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Barracuda Bulletin: Week of October 27


Teacher Spotlight


Second grade teacher Kissa Williams has re-joined the GHS community this year. Kissa is a native of St. John who attended the Julius E. Sprauve School and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School before graduating from Georgia State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and English for speakers of other languages. She went on to teach English in Korea before returning home due to the pandemic for the 2021-2022 school year, when she worked as our pre-K assistant. Kissa went back to Korea to teach in 2022-2023 before deciding she’d like to be closer to home. “I like to travel and experience different cultures, but I just wanted to be home and closer to family,” says Kissa, whose sister, Nitta George, was our Class of 2023 Salutatorian. Kissa’s return to GHS has been a welcome one, says Lower Campus Principal Ms. Rachael. “She’s been a great addition to the team and her students really love her,” says Ms. Rachael. “She’s got a very calm, caring demeanor.” Kissa says she’s happy to be back at Gifft Hill School. “I like the community of support for the teachers, and for the students,” she says.


Upcoming Events



Students in our theater minimester have been working hard this week with the New England Youth Theatre on creating an original play, creating the set, and learning how to work with the soundboard and lighting. They are excited to present their show, "I Am An Original," tonight at 6:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Upper Campus atrium. There is a suggested admission donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children. We look forward to seeing you there!



We are looking forward to our annual Lower Campus Halloween parade on Oct. 31 at 8:45 a.m.! Parents and guardians are welcome to line up on the green top ramp to watch our toddler through fifth grade students parade around the green top in their Halloween costumes. Alternate activities will be available for those who do not celebrate Halloween. Upper Campus students will be shuttled by school personnel to the Lower Campus to take in the action. Please do not park across the street by the yellow house and along that stretch of road, as it is private property.



School will be closed on Wednesday, Nov. 1, in honor of D. Hamilton Jackson Day.



School picture make-up day is Friday, Nov. 3, at the Upper Campus. Lower Campus students who did not get their picture taken will be transported to the Upper Campus by school personnel. Picture order forms for those who did not get their picture taken are due Wednesday, November 1. Payment should be in cash or money order only and please include exact change for payment. Contact with any questions.



Students and their families are invited to join us for Showcase Night on Nov. 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This event will combine a potluck with the opportunity for parents to see their children's school work. Families, you're invited to bring a dish to share in a disposable dish, or a dish with your name on it, and enjoy socializing with other GHS families while also visiting your children's classroom(s) to see their latest work. Those who have children at both campuses can participate at the Lower Campus, the Upper Campus, or both. We look forward to seeing you there!



We are excited to kick off our 45th anniversary with a celebration Nov. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gifft Hill School Upper Campus. The evening will feature champagne and canapes created and served by our students, as well as a cash bar, Janet Cook-Rutnik art raffle to benefit the Ruby Rutnik Scholarship, surprise raffle items, and remarks and recollections by some of the school's founders. You can join us in celebrating this important milestone by clicking here to purchase tickets to the event. If you aren't able to join us but would still like to help us celebrate, click here to purchase raffle tickets.


GHS Highlights



Everyone at the Lower Campus, from our toddlers to our fifth graders, spent this week immersed in STEAM-related activities and projects. Pre-K's deep dive into the five senses included an activity where students made their own rain makers, which they then used to make beautiful music together.



Our Upper Campus students spent this week doing a deep dive into the topic of their choosing during minimesters. From producing a short film to exploring the physics of sailing to learning to swim, it's been a busy and enriching week for our middle and high schoolers!



We are thrilled with the kickoff of our 2023-2024 Farm to Table dinner series last night. The feedback from our guests was overwhelmingly positive. Our students, who learned their skills during this week's culinary and front-of-house minimesters, are proud to have created and delivered an elegant five-course meal. Thank you to everyone who attended! If you missed out, don't worry. There are two more Farm to Table dinners scheduled for this school year: January 25 and March 21. Click here to see photos from Thursday's event.


Sports Central



Congratulations this week goes to:

- Our varsity boys volleyball team who put in a good showing at last weekend's Antilles School Varsity Volleyball Tournament. Although our team didn't win any of their games, they really grew as a team during this second year of existence. Special kudos to Justin Richards for some great blocks and an awesome spike; Angel Perez for some good point-scoring serves; Kadeem Thomas, Jaden Pascal, and Taire Barnes for some aggressive blocks and keeping the net safe; Seamus O'Donnell for some amazing serves; and Isaias Obando for good passes and digs.

- Our varsity girls volleyball team for winning one out of three games at last weekend's Antilles School Varsity Volleyball Tournament. The team worked well together and put in a good performance despite concerns about ports closing due to Hurricane Tammy. Special kudos to De'Neicia Baxter for hustling and doing her best to get the ball over the net, Nadjah Jn Phillip for running up the team's points with her great serves, and Gleidy Castillo Caraballo for some great passes.

Go, Barracudas!



  • There will be no running club on Thursdays as our cross country runners travel to St. Thomas for their weekly meets.

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

  • There are no sports practices Tuesday, Oct. 31, due to Halloween.



All fall sports are now closed with the exception of running club, which will remain open to new participants for the remainder of the school year.

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

Middle school flag football

Monday, 11/6, 4 p.m. - GHS vs. Antilles at Trayser Field. If our team wins, they will advance to a championship game 11/8 at Lionel Roberts Stadium. If they lose, they will be second place in the league.

Varsity flag football

Saturday, 10/28, 4 p.m. - GHS vs. Antilles at Antilles

Monday, 10/30, 4 p.m. - GHS vs. Antilles at Antilles

Friday-Sunday, 11/3-11/5 - GHS will compete in a varsity tournament at the Joseph Aubain Ballpark in Frenchtown. The full schedule has not yet been released.

Girls middle school volleyball

Saturday, 10/28, 11 a.m. - GHS vs. Calvary at Antilles

Saturday, 10/28, 2 p.m. - GHS vs. Antilles at Antilles

Friday, 11/3, 4 p.m. - playoff game at Antilles, opposing team TBD

Girls varsity volleyball

Thursday, 11/2, 4 p.m. - GHS vs. All Saints at Antilles

Boys varsity volleyball

Thursday, 11/2, 4 p.m. - GHS vs. Montessori

Cross country

Thursday, 11/2 and 11/9, 4 p.m. - elementary 1 mile and middle school/JV 2 mile, location TBD

GHS will team up with JESS and IEK to compete on all-star middle school and varsity flag football teams in the Viya Bull and Bread Bowl 11/1 at 5 p.m. (middle school) and 6:30 p.m. (varsity) at the Joseph Aubain Ballpark in Frenchtown.



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


TRUNK OR TREAT, MONGOOSE TRICK OR TREATING SET FOR OCT. 31 St. John youth are invited to celebrate Halloween at Mongoose Junction and at Trunk or Treat in the gravel lot on Oct. 31. Mongoose Junction will host its traditional annual trick or treat event from 4 to 6 p.m. Trunk or Treat at the gravel lot begins at 4:30 p.m. and will go until dark. The event will feature a pumpkin patch, a haunted house, and live music by DJ Adonis. All children must be accompanied by an adult. To participate with your own trunk or to donate candy, contact



Friends of Virgin Islands National Park's Learn to Swim program will resume Saturday, Nov. 4. These lessons are free and open to adults and children ages 4 and above. Lessons take place the first and third Saturday of each month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Cinnamon Bay Beach to the left of the ruins. Visit for more information or to register.



The Kids and the Sea program is now enrolling students for its introductory seamanship program, which starts Nov. 4. The program teaches swimming, stand up paddle boarding, rowing, power boat safety, marine life, local waters, weather identification, and sailing basics, and is open to youth ages 8 to 18. Once a student has completed the seamanship program, they can attend the KATS sailing program on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon in Coral Bay. Those who would like to enroll should email with your child's name, age, and parent contact info.

Additionally, KATS is seeking volunteers for the sailing program and the swimming, paddle boarding, rowing, weather, and local waters sections of the seamanship program. Volunteers must be CPR and first aid-certified. Email to indicate your interest.



University of the Virgin Islands' University Bound Program and Alpine Securities, USVI are collaborating to provide SAT Preparation Courses for juniors and seniors in the St. Thomas/St. John District. The 10-week program begins Saturday, Dec. 9, with the final exam scheduled for Saturday, March 9. The program will take place at UVI's St. Thomas campus and requires a $50 deposit, which will be returned upon completion of the program. Click here to enroll. The deadline is Oct. 31.



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.

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