Monday, July 5, 2010

Wrapping up the school year!


to Sophia and little Charles, and Kai for a successful year in Statia's schools!

In a normal situation, a simple congrats would be appropriate. No blogging or bragging necessary. But this was a special year. Adjusting to a completely different culture was a challenge beyond anything they had experienced.

Among adjustments they had to:
  • Learn Dutch
  • Learn pidgin ("Caribeasian") English
  • Learn to live as minorities
  • Adjust to local mannerisms, including "shut-up" and corporal punishment as a means of school discipline
  • Go from 3.6 million and 9,000 square mile city to 3,000 and 9 square mile city.
  • Adjust from desert heat to 75% humidity
  • Avoid cow pattys at every turn
  • Learn to self-entertain
  • Recess means find some rocks and play with them or chase each other. There aren't many toys on that playground
  • Eat Jonnycakes and saltfish for breakfast
  • School supplies are not endless nor top quality.
  • Trade schoolbus and city streets to goat path walk
The Seventh-Day Adventist school was a wonderful school. The kids were treated with respect, kindess, and even affection. Charles quickly gained the reputation that follows him as a daredevil and class clown. The children liked to touch Sophia's hair. She had many admirers, especially one Oville, whom she was (without her consent) married to at recess. Sophia was praised by all of her teachers repeatedly as a good and hard-working student. She earned a very special award at the end of the year too! Ok a tiny brag moment. Please forgive.I am very proud of the kids this year!

Sophia and Salweh

With teacher Helen, who told me in p/t conference that she regularly prays to have five Sophias in her class.

Goodbye to the pet cow, goats, and Moto, the pet donkey.

With her 4th grade class

"Chalz", 2018 olympic bunnyhop hopeful, with teacher Regina.

Most Outstanding student
Kai's experience was unique. He decided to forego online classes and attend the "big" school at the last moment. This includes grades 7-10.

Important facts about his experience:

Dutch schooling places children in different levels according to ability. Kai was placed in the highest level HAVO (mostly because he comes from an American system, which is more advanced than the island program). This is important to know because it meant ALL his classes, including exams, were taught in the Dutch language. Imagine taking a test and not knowing a single word on the paper.
  • He was the only American and one of two white boys in the school
  • His best friends were Dominican Republicans, Dutch and Statian
  • Was referred to as "Primo" by the Dominicans. They had his back.
  • Had to wear a uniform but learned how to accessorize with a little bling.
  • He stuck out like a sore thumb
  • required to take 10 classes and 4 languages
  • Was known as the boy who rides the bike
  • Lots of excitement at school including fights, kids being chased by crowbars, and boys being arrested for drugs.
  • He became an expert in sneaking out of school early. Mom's consent.

If students don't pass their exams, they must repeat the year. They must continue repeating until they pass grade 10, up until 24 yrs of age. This means there were a few 20+ yr olds going to school with 12 yr olds. Gross.
A poster that was distributed on the Dutch Carribean islands. Front and center, the token white boy. Finally, a poster child.

We are happy to report that Kai passed all his exams, in Dutch.
Kai taking cousin Henry to school with him the last week.

Celebratory day at beach. What else? Taking out pent up energy on Pop.
Nikki, the evil accomplice.

What kind of sunset are they having in Phoenix tonight?