Currently the School caters to
a maximum of thirty students (30), ranging in age from
five to twenty years. These children exhibit learning
issues caused by a variety of physical, behavioural or
mental challenges. Students are referred to the Sunshine
School by parents or guardians who have a basic desire to
see their child’s special learning needs met; or by
teachers from other schools, health personnel or
interested individuals in the community.
Based on evaluation, compatibility within the school structure and
available space, students are enrolled into the school.
Parental involvement is strongly encouraged and is an
extremely important aspect of integrating the students
into the mainstream.
Students take part in annual
activities organized by the School for Children with
Special Needs Kingstown – SCSNK
(www.specialneedssvg.org), Special Olympics
and by the Association for Persons with disAbilities – ASPD
(email@example.com).Some students are returned to the
primary system if they have improved enough and are within
the age limit for the primary system. There are several former
students currently attending High School and who are performing
on par with their peers. Several other students have
successfully completed the programme and are well
integrated into the community. In 2013 six boys entered high
school and one girl completed the programme. In 2014 three boys
wrote and passed the CPEA (Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment)
Exam making the Sunshine School one of ten schools in SVG to
obtain 100% pass rate. Of the almost 2000 students writing the
exam in SVG that year one of our boys placed ahead of almost
800 other students. One girl has successfully written and passed
English Language and Science .at the CCSLC (Caribbean Certificate
of Secondary Level Competence) Exam (Grade 9 level), administered
by CXC. This year she is doing Mathematics and Social Studies.
After twenty five years at the Sunshine School, Camille Jacobs (Pinky)
retired from the government service in 2013. At the request of the Board
of Directors, she continued for another two year. This year however
Camille finally “retires from active duty”. Mrs. Joanna Stowe will replace
her as head teacher.
Hellen started working at the Sunshine School in 1996 and sixteen years
later, Helen is still here. Needless to say, a lot more mature, confident and
In 2003 Iyandal started on the YES (Youth Empowerment Service) programme,
where government sends young people to various work places to learn work
ethics and have on the job training. She performed so well that she was
requested for a second year. Finally she was maintained as a permanent
member of staff.
In 2008 she successfully completed a six month training programme in
pre-school education which helped to prepare her to work with the younger
Tracey also started on the government YES programme in 2010. She
performed well and was requested for a second year. She was also retained
as a permanent member of staff. In addition to working with a group of
students she is also responsible for the sewing programme.
Delnora our school cook joined the staff in 2003 and continues to prepare
delicious and nutritious lunches. She also teaches students how to prepare
meals and to take care of the kitchen generally.
Levan joined the staff in 2000, when the school moved into the new building.
He was on a part time basis until 2012 when he became fulltime.
He is responsible for the workshop and in addition to teaching students
woodworking skills; he also acts a maintenance man when needed.
The Sunshine School encourages volunteers to join the efforts of helping
our students learn. We had the good fortune of having several people who
have made a significant impact over the years. Persons living on Bequia
or just visiting the island for extended periods are invited to assist.
Several repeat visitors to Bequia continue to volunteer annually for periods
ranging from a couple weeks to several months. These volunteers assist in
a variety of areas ranging from taking a disruptive child for a walk, helping
in the classroom or teaching woodwork or music. The range of assistance
could be endless but the key is to utilize the expertise of the volunteer and
maximize the teaching potential.
In 2014 & 2015 Ron Cutajar –“Mr. Ron” worked with several boys in the
wood work shop. Jackie Reno (Jackie #1), Jackie West (Jackie #2),
Elizabeth Duncombe (Elizabeth #2) have been periodic in recent years.
Elizabeth Zook (Elizabeth #1) visited for the second year teaching students
to play the recorder and helping generally for about three months.
Some Volunteers who made a BIG Impression
One person in particular who stands out is Bill Livingston. “Uncle Bill” to
everyone visited annually with his wife Jeannie for several years. When
they got tired of the sea and the winters back home, they stayed on
Bequia for four to six months each year. Even after Jeannie passed away
in 2006, Uncle Bill continued to come. He helped the workshop evolve,
soliciting donations from home for equipment and supplies for the shop.
He worked daily with students, teaching them proper use of the
woodworking tools and various techniques to create functional and
whimsical items. Unfortunately because of health reason Uncle Bill is no
longer able to volunteer. Uncle Bill has contributed significantly to the
school in time and material for about fifteen years.
Erica Ouchi & Nobuhito Nakaoka
Erica, a Japanese volunteer completed a two year assignment from
2006 – 2008. She worked as a counselor but helped in several other
areas including sewing and crafts. Prior to that, another Japanese
volunteer, Nobuhito (Nobi) Nakaoka was with us from 2004 – 2005
and taught ceramics.
Gerry and Sandra Bird
Gerry and Sandra Bird volunteered periodically throughout the year
2001-2002 when they took a sabbatical from work and from the Bequia
Mission in Canada. Gerry helped to set up the workshop with donations
of tools and material from the Bequia Mission. Sandra helped in various
areas and activities throughout the school.
Cristina Felber (Dinni)
Cristina left her home in Switzerland to volunteer and teach “full time” at
the Sunshine School for one year (2009 – 2010). She was a valuable
asset to the school and contributed significantly to the growth of the school
and the children. She was not just a volunteer; she was an unpaid member
Tony Becks an Australian sailor visited for brief periods in 2012. He was
an extremely helpful handyman and assisted in many ways. On one
occasion he worked for almost an entire day securing windows after an
To each and every volunteer we offer our sincerest “thank you”. We hope
that you had a good experience at the Sunshine School and we look forward
to seeing you again.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Since the inception of the Sunshine School, there has been a Board of
Directors consisting of volunteers residing on Bequia. Potential members
are screened and selected based on their ability and willingness to participate.
To maintain proper office positions and dedicated seats, the Board holds
Monthly meetings are held throughout the year with agendas covering
school business, development and funding. It is the responsibility of the
Board to raise the funds necessary to keep the school running efficiently.
The Officers are:
President: Dr.Greg Thomas
Vice President: Beverly Neely
Secretary: Tom Donoghue
Treasurer: Suzanne Gabriel
|Camille Jacobs||Elaine Ollivierre||John Corbett|
|Leisa Ollivierre||Kerry Ollivierre||Donaldson Quashie|
Some past members who have made a significant contribution to the Board and to the Sunshine School are:
Rev. Ron Armstrong (1982 – 1994)
June Armstrong (1982 – 1997)
Elen Schwartz (1982 - 2011)
Edna Warburton (2000 - 2006)
Mariann Palmborg (2001 – 2008)
Anne Martindale (2003 - 2013)
Lisa Hunnicutt (2006 - 2011)
There is a vibrant and functioning PTA. The group usually meets monthly
during the school term to discuss issues relating to students’ performance,
improving programmes as well as assisting with fundraising activities.
DONORS & DONATIONS
The Sunshine School depends on the generosity of friends and well wishers
to keep the school running efficiently. We appreciate the friends who continue
year after year to support the fund raising events or to donate directly to the
school funds. To those persons who contribute many hours sorting material
or helping to sell items at the events we appreciate and thank you.
The barrels of food and school supplies sent annually by the BSOT; the
annual gifts from Bequia Mission; the Birthday treats for students; the
paying of a teacher’s salary; the fresh vegetable donated by Dorris each
week and so much more are worth a mention.
Thank you to each and every individual and organization that has donated
in the past and continue to donate to our cause. Every donation, large or
small, monetary or material, time volunteered or items sent anonymously is
key to the success of the school. You all help to keep the school running
efficiently. THANK YOU!!