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School Volunteers Get Red Carpet Treatment at Image Awards

April 22, 2007 — Rain dampened the ground but not the spirits Saturday at the second annual St. Croix Educational Complex Image Awards.
It was an elegant, star-studded evening as a who’s who of St. Croix society came out to support the public schools. With television cameras rolling and reporters’ cameras flashing, radio personalities Abdul Ali and Natalie Nelson Tanghow interviewed the arriving guests as they promenaded down the red carpet in their evening wear.
Delegate Donna M. Christensen and her husband, Chris Christensen, took their turn down the carpet, as did Gov. John deJongh Jr. and one of the night’s honorees, Senate President Usie Richards. Honors also went to Cyndee Ible Frontal, Leslie Antonio Farrelly and the band Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights.
Young men and women in white jackets strolled through the crowd, passing out hors d’oeuvres. Each held in one hand trays filled with sate chicken skewers, bite-sized baked spanokopitas, mussels on the half shell and other amuse bouches. With their other hand they offered the guests napkins.
As they made their rounds, attentively and professionally serving the guests, they set a pleasantly elegant mood. The school’s steel pan band struck up some soft and elegant numbers as linen-clad tables filled up with the fashionably dressed. While milling about and mingling before dinner, guests looked over artwork on display and placed bids in a silent auction by signing their names and placing their bid amounts next to the items they wanted.
The gala affair is a fund raiser put on by the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association.
“We wanted to acknowledge people in the community who have helped by donating their time, money and services to the school,” said past PTSA president Cyndee Ible Frontal. “We were looking at the big award shows like the Emmys and the Grammys. We wanted to do something elegant and raise money for the public schools.”
Last year the event raised $5,000 for the school.
“We were able to purchase a high-tech computer system for their computer room,” Frontal said. “With it they can now do their yearbook in-house. Our goal is to equip each of the 60 classrooms with at least one computer.”
The event was styled as a masked ball. Many women wore brightly feathered masks, and the items for sale on auction included beautiful, unique masks individually crafted by the school’s students.
“I told myself I couldn’t miss it this year,” said Christensen, who was active for a number of years on the St. Croix Central High School PTSA.
She continued, “It’s a great event to showcase some of our students. We are honoring these four individuals tonight, but the students, too, are being honored. And I knew we were going to get some good food tonight. The catering program students always do a wonderful job.”
As guests dined on mahi mahi almandine and other delights created by students working with the school’s Good to Chew Catering Company, the evening’s extensive entertainment program began.
Eddy Charles sang and the SCEC Jazz Ensemble showcased some tightly performed jamming. A fashion show was next, where Cyndee’s Models in the Isle showed off fine couture as well as their skills on the catwalk. Rounding out the musical entertainment was a presentation of the territory’s traditional music by the SCEC Quelbe band.
After dinner came the awards. Each honoree received a trophy crafted as a miniature version of the familiar curved, abstract sculpture on the school’s lawn.
Frontal was commended for years of volunteer work with the PTSA and for helping students with how they present themselves, verbally and physically, as they enter the workforce. “I help teach them to dress for success, how to carry themselves and how to interact socially in a professional environment,” Frontal said.
The PTSA honored Farrelly for his extensive efforts fixing up and watching over the school. Described as the unofficial fixer-upper who opens and closes the school on a daily basis, Farrelly was commended for his loyalty, dependability and hard work.
Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights received a commendation for the many times the members have performed, lectured and given demonstrations at schools throughout the territory. The band is currently working with the SCEC Quelbe Band every Tuesday, and they have donated a number of musical instruments to the school’s band.
An honor went to Richards for years of volunteer work with the island's schools.
“I am grateful for the recognition,” he said. “I have been involved with various PTAs for quite some time now. Three of my children have attended public schools on St. Croix and on St. Thomas, and two are at Complex right now. I am glad to do whatever I can to support parents getting involved with their children's' education.”
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