What a wonderful graduation last Saturday at Island Center to celebrate the members of the Class of 2016 joining your ranks! Ms. Pamela Colon, who recently guided our Moot Court team to a 2nd place Territory finish, delivered the commencement address. Valedictorian Julian DiPersio and Salutatorian Aliyah Allick also gave inspiring remarks. You can read Julian and Aliyah’s speeches as well as my own concluding remarks here.
The prior week was also a busy week on campus with alumni affairs. On Thursday, May 26, we hosted the alumni vs. varsity soccer game, where two dozen graduates came back to show their skills in an intense, but fun match. The following Friday, another group of graduates attended Orange, White, and Blue Day and, besides cheering on the students, jumped into the final tug-of-war competition.
Alumni sharing in the Orange, White, and Blue Day festivities!
Orange, White, and Blue Day is frequently cited by alumni as one of their favorite days on campus. After now experiencing it first-hand, including a celebratory (?!) egg-cracking on my own head, I had three key takeaways:
I look forward to further discussions with our faculty and students.
Once again, we hope you enjoy the fascinating profiles and stories below!
Lastly, I will repeat my message from last month: For us to provide a world-class education and become the best private school in the Caribbean, we need your help. That is, we need the support of our 2,000+ graduates who are scattered around the globe. One simple, but very meaningful, act of support is to make a contribution, whether $10 or $10,000, to our Annual Fund, which provides critical support across programs. One of our graduates and trustees, Ms. Nesha Christian-Hendrickson, provided a nice testimonial (click here) about the Annual Fund. I hope you will join her in supporting the School.
Our goal is to get 100 gifts from alumni before June 30 – this would represent a huge step forward for the overall perception of our School. Your gift matters!
In the meantime, we hope you are well and look forward to staying connected.
A Portrait of Raymond Labadie: (Interviewed by Nadia Bougouneau, Parent ’16 and Parents’ Association President)
A quiet, unassuming gentleman, Raymond Labadie has served as the backbone of The Good Hope School for 43 years. His dedication to the students and the GHS campus has kept him working long hours, evenings and weekends, often making magic happen so the school community could function harmoniously. There were many things Raymond did on his own time and using his own resources to ensure that there was never an interruption to instruction because of a facility issue. He always made it happen and always with his infectious smile. Throughout the years and to this day, Ray has been a constant, guiding force. It has been a labor of love and we are all grateful for him!
What are your fondest memories of the school?
In the 70’s John T. Leyden hosted the staff parties at his home, this was complete with five-piece crucian bands. We danced all night long!…Seeing the children grow up and having them return for visits and reminding me of who they were…The people whom I’ve met.
What were your biggest challenges?
The daily work requests from faculty and staff. At 7am I would clear my mailbox, and at 4pm it was full again, all with pressing, urgent requests.
What are you most proud of from your time at the school?
After Hurricane Hugo, we were the first school to reopen after the storm, largely in part because I worked overtime organizing crews of parents, faculty, and especially students to put things back in order. We were a family. Connected by the arches. I am friends with a lot of these people still today.
What student work are you most proud of?
The students were all very keen on assisting me in all of my projects. They came all the time to offer assistance and were so polite and genuine in their eagerness to help. That is quite memorable. The GHS auction was a tremendous amount of work. The students at that time were invaluable to me helping set up the event. I also hired three or four students every summer to revitalize the school.
Whom among your colleagues did you most admire and why?
Jim Savage. He supported me completely and guided me in a lot of the construction that I was tasked with. He mentored me and I still today take all of the learning that I gained while he was part of the school.
What was your favorite part of the campus and why?
The Raymond Labadie Student Center that I built over the course of several weekends with my team. It was a labor of love from me to them. This is what the students told me they needed most and I was honored that the administration named it after me.
What was your favorite event on the school calendar and why?
The Good Hope Auction. It allowed me to learn about places I never knew before on island, and I got to meet people I would not have known before. Folks would donate items for our garage sale and we needed to pick them up – that’s where I came in. I was directly involved in the trades, too, which was a lot of fun trying to get rid of things I knew I did not want to have stay with the school (It was my job to take it to the dump).
What led you to the school in the first place? (What was your career path?)
I worked on a boat in Frederiksted on a bond. They would not renew my bond. The GHS Business manager at the time offered me a job to work in maintenance.
What are you doing nowadays? (What have you done since working at the school?)
I continue to manage the facility and make sure it does not fall into disrepair.
Laurent “Tippy” Alfred, GHS ‘92: Since attending the Good Hope School from K-12 and graduating as Valedictorian in 1992, Tippy Alfred has created several fascinating chapters in life. After representing the USVI at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics in swimming, Tippy attended Harvard University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Government and a Certificate in African Politics. His thesis research and study abroad program brought him to Cameroon, Kenya, and Tanzania for six months in 1995-1996. After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he worked as a middle school teacher for four years at the East Harlem School. After considering PhD programs, Tippy decided to follow his grandfather and father’s model and attain a law degree. He attended Yale Law School and graduated in 2003, with concentrations on human rights law, criminal justice, and entertainment law. During his final year of law school, Tippy worked as a research intern with the legendary history professor at Columbia University, Dr. Manning Marable, who then hired him to become an adjunct professor of Africana Studies at Columbia. Tippy was able to design and teach two graduate level courses in areas of race and criminal justice and the role of the arts in social justice movements from 2003 to 2005.
Though he discovered a love of music from his parents, as a student-athlete in his days at GHS, he never had much space for musical endeavors. During his final year at Harvard, however, he left the varsity swim team and answered an inner calling to play an instrument. He started with hand drums, then slowly learned guitar, keyboards, and eventually music production and engineering, where he has focused since. Self-taught, Tippy has produced and engineered many albums and singles in a wide range of genres. He returned home in 2005 and partnered with fellow Good Hope School alum, Padraic Coursey, on a variety of music projects at Padraic’s Aqua Sounds Studio facility in Christiansted. Some of the artists Tippy has worked with over the years include Midnite, Akae Beka, Pressure Buss Pipe, Dezarie, Niyorah, dead prez, Jay Z, Talib Kweli, Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, Ras Batch, Lutan Fyah, Chronixx, Jah9 and many more. The record label that he co-founded, I Grade Records, has gone on to release 31 albums with a wide range of reggae artists. His current project, I Grade Dub, is a live dub mixing sound system that has brought him to stages around the world, most recently at SXSW in Austin, Texas and the United Nations of Dub Festival in the UK.
At 41, Tippy has already worked as a teacher, professor, musician, bandleader, producer, audio engineer, event promoter, legal researcher/writer, and entrepreneur. Recently, he was able to draft a landmark piece of legislation, the S.T.A.R.S. Act, that offers significant tax incentives for music and film productions in the USVI. Tippy also works as a legislative researcher and writer with Senator Terrence “Positive” Nelson on numerous legislative initiatives. Tippy credits his wide-ranging life pursuits to his time at the Good Hope School, where he developed a love of learning, athletics, and the arts. “Good Hope School brought out the best in me and all of my siblings and taught us that academic success goes hand in hand with sports and creative pursuits. I always tell people that I went to a dream school – a close-knit school on a beach with an amazingly diverse student body and excellent teachers. I’m so happy to see, that for my children’s and our island’s sake, GHCDS is thriving and continuing this amazing tradition.”
Michael Ross, CDS ’03, is lovingly known to his family and friends as simply “Mikey”. St. Croix has always been Mikey’s home so it’s only natural that he would eventually return to pursue his dreams of being the executive chef and owner of a restaurant. Most nights, you can sit at the bar and look into the open kitchen as he cooks up delicious food for the customers at Zion Modern Kitchen in downtown Christiansted in the exact location where his restaurant career started, the former Kendrick’s Restaurant.
Mikey has worked in the restaurant business since graduating from Duquesne University in 2007 with a degree in Business Management & Administration. Much of his experience came from working at Kendrick’s Restaurant as a server and bartender, but over time he wanted a new challenge. Working in the kitchen under Dave Kendrick, he found his true passion was for cooking. While he eventually attended culinary school, he confessed, “Dave’s style was my base for everything, without him I wouldn’t be nearly the chef I am today.” He graduated from Le Cordon Bleu culinary program in San Francisco in 2014 with high honors and continued cooking in restaurants from California to St. John before returning to St. Croix for good.
When the opportunity to open Zion arose in the summer of 2014, he was eager to put his business degree to the test with his newly found passion. With the support from his incredible staff, including Mary Jamieson Orr (CDS ’10), Zach Orr (GHS ’03) and Frank Robinson (GHS ‘03), Zion has had an incredible takeoff. In just a year and a half, Zion has continually received excellent feedback and scooped up six awards including “people’s choice” from the Taste of St. Croix. Mikey is so appreciative of the continuous support from the local community and is excited to continue shaping and improving the restaurant. “The restaurant is a lot of work, but it’s fun,” Mikey reflected. “Everybody’s happy to come in and just be here—it’s home!” Check out Zion’s menu and musings on their Facebook page and www.zionmodernkitchen.com .
Celeste Hays Jarvis, GHS ’76: is currently the Chief Operations Officer (COO) for an aerospace company, Global Science & Technology, Inc. After graduating as valedictorian at 16, she received a scholarship to Redlands University in California. She transferred to University of California at Davis where she received her BS in Environmental Planning and Management. “GHS gave me a solid foundation on which to launch my education,” she recalled. “I found the courses that I took at GHS to be more rigorous than similar college courses.” Later she earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecology from Penn State University.
“Growing up on St. Croix instilled my love of the environment, and watching the changes on the island in the ‘70s made me realize the magnitude of the impact humans can have on natural systems.” After returning to St. Croix in the 80’s to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, she went back to graduate school where she discovered the field of Remote Sensing, which studies the Earth from space using satellites. “I understood immediately the impact this new technology could have on monitoring and measuring changes on the Earth, and that it would point to ways that we can predict, mitigate, and prevent negative consequences.”
With her Ph.D. and a newly found passion, Celeste started working as a scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She worked at NASA Headquarters, and eventually took a management position at Global Science & Technology, where she advanced to COO. Over the years, she worked with and managed teams that build and launch many Earth observing and weather satellites, and scientific teams that interpret the data.
In addition to her career, Celeste continued spending time outdoors. She backpacked the Wind River Range in Wyoming, and spent three summers living in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area in Minnesota collecting scientific data to help interpret what the satellites were showing.
St. Croix also etched a sense of adventure into Celeste, who took up hobbies including riding motorcycles, skydiving, and SCUBA diving: “Throughout my life, St. Croix has always been in my heart, and I had the great fortune to be able to return home as a visiting scientist with the Coral Reef Task Force. Studying reefs from space is beginning to reveal interesting results, and I love being a part of that growing field. I hope I can spend more time on St. Croix in the future.”
Dr. Jarvis lives with her husband Matthew in Maryland and has two grown children who have recently graduated from college.
Catherine Roth (CDS ’06): began her dance training at age 4, and was a featured actor and dancer in numerous CDS productions. After graduating with a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Catherine went on to perform in a wide range of repertory pieces as well as performing with the Lincoln Midwest Ballet and Brooklyn Ballet. She returned to St. Croix for a short period and supported Pointe Dance Academy as a teacher and as a choreographer for the Spring Recital as well as choreographing for the CDS musical Footloose. Upon her move to Washington D.C., she joined MOVEius Contemporary Ballet and Bowen McCauley Dance companies as well as performing with Ballet ADI and the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre Ensemble. Although she has performed at such venerated venues as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Sidney Harmon Hall, Catherine thinks that quality dance should be openly available to all people – a belief that was nurtured by her experiences growing up on St. Croix. In September 2015 she teamed up with an assistant professor of dance at Swarthmore and a management consultant to co-found the non-profit Agora Dance, and serves as its Managing Director. Agora Dance is committed to the presentation of new choreography by emerging and established choreographers. “I had the desire to serve the dance community. There are incredibly talented, hard-working artists out there, and I felt like I could help facilitate exciting projects that will feed them artistically and hopefully financially. But for dance to be effective, it needs to reach people. With Agora Dance, along with traditional venues, we’re trying to bring dance into un-traditional spaces, like parks and restaurants, to demonstrate what I already feel- that contemporary dance isn’t esoteric- it can connect to any community and that there’s value in watching it.”
Augustin Mason, GHS ’79: is the Head of the Quality Office at HERE, a leading provider of digital mapping and location-based services. Augustin and his international team are responsible for the HERE quality and continuous improvement vision, strategy and culture. Prior to leading the HERE Quality Office Augustin was the VP of Quality for NAVTEQ a global navigation company. Throughout his professional career, he has held numerous leadership roles in quality, corporate strategy, engineering and operations. Augustin spent 14 years at Motorola where he worked across multiple product lines and customers for the Automotive, Public Safety, Energy and Telecom industries.
A former member of the US Air Force, Augustin holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Engineering (B.S.I.E.) from the University of South Florida, a Master’s in Science in Industrial Engineering (M.S.I.E.) from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. Augustin is also a trained and certified Six Sigma Black Belt and part-time instructor at Northern Illinois University Lean Six Sigma Program.
Last month, Augustin sat down with us and shared some of his fondest memories of his time at The Good Hope School. His family is from Frederiksted and has always been involved in preserving the cultural history and traditions locally so it is not surprising that the cultural days during VI Culture & History week were some of his favorite times. His family often participated by teaching the students to make johnny cakes. In addition, he remembers taking marine biology with Randall Yoder where they explored the beachfront and mangroves on campus. “Even then I knew these kinds of experiences were unique” Augustin recalled. He continues to do his part to preserve the legacy of his alma mater by proudly sponsoring the salutatorian graduation award for Good Hope Country Day School.
Over the years, Augustin has returned home about once or twice a year, but since purchasing his luxury vacation rental home in St. Croix he now visits four to five times a year.
Alexandra Worede, CDS ’07:, has been fascinated with Europe since she was a little girl. She spent her sophomore year of high school abroad in Germany, a semester in London while completing her bachelor studies, and is currently living in Denmark, putting the finishing touches on her thesis to obtain a Master of the Arts in Business, Language and Culture, and profile in Global Marketing Management from the University of Southern Denmark. Upon graduation this June, Alexandra has been offered a position with Odense Robotics, a regional development company in Denmark, to implement her master thesis on employer brand and cluster development for robotic companies across the region.
When asked about her time at CDS, Alexandra reflects fondly: “I can’t help but smile when I think about CDS. I attended CDS since I was three-years-old, I remember getting blisters from the monkey bars, the sense of elation when I joined the Orange Team, and so much more! Most of all, I credit my attachment to CDS to my teachers and classmates. I sometimes run into former teachers, and we always share a hug and memories I myself have sometimes forgotten, but the teachers of CDS hold on to. I think that speaks for itself…”
Alexandra plans to pursue her career abroad for now, but knows she will eventually return home. “I feel blessed to be born and raised on St. Croix. I hope to give my future children the unique experience of growing up on St. Croix, and they will of course attend GHCDS!”