your favorite teachers and why?

Ms. Schill, my high school French teacher had a great personality.  She made French fun and interesting and she opened up her home and family to students.  I felt like she was committed to making sure we left her class speaking at least a bit of French no matter how hard we resisted.  Ms. Moody was another favorite teacher even though she was only there 1 year.  She was very inspirational with the driest sense of humor.  She attended the St. John trip with us, shared her life stories, and was just an overall cool individual.

Why did you make the decision to serve on the Board and what do you most enjoy about the experience?

My main reason for serving on the GHCDS board was to ensure a smooth transition of the combining of both schools.

Can you share a personal goal for this year with us?

To adopt a child.

Interview with Michelle N. Dizon, CDS ’84

Michelle has served on the Board of Trustees for nearly 11 years.  Her decision to serve was not an easy one because of the big time commitment, but she wanted to give back to the school and use her skill-set to help preserve that special sense of community that she felt when she was a student.  In addition to giving her time to GHCDS, she is a physician and specializes in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology.  She currently works at the Charles Harwood Community Health Clinic and has a private practice at the Island Medicine Center.   We recently caught up with Michelle and she shared a little about her time at CDS.

What year did you graduate?

Michelle:  1984

Favorite memories or experiences from your time in school?

Too many to describe. My middle school and high school experience were one of the best times of my life.

What impact did your educational experience here have on your life choices?

It influenced my decision to go to a smaller university and one that was in a diverse city.  It influenced me to come back to St. Croix 15 years ago after completing my advanced degrees.

Can you share with us 1 or 2 favorite teachers and why?

Betty Nielsen – Physical Education-  I started playing every team sport there was at school from 5th grade to 12th grade.  Ms. Nielsen was my coach during these six years.  She taught sportsmanship, team playing, and showed me how to be confident in my athletic ability even though I was a shorty. She was my role model.  Even though she was single mother with two small children, she made sure that we knew that she was our second mother. She also showed me that it was ok to be brutally honest (LOL) if there was any controversy in team sports and in teaching team sports.  She taught us to be always  positive and determined (like the bad news bears!)

Barabara (Van Buren) Hatch -Middle School Teacher : Geography, Speech and Debate, French, English, Social Studies- She opened up the world to me.  As a former peace corps member, she shared many stories of her travels and shared favorite African meals with the class.  In my opinion she was the most effective teacher of any teacher I had.  Everything she taught she made  relevant and exciting. She organization and communication skills  made it easy for me to be successful in all of her classes.  When I have to give medical presentation to doctors or patients, I still use the tools she taught me to give a good presentation.

Why did you make the decision to serve on the Board and what do you most enjoy about the experience?

My time at CDS is definitely one of the most memorial and influential times of my life.  My children are there now and I want to just give back.  I am glad to be able to serve as a board member.

Can you share a personal goal for this year with us?

I would like to help create a current alumni database.

Interview with Nesha Christian-Hendrickson, CDS ’00

Nesha has served on the GHCDS Board of Trustees for nearly 4 years.  Her decision to serve seemed like a natural one since her parents were always very active community leaders and advocates.  After graduating from CDS, Nesha went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and later her law degree from Vermont Law School.  She returned home to St. Croix to clerk under two very dynamic judges, the late Superior Court Judge, Francis D’Eramo and the late Superior Court Judge, Julio Brady.  Her experience there would lead her to practice as the Assistant Public Defender for the Office of the Territorial Public Defender.  In 2016, Nesha joined the Virgin Islands Department of Labor as Legal Counsel.   Nesha shared with us some reflections of her time at CDS.

What year did you graduate?

2000

Can you share some of your favorite memories or experiences from your time in school?

My first memory at Country Day School was when I arrived for testing a year after Hugo. My previous school, Montessori House of Children, had been destroyed in the storm. I felt like I had moved to the big leagues because it was a much stricter environment.  One of my greatest memories is winning Orange and White Day; we worked so hard trying to win tug of war! We had so much school pride! The other outstanding memory I have is my graduation where my mother was selected as the guest speaker. Not many people have that privilege.

What impact did your educational experience here have on your life choices?

Country Day School fostered academic excellence and an appreciation for diversity, which helped prepare me for Penn State University.  My strong start at CDS greatly contributed to the lawyer I am today.  What I love about the School is that we are flexible to new ideas while staying true to our history of academic excellence and diversity.

Can you share with us 1 or 2 favorite teachers and why?

Sheraine Venetis was my Caribbean & Upper School History teacher. You could feel the commitment she had to our personal development.  You knew she wanted you to be the best person you could be.  She had a way of blending traditional mainland education with our very special Caribbean education experience.  This is something that I feel has had a huge impact on who I am today.

Why did you make the decision to serve on the Board and what do you most enjoy about the experience?

I chose to serve on the Board of Trustees because I wanted to give back to my School and community in a concrete way. Both my parents served in different capacities and I always knew I wanted to contribute in a significant way.

Can you share a personal goal for this year with us? 

I have two primary goals, one is help restore my father’s health so he can return home to St. Croix and the second is to help bring greater resources to GHCDS.

Alumni Calendar for 2016-17

  • Alumni Gathering – New York City: February 4
  • Black and Gold Gala at Carambola : February 25
  • Alumni Gathering – Miami: TBA
  • Alumni Soccer Game at GHCDS: May 25
  • Orange, White and Blue Day at GHCDS: May 26
  • Graduation at Island Center: June 2

 

Alumni Gathering at Deep End Bar and Grille

Many graduates gathered at the Deep End Bar and Grille on Dec. 26th for an annual celebration. The event was organized by former CDS Development Director, Elena Hensley.

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