>Cul de Sac, Sint Maarten — Despite the challenges St. Maarten Academy faces, the school continued its tradition of giving through the annual service project, >Project HOPE. The students and staff of the school donated grocery baskets with turkeys and ham to twenty-four (24) families of less fortunate students and friends during one month’s drive for charity. The theme for this year’s >Project HOPE was “Extending Hands, Extending Hearts”.
Under the guidance of Mrs. Joe-President, Head of the Department of Student Care of the Academy, this is the seventeenth year of this well-supported venture. The students, staff, parents, management and Board of the St. Maarten Academy had been donating canned goods, non-perishable food items and cash to bring cheer and assistance to some families who have face difficult economic challenges that arose in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Principal, drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool shared, “The St. Maarten Academy is not only in the business of academic excellence, but we are also about shaping character though the development of the whole child. It is how we are teaching this next generation that they have the power to make a difference, and the responsibility of service.”
Students and staff volunteered to sort the items and pack the baskets with much love and care. Staff gave their time in making personal deliveries to the homes of these families in several communities across the island – from St. Peters to Cole Bay/Cay bay to Philipsburg to Dutch Quarter to French Quarter, and anywhere between that we could meet the need.
The Board of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE) under which the school falls also extended its benevolence to the school bus drivers who have been going beyond the call of duty to safely transport the students to and from school under the shift schedule.
“Some drivers work all day on the regular route and although they may be tired, they still accommodate our evening schedule without complaints,” one official of the school stated. It is for this reason that FAVE felt it necessary to say thank you to the hardworking bus drivers by giving them turkeys and ham for the holiday. “It may not be much, but we want them to know that we really, really do appreciate what they have done and continue to do for our students.”