Solving Education Problems in a Vacation Wonderland


Nicholas Midler

Just two-and-a-half hours by plane from Miami, the U.S. Virgin Islands lie off the northern coast of South America and have been a U.S. territory for the past hundred years. Their warm climate and tropical beaches make them a popular tourist destination, but venturing beyond the white sandy beaches reveals a far less idyllic picture.

Based on a recent series of standardized tests correlated to the new U.S. Common Core standards, 83% of the Islands’ schoolchildren in the third to 11th grades failed to meet expectations for English, and an astonishing 93% failed to meet Common Core math standards. The broader picture is equally dire, as 47% of youths in the island chain aged 18 to 19 don’t have a high-school diploma. The Islands’ crumbling infrastructure and dismal test results reflect the status of a developing nation rather than the vacation paradise of the wealthiest country in the world.

Enter Thelca Bedminster, an elementary school teacher in the Virgin Islands, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, and Nicholas Midler, a 17-year-old high school student. Together, they started the Family Connection Kindercamp as a response to the quality of public education available for pre-K children on the islands. The Family Connection Kindercamp is a six-week nonprofit summer camp for students entering or repeating kindergarten on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

For many children on the Islands, pre-K education is non-existent and the Family Connection Kindercamp represents their first experience in a formal classroom setting.

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About Monica Davis

Monica Davis has been in the business of influencing people to change their lives and helping them to develop their professional and business objectives for over 20 years. Monica Davis is a bestselling business author, speaker, trainer, media coach, award-winning television host and producer, and the publisher of Exceptional People Magazine.

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