top of page

Barracuda Bulletin: Week of December 1


Student Spotlight


This is kindergartener Coco Witbeck’s second year at Gifft Hill School.

“Coco has enthusiastically embraced everything we are learning, from letters and sounds to sight words and counting to 100,” says kindergarten teacher Ms. G. “She is always focused and on task. She has made such progress doing independent work at her ‘big kid’ kindergarten desk.”

Coco says she loves show and tell, when she is able to show off some of her favorite items like stuffies and a mermaid shell. Her favorite classroom activity so far this year was creating her own superhero.

“Ms. G. is a good teacher,” says Coco. “She’s really nice.”

Coco’s favorite special is PE “because we get to run around,” she says.

Coco is a kind, gentle, and considerate friend who has a wonderful imagination on the playground, says Ms. G.

Outside of school, Coco says she likes to “just play.”


Upcoming Events


BARRACUDA BOOSTERS PARENT ASSOCIATION MEETINGS MONDAY We are working hard to make the Gifft Hill School parent association work for you! Please take a moment to complete the survey linked below and mark your calendars to attend one of the two information/brainstorming sessions scheduled for next week. Click here to complete the survey: Parent Association Interest Survey And join us for one the following meetings: Monday, December 4 at 8:45 a.m. at 18॰64॰ Restaurant in Mongoose Junction Monday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Upper Campus conference room Monday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m. Zoom Link Meeting ID: 871 915 8703 Passcode: GHS The same information will be shared at both meetings Every contribution, big or small, is valuable!



We'll award our Lower Campus students who met their November academic goals on Wednesday morning, December 6, at 8:30 a.m. Parents and guardians of kindergarten students, who will present at the assembly, are welcome to attend in person, as are parents and guardians of students who will be receiving reading awards.



Upper Campus students who qualified for honor roll, high honor roll, or character awards during the first trimester will be recognized with an awards ceremony Thursday, December 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Upper Campus atrium. Parents and guardians of students who will be recognized have been notified and invited to the ceremony.



It's time to get in one last date night before the holiday season really heats up! Leave the childcare to us on Friday, December 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. when our National Honor Society will host a night out for GHS students in grades kindergarten through 6. The cost is $20 per child and the evening will feature crafts, pizza, and a holiday movie. Click here to RSVP.



Parents, guardians, and families of Lower Campus students are invited to attend our annual holiday show, when students will perform a short skit or song based on holidays around the world, on December 14. The show will be split into two viewings to allow plenty of room for parking and families to enjoy the show. Toddlers, preschool, pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade families are invited to the 8:45 a.m. show, and second, third, fourth, and fifth grade families are invited to the 10:45 a.m. show. Those with a child in both time slots should come to the 10:45 a.m. show.



GHS will offer an SAT course to help students prepare for the April 10 SAT test. The class will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from January 22 through March 14. There is no school February 19 so that class will instead take place February 23. The course will cost $100 which includes the latest version of the Kaplan SAT Prep study guide with practice tests. Please sign up early, as the course is open to all St. John high school students and space will be limited. To register for the course, email Mary Burks at Payments can be made through the GHS business office.


GHS Highlights



This crew of 10th-12th graders has spent this week engaging in self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community at the National Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership Conference in St. Louis. This is a highly impactful and meaningful trip for our students and we're so glad to be able to bring them to this conference once again!



Our kindergarteners learned so much on their field trip to Coral Bay Organic Gardens, home of the famous Josephine's Greens, this week! From how important bees and earthworms are to the farm to how bad plastic is for the environment, it was a fun and informative outing.



Thank you so much to those of you who have shared our social media posts and your own stories of how GHS has impacted your lives this week! As part of our Giving Tuesday campaign, our goal is to bring in 45 new donors in honor of our 45th anniversary. At the time this email was sent out, we were just over halfway there! You can help us reach our goal by sharing our message, along with your own story of what Gifft Hill School has meant to you and your family. Together we can show the world what education can look like! Click here to donate, and share this link with your network to help spread the word.



Second trimester clubs at the Upper Campus began Nov. 27. Clubs will end at 4:25 p.m. for a 4:30 parent pickup. Classes are offered at no cost on a drop-in basis with no sign-up required. The Upper Campus after-school schedule is as follows:


Academic support with Ms. Rashida and Mr. Bill

Art with Ms. Grafton

Games with Ms. Liz H.


No after-school academic support or clubs


Academic support with Ms. Mikayla, Ms. Emma, and Ms. Liz H.

Junior CEO with Chef La'Shanda


Academic support with Ms. Veronica and Dr. Brittany

Woodworking with Ms. Amelie


No after-school academic support or clubs



Please help us keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy by adhering to our infectious illness policies. Highlights include:

  • All individuals must be fever-free and vomit-free for 24 hours without medication before returning to school.

  • Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 must stay home for five (5) days.

  • Individuals who have tested positive may return to school on day six (6) if they are fever-free (without medication) and if other symptoms are improving. They are required to wear a mask at school until day 11.

  • Family members of individuals who have tested positive may attend school, but they should test themselves each time a family member (or they themselves) develop symptoms, AND on day five (5) after the first household positive regardless of symptoms.

  • Masking will remain optional for the general school population but is strongly recommended for anyone who is immune compromised and for anyone with household exposure.


Sports Central



Here's a schedule of games/meets coming up in the next week. Everyone is welcome to come out and cheer on our Barracudas!

Varsity baseball

Friday, 12/1, 4 p.m. - GHS vs. CAHS B at Kirwin Terrace

Saturday, 12/2, 9:30 a.m. - GHS vs. CAHS A at Kirwin Terrace

Saturday, 12/2, noon - GHS vs. CJM at Kirwin Terrace

Sunday, 12/3, 10 a.m. - Championship game at Kirwin Terrace

Monday, 12/5, 3:45 p.m. - GHS vs. private schools at Lionel Roberts Stadium

Tuesday, 12/6, 3:45 p.m. - GHS vs. Kean at Lionel Roberts Stadium



  • All fall athletes should please return their sports uniforms to Ms. Francis.

  • Be sure you are signed up for updates on your child's sport on Class Dojo. Contact for assistance.



Everyone is welcome to come out and join the first annual Cruz Bay Jolly Jog December 9 at 7:30 a.m. This one-mile fun run will begin and end at the Virgin Islands National Park ball field. The event is a partnership between Society 340, Gifft Hill School, and the Julius E. Sprauve School. Holiday costumes are welcome. Pre-registration is required and will continue through 7 a.m. the morning of the run. Printed sign-ups and an online survey will soon be available for registration.


WINTER SPORTS OFFERINGS The fall sports season has concluded, and we're ready to look ahead to our winter sports offerings. Winter sports offerings are detailed below. Registration for all sports closes December 8, with the exception of running club, which is open enrollment throughout the school year. Running Club is open to students in grades 3 through 12. Practice is currently scheduled for December 7 from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m., then there will be a break with practices resuming in January. Updates will be shared on Class Dojo. Boys Basketball is open to students in grade 6 through 12. Practices take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Pine Peace basketball court. Girls Basketball is open to students in grades 6 through 12. Practices take place Tuesdays at the Lower Campus green top and Wednesdays at the Upper Campus court from 3:30 to 5 p.m. There is also an optional practice on Thursdays at the Upper Campus basketball court from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Cheerleading is open to students in grades 3 through 12. Grades 3 through 5 will practice Mondays 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. at the Upper Campus atrium, and grades 6 through 12 will practice Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. at the Upper Campus atrium and field. Lower Campus students will be shuttled to the Upper Campus for practice. There is an additional cost for cheerleading uniforms. Baseball is open to students in grades 8 through 12. Practices take place Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Cruz Bay ball field.



See below for important dates to remember over the next two months. View the full school year calendar by clicking here.


Community Corner: News You Can Use



The Virgin Islands Dept. of Education will host the first in a series of free college prep/career readiness workshops tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the conference room of the Public Services Commission office located in Barbel Plaza. The aim of this workshop is to increase awareness among junior and senior students as well as their parents about the various financial aid opportunities available to them, including scholarships, grants, and loans; provide a comprehensive understanding of the financial aid process, including eligibility criteria, and deadlines; provide access to higher education by providing information on financial resources and strategies to help students afford college expenses; and empower decision-making by equipping students and parents with knowledge about financial options allowing them to make informed decisions about their college choices.

Parents and students are encouraged to come out and receive information to assist them with making the best possible choices for their students' post-secondary journey. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for additional resources and one-on-one support for students in completing the FAFSA application, SAT prep, post-secondary planning, course selection and academic guidance, and more. No pre-registration is required.



World Ocean School, which runs the Roseway/Denis Sullivan program offered each year to our eighth graders, is hosting a five-day liveaboard Winter Ambassador Program Dec. 18-22. The program will begin and end in Christiansted with likely stops to include Culebra, Vieques, and St. John. The program cost is $2,500 not including travel expenses, and scholarships are available to qualifying students. Click here to apply. Contact with any questions and visit to learn more.



Love City Pan Dragons will present a holiday concert and fundraiser for their summer 2024 trip to Antigua Saturday, December 23, at 5 p.m. at the St. John School of the Arts. The evening will feature complimentary passed apps, a cash bar, and an opening performance by Ronald Lee Jr. and friends. Tickets are $15 apiece and can be purchased in person from Andrea Milam or via Venmo (@Lovecitypandragons) or PayPal ( Please include each guest's name, phone number, and email address with online purchase.

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page