St. Dominic high school principal says farewell after 11 years

POSTED: 07/5/12 1:32 PM
Former Principal of the St. Dominic High School Jose Sommers (left) stands with some of her students and a colleague during last week Thursday’s promotion day and farewell celebration.

St. Maarten – Jose Sommers has led St. Dominic High School as its principal for the past 11 years and is ready for a change. The decision to leave did not come easy, as this has been a very adventurous journey and humbling experience for her and it feels like leaving a family. The school recently said goodbye to Sommers by throwing her a surprise party.
“I would like to thank the Catholic School Board, teachers, support staff, students, parents and the wider community for their great input, collegiality and support. It was really a pleasure to work with all these great people,” Sommers said.
St. Dominic was founded in 1994 – the same year Sommers started working there. They started out with only 31 students. She started out as a PE teacher, acted as a guidance counselor and taught several other subjects over the years before becoming the principal.
The school started out very small, with an American curriculum, recalls Sommers and after some years the inspection of education said that had to be changed to fit into the guidelines and laws of St. Maarten. The school then started growing and they used containers after Hurricane Luis in 1995. Half of the school consisted of containers functioning as class rooms. In 1999 they received the first drawings of the buildings but didn’t have the funds and finally in 2006 they started with the construction of the new building. The school always looked nice regardless to the containers.
“We always kept painting the containers and we are in a very nice area with plants and trees,” Sommers said.
Finally in 2008 they started using the new building.
The reactions to the news that Sommers was leaving were very surprising to her and leave her feeling very humbled. The reactions lead to a realization that everybody appreciated her work there.
Though everybody is curious as to Sommers future plans, but she says she is going to be taking it easy and has some projects that she is going to be working on in the future.
“I did not want to jump from one busy job into a next one. I just want to take my time and look around what I would like to do next,” Sommers explains.
The energy, the students, the teachers, the management and the fun times are some of the things she will be missing most leading up to her departure as the principal of the high school but the former school principal is excited to not exactly know what tomorrow might bring.
“A school is never boring, you are surrounded by about 400 people and it is something I will miss, it gives you energy”.
Sommers says she has always been proud of her students and wants people to know that these kids are fantastic and do so much good despite the negative stories about the youth of the island.
Sommers says the highlights of her time at St. Dominic include seeing the challenging students graduate and seeing them continue doing well in their careers.
“It’s nice being a principal and yes you get the credit but it’s the teachers that do so much,” Sommers said.
The former principal felt overwhelmed with the amazing response to her work over the years as she felt like she was just doing her job. She leaves her students and the youth with a special message and quote that the school uses “think globally and act locally.”
“It’s very true, you must have a global mind set, be open, be tolerate, and at the same part you are part of a local community and it is also your home, so you have to be the best you can be and not only in academic aspects,” Sommers says with a smile.

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