STX: Q's about Country Day vs Good Hope Schools
We recently visited Country Day and Good Hope Schools with our 14 yr old. Got the tour. Saw both schools in action. Have heard very good things about each. Both seem like good choices.
But one thing stood out, and we're wondering what to make of it. The racial/cultural makeup of the student body at the two schools appears to be quite different. Country Day appeared to have a significantly higher proportion of "white" kids. Significantly higher.
We assume it may have to do with location, --Good Hope being closer to Fredericksted, Country Day being more mid-island (closer to the 'very white' east end). Perhaps Good Hope has a more aggressive scholarship program for locals? (guessing at that) Wondering if we're missing something that might matter in our decision.
Would also be happy to share our tour/impressions via PM.
This is how I made my decision. I talked to many people who have children here. No one had anything negative to say about either school. I live in Cotton Valley on the east end. I know 5 families here that send their children to Good Hope. I have talked to several people who send their children to Country Day but I don't know where they live. I know 3 people personally that sent their children to Country Day but their children are grown and now live off island. They were very happy with their childrens experiences. It was difficult decision. I finally decided when I was talking to a local couple. Their child goes to Good Hope. I asked them were they lived and they said right next to Country Day. The wife then said, " you feel warm and fuzzy when you drop your child off at there." I agree.
With that being said, I also think that different children have different needs. Alexandra, I believe you sent one of your boys to Country Day and the other to Good Hope. Maybe you can add your input.
Hope this helps.
My daughter spent 3 yrs at Country Day and we were very happy with the school. She was able to take AP science classes (forensics for one) and robotics was one of her electives. Good teachers, good atmosphere - excellent school trips to Europe - good links with the work community for Mini Gusto week (internships).
We lived West (right next to Good Hope on the beach) and Tash still went to Country Day. Then we moved to the North Shore so it was a little more convenient.
My feeling was always Country Day for science - Good Hope for liberal arts. I may be completely wrong. Good soccer program at CD - basketball, volley ball at both
Both of my boys went to Good Hope. I didn't really want to split them and have all the extra driving when we were new to the island. Due to an issue over credits for specific classes that are only required in the USVI, my older son who arrived here during his Junior year wouldn't have been able to graduate from Country Day, but Good Hope worked with us to be sure he graduated on schedule. He was on track where we came from, but when he got here he didn't have Caribbean History and other such specific classes and there just weren't enough quarters left for him to get them all in within his elective periods at Country Day. I very well might have sent them both to Country Day if the credit issue hadn't arisen. It would have been a close call. As it was, the decision was made for us. My husband's children had gone to Good Hope when they lived on STX, so he was pushing us in that direction anyway.
We weren't unhappy with Good Hope. There were more kids in their grades at Country Day and that would have given a larger number of potential new friends in this very small pond situation. Where we lived at first was midway between the two schools. Later we moved very close to Good Hope, so it worked out well enough. My son who graduated there went onto college and then opted to go into the Air Force. The younger son is now on the mainland as a junior in high school, but is actually going to a junior college rather than a high school. He found after going back to school on the mainland that he had gotten into the groove of small classes where the students are somewhat serious about their studies. The huge class at his new mainland school with kids acting up and nobody paying attention didn't work for him and he's much happier in a collegiate situation now despite being just 17.
When you bring your kids here from the mainland, especially if they are junior high or high school age, approach it with them as if they were in a foreign exchange program but they still get to live with their own family. The cultural differences and very different school structures might make more sense to them if they really understand going in that they are embarking on a foreign adventure. Expecting it all to be just like on the mainland will leave them confused and quite possibly unhappy when their expectations get a shock. There is no question that it is different here. Different doesn't have to equal BAD!
A little PS for either school... teens can easily get in with a crowd that can lead them astray. Drugs and alcohol are easy to come by in the islands. Some kids steer clear and others get sucked in. It's worth taking the time to talk to your kids about what they might experience before they start school here so they feel more comfortable bringing up the subject with you if other kids start offering them drugs. I got lucky that my sons weren't interested in being pulled that direction. They both reported many "opportunities" and were very happy that they were best friends to each other and could always hang out together if the other kids they knew were seeking a different kind of "fun".
What great comments...These are people who care.
Neil you are very fortunate to have this advice.
I agree, thank you Alexandra.
Yeah, I feel the same way too. Great info.
Still hoping someone will have some insight as to why there is a VISIBLE difference between the two schools' racial/cultural makeup/proportions. That jumped out at us. It's not a dealbreaker, just very curious.
I have not personally seen a classroom at Country Day so I had no idea that there were more whites there. I know that Good Hope is very racially mixed. Since I am raising my son here, to me it is important that he is in a racially mixed environment.
Hi and greetings;
In addition to the two schools that you have listed, it is not known by many parents on the island that Hovensa sponsors a technical school, full 4 year program, that will run in conjunction to and with the private schools class schedule.
Hovensa has direct operational control and pays the entire billing for a certified program in electrical, instrumentation, and millwright. I am the millwright instructor.
This program is nationally recognized and accepted throughout the world!
Upon graduation, any student who takes the program, in addition to the regular high school graduation diploma, get a certificate of graduation from NCCER and national educational group in the chosen field.
Hovensa has needs to accept 20 graduates for their needs, additional graduates will be picked up by the other trade groups in the refinery.
It should also be noted that this program has produced employees for positions all over the globe, not just in the refinery field! Electricians and millwrights are necessary everywhere.
Presently Hovensa, and all the the outside contractors are waiting patiently for the graduates, then they will start immediately at the refinery, usually about the $40,000.00/yr rate! All the trades have stated that they will pay 100% for any further educational programs leading to degree....other words a full college degree program (correspondence or UVI). Not a bad deal. Wish that somebody would have paid for my college!
Just think, it may take a year or two longer to complete a bachelors degree, but where else can you make $240,000 in 6 years, get a diploma, a degree, and use somebody else's money!
Just a thought.
Tamii... Country Day had a diverse looking student body.
Very positive visit. Lots of good things to say about them.
Just noticed they had a much higher percentage of "caucasian-looking kids" in the upper school and wondering why.
I think it may be cyclical - when Tash wasat Country Day, the ethnic mix seemed pretty equal and a lot of her white friends went to Good Hope. Senator Russell's daughter was/is at Country Day, and he is certainly fairly vocal on the subject of race and discrimination. So my guess is, no real reason.
I think that the locations of the two schools do play a lot into the racial demographics of the classes. Country Day is closer to the east end of the island where so many Caucasian Continental families move that more of the east end kids go to Country Day rather than commute the extra distance to Good Hope. I did know some kids from the east end who were enrolled at Good Hope, so it's not a hard and fast rule. Another factor may be that Hovensa often pays the private school tuition for children of their specialty contractors and many of them live closer to Country Day than to Good Hope. New arrivals to the island are often fearful of venturing too far as they learn to drive on the left and are quick to choose the closest option. At the same time, west end locals may also avoid extra driving and enroll their children at Good Hope if they don't pass by Country Day on their regular commute. I suspect that if there was a private school out in Cotton Valley that Country Day might lose a lot of their students simply for logistical reasons as most parents would prefer to avoid the longer drive time if they had a viable option.