Do your kids go to Country day or Good hope school?
Happy Holidays! My husband and I are planning on moving to St Croix. We have been several times and did our pre-move visit last year for a month during Christmas. I love St Croix and know my husband and I would love living there, however I am still curious to know from a child's point of view, what it is like growing up on the islands and going to Country Day or Good Hope school. We liked both schools when we visited the school events and did the tours last year. If you have kids that attend the school we would love to hear (via you) what their experiences are like on the island...do they love it, are they bored, do they miss life state-side, have they made friends easily, are they happy...etc...
Thanks in advance,
I Graduated from Good Hope in 2002 after being there since I was in first grade. My sisters were lifelong Good Hope Kids until they graduated in 2006 and 2007. While I LOVED my time at Good Hope, I would send my future children to Country Day. Good Hope loses teachers often, creating instability for the students. my favorite teachers, the ones who actually taught me things i remember, have been pushed out. The school has had a headmaster change almost every year since 2002. Country Day has a tough program, kids from the states who were at college preparatory schools have said that the curriculum is tougher than their old schools - i think this is a good thing. Country Day EACH YEAR gets over $1 million in college scholarships for their graduating seniors because the advisors actually care about getting their kids into college for less. Good Hope barely gets anything for their graduating seniors. I feel that CDS is the better choice. It's not on the beach like Good Hope is, but it is closer to Christiansted, if that's easier for you.
I don't have kids yet, but i hope this helps a little bit. Have a great New Year!
I like Country Day School a lot. I am sure Good Hope is very good as well, but I don't have any experience with it. CDS definitely has a challenging curriculum with really dedicated teachers. The students I have met here seem happy to be living in the islands. They have the same frustrations that the rest of us have about not being able to find stuff at Kmart, or waiting too long in the line at McDonalds or Plaza, but most of the transplants adapt quickly. From my outside experience it appears that the new arrivals make friends quickly since the class sizes aren't too large - between 12 and 20 per class (two classes per grade through elementary school). Some of the older students complain about not having much to do outside of school besides the beach - there are no matinees at the movie theater except on weekends, and I don't think the bowling alley is accessible during kid-friendly hours either. (This is mostly a problem for vacations.) There is a tight-knit community however, and frequent playdates, sports team events, and parties. There are recurring events like the Friday night crab races at the Deep End bar where you can always see some friends.
The funniest thing for me was that I expected to move down here and have my kids outside ALL DAY LONG. But the summer (April through mid-October) was SO HOT that I literally felt like I was BBQing my children, and I ended up trying to keep them in the shade from around 10 AM until around 4 PM. Maybe I over-reacted, but it is really really really hot and even with lots of sunscreen I still worried about causing longterm damage. I know that is off-topic but it was something I wasn't really prepared for!
But I love the way the kids are here. I moved from New York City and the kids here seem so much more innocent. They seem to get to be kids a little longer, although maybe NYC is an extreme situation to compare it to. Kids here start swimming so young - most of the two year olds I know are swimming. And they have a really nice lifestyle, getting to play and have freedom - so many restaurants have areas for them to play or run around. There are also places where you can sign up for dance classes or soccer or baton twirling or whatever.
Good luck with your preparations! Feel free to PM if you have any other questions.
I've heard from parents and kids who have gone to both, including some who've switched, or sent kids to both schools, and they say pretty much what everyone says: both schools are good choices. My daughter goes to Good Hope and likes it there a lot.
She visited both schools and toured with both headmasters. We didn't express an opinion until she did, and after visiting both, she was definitely drawn to GH, in part because of the MUCH smaller class sizes and the friendlier, more diverse feel. After visiting she observed that CDS' classrooms were much more crowded than GH's, and A LOT more white. We made the same observations.
More importantly for her and us... the message she and we kept hearing from CDS was about academics and getting into a good college. Whereas, the message delivered by GH leaned more towards personal development, community and enjoying school. Our daughter picked up on that and it very much resonated with her. It resonated with her because she wasn't an 'A' student; and she was coming from a large impersonal suburban stateside school; and she very much wanted to make new friends in a new place. Almost immediately the GH kids embraced her, and the parents were very welcoming and friendly as well. This is one of the advantages that a smaller school can provide.
Regarding the scholarships that were mentioned... Good Hope has a higher enrollment of local native kids and more kids on scholarship than CDS, so that may account for the difference in college $$. Personally, I think it's a TURN OFF when BOTH schools toot their horn about the schools they have sent some of their students to. Not all of our kids are cut out for the Ivy League, and not all of their parents think admission to Swarthmore and Cornell is what High School is all about.
There are stories from some families about their kids not liking one school or the other which have less to do with the school and more to do with their kids not adjusting to island life, or not wanting to come here in the first place.
The one advantage of CDS over GH is that it's more centrally located. That said, my daughter's East End GH friends say getting their is no big deal. Socially, many of the GH and CDS High School kids know each other and mix. There doesn't seem to be any "us/them" thing going on, -except on the sports fields.
I have met a few parents/kids from A-Z Academy and they seem to think that's a nice alternative too.