PHILIPSBURG – Oftentimes, we hear of many back-to-school initiatives that are geared toward younger, primary school aged children, but these support initiatives are not usually extended to high school students. With that in mind, the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) with the financial support from Windward Islands Bank (WIB) embarked on an initiative to provide school supplies to 286 vulnerable high school students. Currently enrolled across nine local high schools, the students were identified by the care staff of their respective schools as living in vulnerable situations.
Upon hearing of the project, Eunice Odoño, Charlotte Brookson Academy’s School Counselor and Care Coordinator, expressed, “It is imperative that the most vulnerable youth are supported especially given the current issues we all are being faced with. It is not surprising that many of our young people have escalated feelings of anxiousness and apprehension given the impact of the pandemic on top of the weight of other social and domestic provocations they are already concerned with.”
With the help of School Managers and Care Coordinators from all nine local high schools who identified 286 vulnerable students and community-minded vendors such as Office World who provided favorable pricing, SMDF successfully distributed the packages to the students attending the following schools: Milton Peters College, St. Maarten Academy PSVE, St. Maarten Academy FAVE, St. Dominic High School, Sundial School, Methodist Agogic Center High, St. Maarten Vocational Training School, Charlotte Brookson Academy, and Excellence Learning Academy. The donation included geometry sets, spiral notebooks, composition books, pencils, erasers, pens, white-out, graphing and college-ruled paper, folders, highlighters, crayons, colored pencils, rulers, glue sticks, scissors, and a motivational letter.
“WIB is proud to have provided financial support to realize this project, which contributes to so many high school students being able to receive well-needed school materials. As your Partner in Progress, WIB always aims to ensure all segments of our society are provided with the means to strive for success” stated WIB’s General Managing Director Derek Downes.
As the project concludes, SMDF thanks WIB for their contributions as well as all nine participating high schools for their partnership and collaboration.
In photo (left to right): Mrs. Sharika Patrick, CBA Office Manager; Jennai Marlin, SMDF Financial Administrator; Mr. Al Fortune, CBA Acting Principal; CBA students; Breanna Barrie, SMDF Project Associate; Ferdinand R. Beauperthuy, WIB Marketing & Public Relations; and Mrs. Eunice Odoño, CBA Student Counselor