2007 Julius E. Sprauve School Gala To Put Latest Technology in Hands of Teachers

With an eye on the future of the island’s deteriorating Julius E. Sprauve School (JESS), the Tenth Annual Sprauve School Gala on Saturday, January 13, 2007, will put the latest in teaching technology in the hands of the teachers at the largest St. John public school.

As momentum builds for a new kindergarten through grade 12 public school to replace the aging warren of barracks-style buildings in the center of Cruz Bay, the tenth anniversary fund raiser for the school will fund the purchase of “electronic whiteboards” for the teachers.

“The major goal this year will be to purchase electronic whiteboards for each grade level teacher at JESS,” JESS Principal Mario Francis wrote to community members in a fund raising letter this Fall.

“This technology will render traditional chalk and chalkboards obsolete,” added Francis, who is co-chair of this year’s gala along with Caneel Bay Resort General Manager Rik Blyth. “It will revolutionize instruction.”

Fund Raising With Eye on Future
As a new island public school looms in the not-so-distant future, the goal of this year’s fund raising reflects the future after a decade of funding projects to improve and maintain the deteriorating in-town education facility.

“These white boards are interactive and they captivate the students’ imagination and interest,” Francis continued. “The students may take a virtual field trip to African Serengeti during a unit on the same and compare it to the Amazon Jungle.

“The students and teachers will be able to share curriculum and culture from around the world,” the educator added.

With that objective, preparations for the annual gala hosted by the Caneel Bay Resort continue.
“As usual, the community has always been extremely supportive,” said Francis. “I’ve always been overwhelmed by the community support.”

“We’re sold out and donations are coming in,” the JESS principal said. “We’re still collecting donations.”

“Our objective is to surpass last year’s total,” Francis added.

$100,000 Raised at 2006 Gala
The 2006 gala raised more than $100,000 including donated in-kind service, according to the school administrator.

One of the highlights of the gala every year is the raffle drawing, which raises more than a third of the funds raised, according to Francis.

“We are asking (community members) to consider contributing a product, merchandise or service that would be raffled,” Francis said of the on-going planning for the January 13, 2007 event at the Caneel Bay Resort.

“We have solicited gift certificates,” Francis added. “Island businesses can still call us at 776-6336 and we’ll come pick up the gift certificate.”

“We’ll be happy to pick up completed certificates and/or products or you can mail them to the attention of Luana Powell, Julius E. Sprauve School, PO Box 719, St. John, VI, 00831, or drop them off at the school,” Francis said.