V.I. Board of Education Commemorates Birth of Jose Antonio Jarvis

Virgin Islands Board of Education

The 18th Virgin Islands Board of Education (VIBE) commemorates the birthdate of Jose Antonio Jarvis, one of the icons of Virgin Islands education. The board believes it is important to recognize and commemorate those persons who have shaped the educational process in the V.I.

Often, generations of the territory’s children pass through the public schools and have no idea who these buildings were named after or why. VIBE is attempting to provide a sense of history and inform children that affording them a quality education was a conscious decision that was made many years before they were born.

Jose Antonio Jarvis was born on Nov. 22, 1901. He is noted for being among the first Virgin Islanders to record the history of the territory both from a historical and sociological perspective. His book, “Brief History of the Virgin Islands,” was written to provide high school students with crucially needed information on their own history.

In 1930, he and Ariel Melchior Sr. founded the Daily News, a newspaper established to keep the public informed. It became the most influential independent newspaper of the Virgin Islands. Jarvis served as editor of the paper until 1940, when the partnership with Melchior was dissolved. Jarvis remained active in the literary and publication industry, publishing works of prose, poetry and drama.

Jarvis began his teaching career in 1924 when he was employed as a teacher at the St. Thomas Academy, a private school on St. Thomas. Shortly after being named to this position, he accepted a position in the public-school system where he taught social studies at the then Abraham Lincoln School. In 1934 he was transferred to Charlotte Amalie High School. Ten years later he returned to the Lincoln School as the principal and served there for the remainder of his career.

The members of the 18th Virgin Islands Board of Education stand on the shoulders of this icon of education and feel that he is due recognition. VIBE asks that the public join it in remembering his contributions and honoring his memory.