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Barracuda Bulletin: Week of November 17


Student Spotlight


Tenth grader Gleidy Castillo Caraballo joined the GHS community in 2021 for her eighth grade year. Gleidy says that the GHS community is “very close, kind, loving, and caring,” and she notes that Gifft Hill’s teachers are very encouraging. “Gleidy is dedicated, passionate, and willing to help others,” says tenth grade co-advisor Ms. Rashida. “She’s so responsible and kind,” adds tenth grade co-advisor Ms. Emma. Gleidy is a member of our girls varsity volleyball team, the IDEA club, and National Honor Society, and she plans to join our cheerleading team this year. She enjoys our culinary elective and she’s worked the front of house at every GHS Farm to Table event since she came to Gifft Hill. She's also part of the leadership team working to spearhead her class's fundraising efforts for their senior trip. “I’ve noticed that I’ve changed and progressed in the ways I wanted to since eighth grade,” Gleidy says of her experience at GHS. Outside of school, Gleidy plays tenor pan for the Love City Pan Dragons and she’s an active member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. She was also part of the Hear Every Voice creative writing program, which recently published a book, and she’s a member of the pantomime dance group, a collaboration between St. John School of the Arts and Society 340.


Upcoming Events


45TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION TOMORROW We are excited to kick off our 45th anniversary with a sold-out celebration tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gifft Hill School Upper Campus! Though event tickets are sold out, you can still support the Ruby Rutnik Scholarship Fund by purchasing tickets for the Janet Cook-Rutnik art raffle by clicking here.



There will be no school next week Wednesday through Friday in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. We hope everyone enjoys a fun, safe, and restful break!



We'll celebrate November birthdays at our monthly birthday assembly Wednesday morning, November 29, at 8:30 a.m. in the Lower Campus Great Room. Parents and guardians of first grade students, who will present at the assembly, are welcome to attend in person, as are parents of students with November birthdays.



Families of fall athletes are invited to attend our sports awards assembly Nov. 29 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Upper Campus atrium. All athletes will be recognized and special awards will be given. Families are invited to join us for refreshments and baked goods from 4:30 to 5 p.m. on the Upper Campus patio prior to the assembly.



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



Kudos to this crew for beautifying Mary Creek by removing about 11 bags of litter! This effort concludes our Coastweeks cleanups.



Our Lower Campus students had a fun and very educational visit Wednesday morning with members of Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services. They were able to see a fully suited up firefighter and try on the gear themselves, as well as operate the fire hose which brought a lot of smiles! Students also got to go inside a fire truck and try out the intercom system and the horn. Thank you, firefighters!



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.


MS. BECKY'S CLASSROOM VISIT It's been so wonderful to welcome Ms. Becky, who's been off island for medical treatment since August, back to the Lower Campus this week! She's joined Ms. Beth and Ms. Mekala in the toddler room to begin reintroducing herself to our toddler students and their parents. Becky will soon return stateside for a final round of treatment and health checks with the plan being for her to be back on St. John for good by mid-December.


Sports Central



Our flag football team will have its final game vs. JESS on November 21 at 4 p.m. at Trayser Field. Please come out and cheer on our players!



  • 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.



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. Practices are currently scheduled for November 29 and 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 will begin Nov. 28 and will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Pine Peace basketball court. Those interested in playing are invited to attend a meeting in Ms. Francis's classroom on Monday during lunch.

Girls Basketball is open to students in grades 6 through 12. Practices will begin Nov. 28 and will take place Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Lower Campus green top. There is also an optional practice on Thursdays at the Upper Campus basketball court from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Those interested in playing are invited to attend a meeting in the conference room on Monday during lunch.

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 green top, and grades 6 through 12 will practice Tuesdays and Fridays 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. at the Upper Campus atrium and field. 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



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.

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