Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands experienced major damage as the result of back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria in September and October, 2017.
All Saints’ Cathedral School in Charlotte Amalie – the capital and largest city of the United States Virgin Islands, located on the island of St. Thomas – and its parent church, All Saints’ Cathedral, continue to recover from damage while offering support to their St. Thomas community.
Since 1928, All Saints Cathedral School has been a multi-generational educational anchor of the Charlotte Amalie community, preparing hundreds of St. Thomas’s students for college. Its mission is to instill in each student a love of learning, an active respect of people of all faiths and backgrounds, and a fundamental sense of integrity; and to provide a nurturing environment which values independence and self-worth, physical health, spiritual awareness, and responsible citizenship.
Ardrina Eliot, a lifelong resident of the Virgin Islands, school parent, and administrator at All Saints’ Cathedral School, shared this report with NAES:
“The school suffered severe losses to its physical plant, instructional materials and human capital due to the hurricanes. There was widespread water invasion in the majority of the classrooms and book storage facility; students lost textbooks and support materials as roofs were blown away; water, mold and mildew damaged ceiling tiles, computers, back-up devices and laptops; intense wind surges caused window screens to be blown off and damaged; school building roofs have all been compromised, and at least one was destroyed.
In addition, enrollment dropped from 230 to 202 students, a decline attributed to many parents moving off-island following losses incurred as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. As business and households undergo recovery and reinstatement, it is anticipated that as many as ten students will return for the next school year, although this is not a certainty.
Finally, the school’s major spring fundraiser, which normally nets an average of $125,000.00 for the annual fund, was displaced as the host location and other probable venues all sustained significant damages as a result of the hurricanes, and the attention of the school and local businesses turned to hurricane recovery. Consequently, the school’s operational budget has been severely hit by the loss of tuition revenues as well as decreased philanthropic support, which have traditionally financed financial aid and scholarship support, enhancement programs, extra-curricular and sports clubs, art and cultural offerings, and faculty and staff training.”
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All Saints’ Cathedral and All Saints’ Cathedral School are part of the efforts of the Episcopal Diocese of the Virgin Islands to rebuild their institutions and the island they call home.