April 20, 2005 — About 150 protesters gathered in front of Government House Wednesday evening, asking passing cars to honk their horns and chanting, "We want June 5."
At issue was a change in plans for Charlotte Amalie High School graduation. Previously scheduled for June 5, protestors say the school board has pushed the date back to June 19 to make up for rain days.
"I understand the dates need to be pushed back for the ninth, 10th and 11th grades. But for the rest of us I don't see it," said Christopher Sibilly, high school senior.
Sibilly says the family has vacation plans booked and paid for. They were set to leave on June 18. If he takes this scheduled graduation celebration trip, he'll miss the actual commencement ceremony.
"I would like to keep it at June 5 so I can go up in front of my friends and family at graduation. It's what I've been working for my whole life," he said.
Sibilly was protesting with his mother, Sylvia Sibilly Castillo, "We've requested nicely and asked that they reconsider," she said. "Now we're doing it loudly."
Mary-Ann Westan, CAHS Parent Teacher Student Association president said an emergency PTSA meeting was held to discuss the graduation date.
"All of the anniversary classes, parents, family and friends have all made arrangements. Tickets have been bought," Westan said. "We want someone to intercede for us. It's a hardship emotionally and financially. We're making noise to protest."
Police officers were on hand keeping the crowd in check, and moved the crowd to the side of street away from Government House.
As the protesters shouted and chanted outside, a celebration of the life and music of world-renowned calypsonian Cecil "Duke of Iron" Anderson was taking place on the second floor of Government House. The protestors could be heard at times over the music being performed inside.
"I closed the road down to keep the horn blowing noise down," Deputy Police Chief Elvin R. Fahie said "If we try to move them it will just escalate the situation."
The protesters took their places before 7 p.m., and started to dissipate an hour later. However, a few dozen remained in place across the street and police cars were still blocking the road in front the Government House at 8:30 p.m.
School officials could not be reached for comment.
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