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Concert Will Fund Pre-School Scholarship

Dear Source:
The Rotary Club of St. Thomas East is organizing a concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday May 14th 2011 to raise both awareness of the need for high quality pre-school education, and also funds for a need-based scholarship for a young child to attend the Antilles Early Learning Center, where we know for sure that high quality pre-school education can be found. We are hosting an international recording artist, Sylvia Bennett – sophisticated, sparkling and sultry songstress – for a wonderful evening of sheer delight at the Prior-Jollek Hall at Antilles School.
Selling the concept of pre-school scholarships is much harder than selling the idea of college scholarships. It would be much easier to throw my hands up in the air, roll my eyes, suck my teeth, turn my back and say the situation is hopeless! Instead, let me try to sell you on the desperate need for high quality pre-school education.
Here are a couple of reasons…
1) Young Virgin Islanders are joining gangs from the age of six on up.
2) Young Virgin Islanders are killing each other.
Are you sold on the idea yet? How about this…?
When I go into the first grade classes at the beginning of every school year to hand out school supplies donated to each child by my Rotary Club, I look at the beautiful, joyfully expectant, innocent looking young faces, and I thank God for the teacher in their classroom, who will nourish their minds for a few hours a day. In my heart, I wonder many things, because statistics tell us that all may not be well… so I wonder…
  • What is their home life like?
  • Who amongst them are loved unconditionally or lashed with a belt?
  • Who amongst them are fed healthy meals or forage for themselves?
  • Who amongst them are read to or raped?
  • These children are already 6 years old… what has their journey been so far, and where is it going?
My heart bleeds a little for the children who are suffering in silence and my thoughts always go back to the first five years – the critical years that form a person’s habits and characteristics for the rest of their life, and in my heart, I know that if we truly want to mend our community, we cannot only focus on remedial solutions for children in their teens, but we must also create preventative programs for children under five.
Our intention at Rotary East is to continue to give very young children a good solid start which will head them in the right direction in the most formative years. We start with the Antilles pre-school but in the future we also plan to do scholarship fundraisers for other excellent pre-school programs, such as the one offered at VI Montessori School. As individuals we may not have the funds to provide scholarships ourselves, but together we can chip in and provide an opportunity one child at a time, and make changes in our community one child at a time.
Please buy a ticket and come to the concert or, if you are going to be off island, please buy a ticket and give it to a friend, or simply make a contribution to the fund.
Tickets are $50 and are available at Home Again in Red Hook (779-2877), at Antilles School Development Office (776-1600 ext 243), and from Members of Rotary East (626-1199), or call Corinne at 626-1199 or e-mail [email protected]
Corinne Van Rensselaer, St. Thomas


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