I join the entire Virgin Islands in extending best wishes to all students in the Territory as we welcome the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Although the overall look, feel, and learning experience will take a new shape and follow a different format, our students can still make the choice to excel.

This school year we have a dual challenge. First, we must provide the support to our teachers and administrators who make it possible for our students to succeed. Second, we must keep everyone safe from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I encourage each of you to remain steadfast in your academic pursuits. It will not always be easy, but I urge you to utilize the resources available to you and never hesitate to ask for help.

The entire community is cheering you on and wants to see you succeed. We know that this will require you to dig deep and become innovative and creative in accomplishing the tasks before you. Your commitment to staying focused and dedicated to your schoolwork will take you to higher heights.

Do your best not to feel discouraged or defeated. Hold onto hope and always have faith. Excellence lies ahead of you in your future endeavors even while we experience COVID-19 and make adjustments to our normal ways of doing things. Continue to dream big and set goals for yourself.

To the faculty, staff, and support teams of our schools, I thank you for your diligence as we transition to virtual learning for our students. Your efforts are not overlooked. We know that the road ahead will have some speed bumps along the way, but your commitment to our students will get us through to the finish line of this academic school year.

Parents, guardians, family, and friends of our precious students, I ask for your continued patience and support as we take on this new endeavor. It truly takes a village, and with your encouragement and assistance, our students will succeed.