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Alumni News! – 2.6.18

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Dear Alumni:

Happy February! After an extraordinarily challenging first semester, we are delighted to be in week 3 of our second semester and making headway on many fronts.

First and most important, we have already raised $789k of our target of $900k in fundraising for the year to help offset the projected $1M financial blow of Maria. Our success to-date has been thanks to a critical lead gift in the fall of $350k – the largest gift in the school’s history, record support of nearly $150k from our trustees, another $150k gift from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, and many other generous gifts from members of our school community, including our graduates.

On that note, I hope all of you will consider making an annual fund gift to support our efforts. Our advancement team will be reaching out in the weeks ahead – we hope to secure at least 400 gifts of $50 or more from our alumni, which would represent a 20% participation rate and make us the clear leader in the region. Most important, these dollars will positively impact our students, including the amazing class of 2018, pictured below on Friday, October 13, amazingly unfazed in the days after Maria.

 

 

Also on that note, if you are aware of any grant funding from foundations or corporations (including family foundations and your own companies), please contact Linda Stamper-Keularts in the advancement office at 340.778.1974 x 2113 or lstamperkeularts@ghcds.org. We are trying to bring transformative resources to GHCDS and appreciate any insights or suggestions you may have.

We wouldn’t have made it this far if it hadn’t been for our committed trustees, who have demonstrated remarkable leadership and generosity in the last five months. I wanted to highlight and thank our trustees who are alumni, parents of alumni, or current parents:

  • Cesar Guerra, CDS ’96 and GHCDS P’26, ’23
  • Gerry Groner, CDS P ’01, ’03
  • Michael Bourque, GHCDS P’25, ’24
  • Rhea Abramson, GHS’93
  • Doug Capdeville, GHCDS P’20, ’20, ’20, ’20
  • Joeseph Croney, GHCDS P’26, ’24, ’20
  • Jed JohnHope, GHS’98
  • Cathy Mares, CDS P’98, ’05
  • Honnie Edwards, CDS P’01, GHCDS P’14
  • Ricky Evangelista, GHS’87, GHCDS P’21
  • Dave Ridgway, CDS P’04
  • George Ashley, GHS P’13, GHCDS P’17
  • Nesha Christian-Hendrickson, CDS’01
  • Michelle Dizon, CDS’84, GHCDS P’20, ’22
  • Kye Walker, GHS’95
  • James Benton, GHCDS P’31
  • Laurence Richards, GHCDS P’22, ’26

 

 

Farewell For Now!

Phyllis Biddle, Art Teacher GHS and GHCDS

Written by Dan McKenna

The population of St Croix is 50,000 plus or minus a few.  If you are involved in education, art, restaurants or anyplace where discussions are held on a higher plane you would know her by one name just as one might recognize Cher.
“Phyllis”.
That name would instantly remind us of the most ebullient personality in the US Virgin Islands. Her laugh, her smile, her gentle nature, the patience she had with the children and adults that sought her knowledge in the world of visual arts is incomparable.
I see her now in a group discussion, a glass of Pinot Grigio in one had and an opinion, at times spot on, at times half baked, on her mind ready to be fired into the conversation.  She appreciated a genuine thought, a verse, a pencil drawing, a new book title or a work of art all equally.
I was given her number eleven years ago by Betsy Campen after I saw “Cane Cutters” in the frame shop.  I tried to reach her for four months but could not get a return call. So I walked in to the Good Hope art room unannounced one afternoon. Having spent twelve years in the Catholic parochial school system in Cincinnati I remember that “Silence” was always the golden rule. The scene in the art room was utter chaos. Students were milling about talking freely and Phyllis, at the head of the class, had The Rolling Stones on a boom box at full volume singing “Let’s Spend the Night Together”.  Sister Mary Katherine would have fainted on the spot but the quality of the art that was being created by the students was stunning.  Please raise a glass and read the words of the great Irish poet Thomas Moore in honor of a life well lived.
 
“And so on this evening,
When pleasure fills up,
To the highest top sparkle,
Each heart and each cup,
Where ‘ere my path lies,
Be it gloomy or bright,
My soul dear friends,
Shall be with you tonight.
I’ll join in you revels,
Your sports and your wiles,
And return to me beaming
Midst all of your smiles.
Too blessed if it tell me
That mid the gay cheer,
Some kind soul murmured,
“I wish she were here”.
Off with ya then, Phyllis Biddle. Until we meet again.

 

Jazmine Willock, CDS’ 13

Written by former CDS Art teacher, Monica Marin

Rest In Peace our sweet, beautiful and talented Jazzy! This news has shattered our universe as we loose one of the Virgin Islands most beautiful souls inside/out and brilliantly talented visual artists. You will be so missed but your memory will forever fill our hearts with love. I send my heartfelt condolences to all her family and loved ones. I will never forget her bold and beautiful artworks- many masterfully painted & drawn portraits, that rightfully earned her a 1st place Congressional Art Award, the highest art achievement for HS students in the United States. Her artwork hung in the White House for 1 year as a result. The time I spent with her in my art room on a daily basis always filled my heart with joy. She was truly one of the sweetest and most talented students, always humble and always down to earth.  She made the very best art under the most difficult of circumstances ever and always with a smile. Love you forever Jazmine we will never forget your power!

 

 

 

Alumni Reflections!

Kirra Griffith

What are you doing these days?

As a Chancellor’s Science Scholar, I have been involved in many classes and workshops surrounding professionalism and opportunities for research here at UNC Chapel Hill and at Duke. Last fall, I was elected Governor of my Community and since then I have been planning and hosting many social events for the residents in my residence halls, attending meetings, and networking with older students, professors, and UNC alumni. I am also a part of the Campus Y HYPE program (Helping Youth by Providing Enrichment) wherein I tutor children in kindergarten & elementary school (grades K-5) once a week.

I recently applied for summer research positions at the National Institutes of Health, UNC Chapel Hill, UPenn, and the University of Washington, Seattle. I am also in the process of applying for a position on the Executive Board for the Residential Housing Association at UNC.

In terms of extracurricular activities, I joined a Judo Club (martial arts) and for my Music minor (Major: Biology; Minors: Chemistry, Music), I am practicing the piano and taking private lessons next school year. I still swim and dance in my free time at the Campus Recreation Center.

Favorite part of what you are doing:

I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. Everyone’s path to Carolina was different and it is really exciting and inspirational to hear about their lives, dreams, and aspirations as college students and beyond.

What are your plans for next year:

Next year, I will be pursuing a research project on the relationship between memory and attention in a Neuroscience laboratory with a professor I met last Fall. I will also be networking with medical students and leaders of UNC Medical Admissions to involve myself more in service opportunities and clinical shadowing at UNC and Duke. In terms of major classwork, I will be tackling Organic Chemistry and Genetics! I hope to continue martial arts, take private piano lessons, and continue swimming and dancing.

Anything or anybody you miss from GHCDS:

I miss my coaches, mentors, teachers, friends, and family. You all were integral to the development of who I am today and who I am becoming. Thank you all for being a part of my life.

 

J’had Ferris

What are you doing these days?

I’m currently doing classes at UVI while simultaneously applying to other schools and looking for scholarships in an effort to create a path for my future.

Favorite part of what you are doing:

Although I didn’t really want to be here this year (thanks, hurricane Maria) I am enjoying getting to spend time with my friends and being able to go to the beach whenever I want to.

What are your plans for next year:

I plan on transferring to a new school and start living my best life!

Anything or anybody you miss from GHCDS:

Obviously I miss a lot of my classmates and other friends from school who I don’t see often. But I also miss the teachers and faculty that I’ve really gotten close to over the years. Like Linda and Kiomie, Ms. Banwaree, Ms, Grace and lots of others. I also miss the theater! I have so many great memories doing the plays and musicals at GHCDS and it’s kind of weird knowing that I won’t be on that stage with my theater family this year!

 

Elise Stamper

What are you doing these days?

Putting in 150% into my studies as a Honors Biomedical Engineering student at VCU.

Favorite part of what you are doing:

My favorite part of what I am doing is studying things that interest me and using problem solving in my more conceptual classes. I also love discovering new things about campus life in Richmond.

What are your plans for next year:
My plans for next year are to continue working hard and succeeding in my classes and to maybe get involved in a biomedical engineering research lab at my school to gain experience in biomedical engineering.

Anything or anybody you miss from GHCDS: 

I miss the small and caring community at GHCDS. I miss my wonderful teachers especially Ms. Biddle and all the one on one attention and support I got from the teachers and staff at GHCDS.

 

Mario Capriola

What are you doing these days?

Since graduating from GHCDS I have been attending UVI and working at Caribbean Adventure Tours (CAT).

Favorite part of what you are doing:

Working at CAT has given me the opportunity to visit bio bay in salt river many times. It’s truly been very rewarding to see and tell tourists and locals about one the VI’s greatest wonders; bioluminescence.

What are your plans for next year: 

Right now I’m not quite sure where life will take me next year, but I know that the future is bright!

Anything or anybody you miss from GHCDS: 

There is so much I miss at GHCDS but there are two things I miss most of all. First all of my teachers and the staff; I had a close bond with a lot of the faculty at GHCDS and I miss their daily encouragement and support! Second the many activities and clubs I was apart of, never was there a dull moment on my schedule at GHCDS!

 

Hailey Coates

What are you doing these days?

These questions made me reflect on last semester and compare it to this semester so far. SO…a message to every student at GHCDS: first semester freshman year of college is going to seem insane. The pressure of making friends, doing well in your classes, participating on campus, and getting to know your new home is A LOT. I am currently majoring in Psychology on the Pre-Med track and it takes a lot of dedication to do this. That is why I put emphasis on the word “currently.” I think about changing my major every other day–no lie. I’ll keep you updated on that but I may continue on the Pre-Med track and major in theater or take a completely different turn and do Engineering. As for New York City life, there is so so so much to do that sometimes I find myself doing absolutely nothing. Which can also be nice. I spent my first week in Manhattan basically crying every time I stepped onto a subway because I was scared I was going to get lost. Now I can get anywhere in the city (wherever you end up Google Maps is your best friend). Coming from St. Croix, this city seems so weird and I’ve seen the most bizarre things – usually late at night on the subway. Finally, one semester later, I am settled in. I love the people I hang out with, I have applied to be an RA (saves you tons of money), finally auditioned -and got into- a play, and figured out how to handle terrible dining hall food.

Favorite part of what I’m doing: Living it up in the city! As tempted as I am to hide from the cold outdoors, I try and do at least one new thing each week. Usually my friends and I find cheap food, see a show, or a new baby or dog in the park to stalk.

Plans for next year: Next school year is far away I’m not worrying about that right now. I need a job though cause this place is expensive.

What I miss from GHCDS: Everyone knowing and being friends with everyone. Also the weather. CHERISH THAT.

 

Shauni Lustig

What are you doing these days?

I am currently living in Ecuador. I work in the municipality of my home town Biblián and I work Monday through Wednesday at the center for disabilities and on Thursday’s I work in a local hat factory where we weave Panama hats.

Favorite part of what I’m doing:

My favorite part of what I am doing is spending time with my local friends and with my host family. (They all only speak Spanish)

Plans for next year:

I have just finished applying for schools that are all located in Spain excluding one located in the United Kingdom. I have no set plans for next year, yet!

What I miss from GHCDS:

I would say I miss my friends that are still back home in GHCDS that haven’t graduated yet but I’ll be back soon to see them.

 

Marshall McCormack

What are you doing these days?

I am going to school at Texas Tech., taking classes, working out everyday, about to get a job working as a referee for intramural basketball, I’m applying for another job and i’m also in the process of applying for an internship at TTU, and living the grind life. You know me!  ; )

Favorite part of what you are doing:
I love watching Netflix and watching sad movies but I also love going to the glorious house of gains!!!! (the rec)

What are your plans for next year: 

My plans for next year include continuing school and working at my job or internship. I’ll be super busy, along with rushing for a fraternity.

Anything or anybody you miss from GHCDS: 

I miss so may people at GHCDS. Such great teachers and staff; So many individuals who loved and helped me get to where I am today!  Got to now!! Going back to the rec for the second time today, then hitting the library, the grind never stops!! Live life and love all!!  Marshall McCormick OUT!!!

 

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