April 4, 2009 — It will be a couple more years before Gov. John deJongh Jr. sees if the goals of his administration have been accomplished. It was evident at the Easter Egg hunt at the St. George Village Botanical Garden that deJongh and his wife Cecile deJongh had accomplished one of their goals. The goal of the first couple as hosts of this years hunt was to have a fun Easter celebration and the chance for locals to appreciate the Botanical Gardens.
"I am taking advantage of the time here showing my daughter around the gardens.," said resident Antonia Ayala. "I have been here but she hasn't." Her daughter, Deyaneira Sigobin, 6, said she was having a lot of fun.
Hundreds of youngsters and parents arriving at the gardens Saturday were greeted by Pedro "Pete" Encarnacion, St. Croix Administrator. The children were given an orange wrist band saying "Happy Easter from the deJongh and Francis Administration." Children were asked to bring a basket but those who didn't were given a brightly colored Easter basket.
The children were sent off in small groups for an adventure through the gardens to find plastic eggs in the shade of exotic plants and shrubs in the garden. The eggs held stickers and little trinkets instead of candy, staying true to Cecile deJongh's wishes to promote healthy living. Volunteers from St. Croix Rescue Squad kept watch over the children during the hunt.
Youngsters returned from their hunt to the Great House to receive a snack and a recycled bag of gifts. The children got activity books and crayons — the girls got a stuffed bunny and the boys got a Hess truck donated by Hovensa..
The children danced with Dora the Explorer, Diego, ViVi the Clown and Seamore the sea turtle from FirstBank. DJ Swain and Rude Boy Ralph provided the music for dancing.
The parents and children explored the Rain Forest trail and the historical sites after attending the festivities.
"We are happy to rent the gardens for this occasion," said David Hamada, horticultural director for the Gardens. "A lot of locals don't get out and appreciate the grounds — they just see the Great House."
"It is nice to have an Easter celebration at a beautiful place where children get to experience the fun of an egg hunt and see the Easter bunny," said Cecile deJongh. "And the children were very well behaved."
There were volunteers all over the grounds, such as the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity helping the bunny hide eggs, and fraternity brother Frank Abednego of Mario's Water which donated water.
Ada Brooks, events coordinator for Cecile deJongh, said she had 65 volunteers who love to work with children.
FirstBank helped sponsor the celebration. Marketing officer Linda M. Pukenas said a strong focus is placed on children's programs and supporting things that enrich their lives today and help build foundations for their futures. The First Lady's Easter celebration, she said, was a perfect fit.
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