On August 24, 2020, Principal La Verne David-Duggins and the staff of the Lynch Plantation Seventh-day Adventist Primary School, on St. Eustatius, welcomed 86 students as the institution began the 2020-2021 school year. This institution, which is managed by the education department of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC), is the only one of eight schools across the conference that will host in-person learning during the first quarter of the school year.
Back to school events included a visit from the Deputy Government Commissioner for Education on St. Eustatius, Alida Francis; streamed greetings from the North Caribbean Conference; and orientation for students, parents and supporters of the school.
The Deputy Government Commissioner for Education on St. Eustatius had met with all teachers and education partners on Friday, August 14, 2020, to extend best wishes for a successful 2020-2021 school year and to receive an update on schools’ COVID-19 readiness. As a result of ongoing construction, the start of the St. Eustatius SDA School was delayed by one week. The principal reported to the Commissioner that the school was prepared to implement government and school board protocols related to COVID-19, which include social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing.
The NCC Education Director, Mrs. Gerene Joseph said, “We are proud of you students.” In her message to schools, Mrs. Joseph outlined the many sacrifices that students, parents and staff are called to make. She encouraged them with the acronym TRY – Trust in God; Reach your potential; and, Yes you can.
“Congratulations! The St. Eustatius SDA School is off to a tremendous start,” said Pastor Desmond James, NCC President, in his congratulatory remarks to the hard-working staff. He urged students and faculty to begin the school year by following God’s extraordinary plans for their life. Pastor Desmond James stated that the knowledge imparted by school goes beyond what can be acquired in a classroom or through a screen. He said. “It is the preparation to face the challenges of the present world in a victorious way and the world to come.”
During her presentation, Principal David-Duggins informed attendees that Agriculture Science was the most current addition to the curriculum. She highlighted the work of the school’s administration which facilitated the opportunity and added that, given the reality of these times, the institution will continue to move forward in fulfilling its mission. The principal also stated that developing leadership qualities in the children will be another core concept during the year, under the theme “The Leader in Me”. She explained that at the school’s first Literature Night in February, each class will replicate portions of the literary work, Leader Hall of Fame – Leader in Me. Principal Duggins concluded, “We expect a wonderful, fun-filled year focusing on bringing out the leadership skills in our students.”
The 2020-2021 academic year began with the news that there were no positive cases for COVID-19 on St. Eustatius. Teacher Hinkson commented, “This island is back to knormal unlike other places in the world [where] the children have suffered loss related to COVID-19. Yet still, many [children] are excited to be back at school.” The school was closed for two and a half months when the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, 2020. It reopened on a shift schedule and students, supported by faculty and staff, completed the 2019-2020 school year with a successful in person graduation.
The Lynch Plantation Seventh-day Adventist Primary School is a well-managed, visionary institution that provides quality education in a Christ-centered environment. The school is a part of the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist education system which offers holistic education that enables students to excel academically and socially in the global community.