Rhythm & Views by Cassie Pociask

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Forget the bus, take a boat 

More than 200 students and teachers travel between St. John and St. Thomas everyday, and many of these students travel to St. John.

The journey to St. John is more of an expedition. From getting stuck in traffic on St. Thomas, to waiting in a ridiculously long line where most do not understand the actual concept of a line, and being stuffed into a ferry like a burrito, it is hard to imagine why some people make the decision to undergo this commute.

Teachers, Students Make Journey
But, with the rewards that such a close-knit community offers, small classroom sizes, and high test scores, it is quite apparent why St. John is becoming popular for its educational system.

It is not only students who are making this commute; educators are taking this daily “expedition” as well. Among other dedicated teachers, two Julius E. Sprauve School teachers, Ms. Richmond and Ms. Whitaker, make this expedition every day. These women have been traveling to St. John for a combination of 28 years. That is almost three decades!

Richmond, a physical education teacher, was actually assigned to JESS. She wanted to transfer to a school closer to her home because it would be easier on her, but the principal would not allow it. She was too much of an asset to the school and he would never sign the transfer papers. Now, after 20 years, she would not leave it.

Commute “Worth It”
Whitaker, a JESS teacher of eight years, is also a physical education teacher, but for grades pre-k through 6. They both love the great community St. John offers and the intimate relationships that may develop in such small classrooms. They also commented on the high test scores that St. John is known for, which is a plus for parents who are considering sending their children to a St. John school.

For teachers and students who are considering commuting from St. Thomas to St. John, these teachers say, “It’s worth it!” It may mean waking up at an hour that most teenagers do not think exists, but as these women said, “It’s worth it!” Because St. John is not just an island, it is a family where people care for other people and take the time to make relationships that last.

This makes a great community for any child to grow up in, and an even better place to go to school in. So before considering going to St. Thomas for school, check out a St. John school instead.