University Bound, a program through the University of the Virgin Islands which offers academic courses and tutoring for high school students, continues its work of providing skills to help USVI youth succeed academically despite the disrupted flow of education in the classrooms throughout the territory with its latest project, “Get to Know Your 340.”
Through grant funding from the Community Foundation of USVI, University Bound was able to purchase Chromebooks and provide programming for students during the pandemic to launch its “Get to Know Your 340” program. According to program leader and University Bound English instructor Monique Schmidt, the premise of the program is “our present, and our futures, are shaped by our histories. Those histories are shaped by language. During second semester, students explored the impact language has had on our perceptions/development of our cultures and ourselves. This was a great opportunity to expand the personal identities of our students, elevate their personal pride and accentuate the strength of the people of the USVI.”
During the semester, students on St Croix, under the direction of Assistant Director Michelle Albany-Crispin, completed research and then created a historical, artistic mural. On St Thomas, Schmidt’s students did online research on the power of names, their family trees and the history of the USVI. The students specifically looked at the history of the names of streets/places on St Thomas. The culminating project was the creation of a video which imagines St Thomas with names which help tourists learn about different aspects of the island’s history.
Student participant Brandon Williams said that participating in the “Get to Know your 340” program “not only brought me out of my comfort zone, but it also helped me learn more about my own island.”
To access the “Get to Know Your 340” video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBdtCUvatdk.