Earth Day 2007 Festivities

Earth Day Festivities

By Bruce Schoonover and Robin Swank

Earth day 2007…
preserving and protecting the environment

This year, in connection with the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Earth Day festivities, the St. John Historical Society highlighted its efforts to preserve and protect the Annaberg Country School ruins at Mary’s Point, by sponsoring a coloring contest for all children.

Children were given a four-page coloring booklet which recited an abbreviated history of theAnnaberg Country School and included three pictures for coloring–one of the school, one of Peter von Scholten and one an old Danish map of the Mary’s Point section of St. John. Children were also provided with packets of crayons.

The picture of the school was chosen for the contest and over 150 entries were received and judged from all grades, pre–K up through fourth.

Those participating and acting as judges on behalf of the Society were: Andro Childs, Elroy Sprauve, Bev Biziewski, Margie Labrenz, Carly Kauffman, Meredith Fletcher and Sharon and Bruce Schoonover. Good fun and fellowship!

2007 Coloring Book Champions

At April’s Earth Day celebration sponsored by the Friends of the National Park, St John’s children participated in a coloring book activity sponsored by the St John Historical Society. Historic line drawings of the Annaberg Country School were colored in by children ranging in ages pre–Kindergarten to 4th grade. These children certainly gave any restoration team some ideas on how colorfully they would like their schools to be painted!!!!

It was difficult; the judges had a hard time, but five winning pictures were finally selected:

  • PreK Winner
    Pre-K: Jaida Fessale,
    St John Methodist School

  • Kindergarten Winner
    Kindergarten: Chenijah Dawson,

  • 1st Grade Winner
    First Grade: Kendel Riviera,

  • 2nd Grade Winner
    Second Grade: Ruby Cioppa,
    Gifft Hill

  • 3rd Grade Winner
    3rd Grade: Jahkobi Foy,
    Gifft Hill

  • 4th Grade Winner
    Fourth Grade: Gemmal Ashly,

An Abbreviated History of the Annaberg Country School

In 1839, Peter von Scholten, who was the Governor–General of the Danish West Indies, (now our U.S. Virgin Islands) decided that all children should know how to read and write. Up until this time, the children of enslaved plantation workers could not attend school. The Annaberg School was one of the schools to be built to help solve this problem.

Governor–General von Scholten wanted to build a total of 17 “country schools”–four on St. John, eight on St. Croix and five on St. Thomas. Construction of the Annaberg Country School was begun in 1847, but it was not finished until 1856. There were 25 children in the first class.

The school at Annaberg was only open for a few years. Apparently, many families left this area of the island around this time, and it was hard to find a teacher for this remote school. Soon the children of surrounding estates were going to the Moravian Mission Station at Emmaus in Coral Bay.

The Annaberg Country School ruins are a reminder of the early efforts of the Danish to provide schools for all children. The St. John Historical Society adopted these ruins in the 1980’s. After clearing the site and stabilizing parts of the structure, members of the Society have kept the ruins free of weeds and trash, and provided a sign that gives visitors a full history of the site.

See the related items:


Resource Title Attributes
Article Early Schooling in Denmark and her Colonies Frellesvig, Eva
Article St. John’s Other Revolt: The Desertions of 1840 Knight, David
Article Annaberg School Ruins at Mary’s Creek Knight, David
Article Portrait for the Pastor: A brief summary of the life and heritage of Carl Emanuel Francis of St. John Knight, David
Article Mary’s Point Hike Knight, David
Article Presentation by Susan Lugo & Field Trip to the Caribbean Genealogy Library Swank, Robin
Article Earth Day 2007 Festivities Schoonover, Bruce and Swank, Robin
Article Florence & Walter Lewisohn and Steve Edwards Honored at the Annaberg School Sign Dedication Gibney, Eleanor
Article Notes on Colonial-Era Education on St. John and the Annaberg School Knight, David
Article Historical Society Installs Plant Signs at Annaberg Schoonover, Bruce
thumbnail for Galleries/Photographs/St John Scenes/Thumbnails/Annaberg 3B.jpg NPS Restoration work in process at the Annaberg Sugar Factory, c1959
Creator: na
Owner: NPS
Proof sheet
thumbnail for Galleries/Documents/Thumbnails/FirstTaxRolls.gif 1728. Page from first tax rolls compiled for St. John.
Owner: Photocopy from the Danish National Archives, Copenhagen
Arrow points to the entry for Isaac Constantin, the original land-grantee of the plantation that would become known as Estate Annaberg. Other plantation owners noted on the page are Capt. Fred. Moth, William Vessup and Jacob van Still
Estate Annaberg Qtr=Maho Bay. Owner=Murphy, James. Crop=Sugar.

Bruce Schoonover

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