IEKHS Principal Stefan Jurgen asked members of Junior R.O.T.C., left, to sing the school’s alma mater. The members of the school program not only demonstrated citizenship and responsibility, but they also accentuated the importance of school spirit.
CRUZ BAY — Stefan Jurgen, the incumbent principal of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, made his way back home on Monday, August 31.
The former St. John resident and principal of Charlotte Amalie High School, alongside administrative officer Cherise Thomas and ninth grade principal Desha Powell, called the afternoon meeting for the St. John students of IEKHS in the Julius E. Sprauve School cafeteria.
Although the meeting was intended just for students, some parents attended as well.
“I am very happy to meet each of you and your parents,” Jurgen told the students after they each stood up to introduce themselves.
Jurgen opened the meeting by introducing himself, and explaining his and Desha Powell’s St. John roots in speaking to issues facing St. John IEKHS students.
“Look at the name of the park by the ferry. You see the name Powell, that’s her (Desha Powell) family,” Jurgen explained. “Look at the name on the police station. That is the name of my grandfather!”
Topics discussed with the students included orientation dates, uniform requirements, changes being made to the school and school pride.
Principal Jurgen also announced the orientation schedule for the different grades. Orientation for freshman and sophomores was September 2 and orientation for Juniors and seniors was September 3.
“Students are expected to arrive in full uniform, and all necessary materials,” Jurgen reiterated. “This includes up-to-date immunization records, and all money due for fees.
Everything must be done all at once, we will not allow steps to be completed in increments” said Jurgen.
It was also explained that the uniform policy will stay as it has nearly always been.
“No cuffs in the pants for boys. Skirts should be at the knee on girls,” said ninth grade Principal Desha Powell. “The only accepted shoe colors are all black, all white and all brown.”
Changes for Ninth Graders
Jurgen also introduced a new step for the incoming ninth graders.
“After reviewing the current system in place, I can conclude that we are nowhere near where we should be,” Jurgen emphasized. “This system places all ninth graders in the same classes.”
“You cannot teach a group of individuals in the same way, so all ninth graders are required to complete a placement test on their day for orientation” said Jurgen.
The tests will assess the incoming ninth grader’s abilities in subjects such as reading and math, the principal explained. The tests are intended to make sure that students are not placed in subjects that they are already proficient in, and will also ensure that subjects they struggle with are given more attention, Jurgen explained.
“The process will take some time, but it will be worth it when each student is receiving an education that is tailored to their strengths and weaknesses” admitted Jurgen. “It is my intention to make sure emphasis is also placed on vocational training. Each student should graduate from the school with a diploma, and certification of some form”
Improving School Spirit
While attempting to transition the meeting into a lively mood, Jurgen expressed shock to find that few students could sing the IEKHS school song, the alma mater, and that no students knew the mission of the school.
“These are things that identify us as Rays,” Jurgen. “Just hearing the name of the school should bring goose bumps to your arms.”
“Have pride in your school students, love your school,” Jurgen exhorted.
Jurgen then encouraged members of J.R.O.T.C to come before the crowd to sing the alma mater. The commanders of the school program not only demonstrated citizenship and responsibility, but they also accentuated the importance of school spirit.
In order to instill school spirit in all students, Jurgen said he plans to play the alma mater over the intercom every Monday morning.
Jurgen closed the meeting by thanking those who attended and by proclaiming: “The school shall move forward”.
Ivanna Eudora Kean High School opened for the 2015-2016 school year on September 8.