Claude O. Markoe Elementary School (COMS) held a grand affair to celebrate its Diamond Anniversary. Principal Wendy Gonzales gave a powerful lesson in history to set the stage for what would become a momentous occasion marking the school’s “60 years of serving the community with love and high expectations for all.”
The event was held on May 22 in the cafetorium and included entertainment by the school’s K-6 students. May 22 is the same month and day Claude O. Markoe School was chartered by the V.I. Legislature 60 years ago.
“Many great minds have passed through these halls. You are the diamonds of this school. You will go down in history,” the principal told students. “May Claude O. Markoe Elementary School remain forever a haven to nurture and protect because you are truly the diamond stars of the world.”
Then, the celebration began. On stage, students performed by class or by groups, such as the school choir. Kindergarten teacher Dian John-Browne’s class compared COMS uniforms from the past to the present.
“Now, the uniform is a baby blue, navy blue, white and blue pleated knee-length jumper with straps or bibs for kindergarten through third grade girls. Fourth to 6th grade girls wear knee-length skirts with a white blouse and boys wear long khaki pants and a white Polo shirt with a collar.” The reflections continued with Ryan directing the third graders through a happy, nostalgic song, “Flip, Flop, Fly.”
A group of 6th grade students took the stage in style, as they provided a dramatic look at the common hair styles between 1970 and 1980. First and second graders came together for a flashback of the ’80s, as they belted out the lyrics to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” directed by Ryan and accompanied on electric guitar by art teacher June Charles. Competitive games most popular from 1981 to 1990 at school were described and played by second graders. The students hopped, imitating the steps in the hopscotch game, pitched real marbles, threw jacks, and played red light, green light 123, to the audience’s delight.
The “old time” games fueled the multi-level school choir, directed by Lystra James, to chant a round of traditional songs like, “Coconut, Banana, Mango” and “Sly Mongoose.” First graders cooled things down a bit as they offered treats popular from 1991 to 2000, such as the ice pop.
The celebration came to a dramatic, diamond-studded conclusion with musical performances; 4th graders sang and danced to “O La Le,” and 6th grade students picked up the pace with the jazzy “Slap That Bass.”