By anguillian January 8, 2018 11:35 Updated


Just days before this week’s planned demolition of the Morris Vanterpool Primary School building, badly damaged by Hurricane Irma, former and present teachers and students expressed a desire – last weekend – to see a more elaborate school in its place.

Wearing the colour of the school, they gathered in front of the building for a photo shoot on Saturday, December 30, organised by a number of persons including Canita Ruan, a former student, now a trained and recognised face and body artist.

She spoke to The Anguillian newspaper about the demolition of the school: “I am from the Class of 2006. The coming demolition brings some sad feelings but I understand the situation after the hurricane that the building is not sturdy and safe enough. That’s life sometimes,” she commented. “I am really looking forward to a better school to serve the needs of the students, the community, and Anguilla on a whole. We are now collecting donations for school supplies, including text books, for the students because since the hurricane many of the students do not have the required books.”
Mr. Fritz Smith is both a former student and a former teacher at the school. Among his current responsibilities, he is a Building Engineer and Projects Manager at Belmond Cap Juluca – and Chairman of the Health Authority of Anguilla. “I was actually one of the first students at the Morris Vanterpool Primary School when we were moved from the Old East End School,” he recalled. “I am one of those persons who believe that there comes a time when structures would have outlived their usefulness and [thus their] re-adjustment.’’

He continued: “The school was damaged by Hurricane Luis in 1995 and was again badly damaged in 2017. A structure can only take a certain amount of damage and no more. Maybe it is time to redesign it to suit the circumstances as they are today. I am looking forward to at least a multi-two storey structure that is expandable, and will have everything that such a facility needs to have in this day and age.
“I think the Alwyn Allison Richardson Primary School at West End is a model as to what a school should be. It has everything – not only for the school itself but it was designed and built so that the community can benefit from it as well. I hope that the same thing will be done for the Morris Vanyterpool Primary School and this East End community.”

Mrs. Sylvene Petty, a former Teacher and Principal at the school for a total of fifteen years, commented:

“I taught at the Old East End School where I began in 1972, and at the Morris Vanterpool Primary School where I continued in 1974 and left in 1987. So I taught for fifteen years at East End. I never taught at any other school in Anguilla. I look forward to a brand new building and a lot more rooms specifically in other departments – not just classrooms. I would like to see such additional rooms like an auditorium, a kitchen and dining room and a music centre. I hope they have big plans for this school – not just classrooms. We are looking forward to more than that.”

Mr. Othlyn Vanterpool, a former student at the school, now a Government of Anguilla Ministerial Assistant, commented: “The Old East End School building was destroyed by Hurricane Irma and the Morris Vanterpool School was extensively damaged. It can be emotional, but if it means putting something better back in place for the Morris Vanterpool School, we have to do it.”

Mrs. Althea Hodge, another former student, now serving as Manager of the Anguilla Development Board, had this to say: “It is a very sobering moment. When we see first and foremost what has happened to the historic Old East End School, and having just remodelled it and now Hurricane Irma has taken it down, that is particularly sad. I would have done most of my schooling at the Morris Vanterpool School, as well as most of my siblings, cousins, and basically much of the community. This school is really the backbone of our community. However, we have had some challenges with the school over the years. Given where we are at right now, hopefully, with the coming new structure we can be better positioned taking into consideration the growing needs of our students, our community and the technological advancements in Anguilla.”
Mrs. Hodge added: “It is very pleasing to see how many persons are here to witness and to be a part of this photoshoot which, in itself, is a very emotional moment in time. It also speaks volumes to the passion that the individuals feel as it relates to the Morris Vanterpool Primary School and every aspect of the school. That passion also speaks volumes as to what we can on lend to the school, the students and teachers.”

Two sisters, public servants – Mrs. Donnette Bryan-Lico, an employee at the IT Department and Ms. Laureen Bryan, Chief Immigration Officer – both former students at the Morris Vanterpool Primary School also spoke to The Anguillian about their years there and the decision to demolish the school.

“It is a bitter-sweet experience,” Donnette said. “We remember all the great moments at the school: running down the corridors and jumping over the little balcony area. It was really fun. The southern side was for the lower grades and as you progressed through the grades you went up to the northern side. It was something you experienced and loved, but we knew the school was getting old and now [after the hurricane], it is time to see something new and different after so many years of having this particular school. It is sad to see it demolished but we look forward to seeing something bigger and better.”
Laureen remarked: “There are mixed emotions and long memories. It was a different kind of school. We were next to a natural environment in terms of the pond. I recall many days you would just run down the road during the break. Back then, when I was attending the [Old East End School], there were a lot of those manchineel trees and we would go and get the crabs; then the bell would ring and we ran back up to the school. So it is with mixed emotions to see the Old East End School gone, and now the Morris Vanterpool being demolished, but with time things change. We have to embrace the change and just hope that the new school building will be something very outstanding in our community and a bigger and better school in Anguilla.”

By anguillian January 8, 2018 11:35 Updated


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