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St. John Passed Over in Val and Sal Recognitions


July 6, 2004 – When Senate President David Jones got an Economic Development Program beneficiary company, Alaback Enterprises LLC, to donate Hewlett Packard Compaq laptop computers to the territory's graduating high school valedictorians and salutatorians, somehow those at The Coral Bay School on St. John got left off the list.
"I believe it was an honest mistake," Scott Crawford, co-head of the school, said.
The Coral Bay graduated its first high school class — of nine students — this year. All nine are headed to college in the fall, according to Crawford.
The other 29 vals and sals from the territory's public, private and parochial schools received their laptops at a well-publicized ceremony held on June 22 at Gertrude's Restaurant on St. Croix. Jones, who organized the presentation, said it was important to him that scholars from all of the Virgin Islands be recognized. "They are all our children," he said. "This is one Virgin Islands." (See "29 Highest Academic Achievers Receive Recognition".)
Crawford wants Jones to make it right so Coral Bay valedictorian Greg Miller and salutatorian Dillon Buchhalter can go off to college with laptops, too. So far, he's had no luck. Miller will be attending New York University and Buchhalter has enrolled at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Crawford recounted five phone calls made to Jones's office, where he was passed from person to person with none of them promising any action. Finally, last week, Jones returned Crawford's call.
"He agreed to approach the company," Crawford said.
Jones did not return phone calls from the Source asking for more information.
Crawford said he also called Sen. Almando "Rocky" Liburd to ask for help. He said Liburd wrote to Jones about the matter.
Liburd could not be reached for comment.
St. John Administrator Julien Harley was a bit miffed that The Coral Bay School got left out. He said he would follow up with Jones to see what could be done.
In addition to Alaback Enterprises donating the computers, another EDP beneficiary, Corporate Services Group LLP, donated cases for them. The cases had custom inscriptions done courtesy of Billy Dee's Special Tee's, a silkscreening firm on St. Thomas. FirstBank and Shoreline Management Group donated the luncheon.
The Economic Development Commission Web site as of Tuesday did not list Alaback as a beneficiary. The person who answered the phone at the EDC office said staff would not supply names of beneficiaries and referred the caller to the Web site.
No one from Corporate Services Group LLP returned a call requesting comment.
The Coral Bay School opened in 2000 with a ninth grade class and has added grades each year since then. For the 2003-04 year it offered instruction in grades 7-12 and had 90 students. In May it received accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. (See "Coral School Gets Credentials, Eyes Expansion".)
Coral Bay will merge with Pine Peace School, which offers pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, to open in the fall as the St. John School on Gifft Hill. Pine Peace started as a pre-school more than two decades ago.

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