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Hands Across the Sea is dedicated
to raising the literacy levels
of Eastern Caribbean children
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The Hands Literacy Award recognizes Eastern Caribbean schools, libraries, reading programs, and after-school youth centers that are leading the way in child literacy—and we reward them with U.S. $1,000 in books or literacy resources of their choice. We choose the winners on: creating, rejuvenating, and sustaining a lending library; commitment to literacy by staff; "ownership" of the library by children; literacy-focused initiatives such as a student librarian program, remedial reading, book clubs, and poetry and writing groups; library infrastructure improvements; involvement by community members.
Cayon High School's 30-person-strong Student Librarian team infuses the library with enthusiasm and professionalism. Bravo!

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
Cayon High School
The Power of Student Librarians. When Hands first began working with Cayon High School a few years ago to create a vibrant lending library at the school, a skeptic warned us: “The children at this high school are not interested in reading books.” Well, among many other powerful factors, a highly enthusiastic, deeply committed team of 30 Student Librarians has proven the naysayer wrong. Not only do students at this school want to read the 782 brand new, top-quality books (plus a Remedial Reading Toolkit) that Hands has sent, they are lined up outside the library door every morning! The new library at Cayon High School is a tremendous success story, and credit goes to a lot of places: Tammy Darby, Director of the Christophe Harbour Foundation, for believing in the school and providing generous, multiyear funding to Hands for new books; Principal Francil Morris and Librarian Mr. Charles, for their vision and commitment to child literacy; Assistant Librarians Ms. Browne and Ms. Hancock for steadily improving the library and collection; and Heidi Fagerberg, the Hands Literacy Link for St. Kitts and Nevis, who trained Cayon High School’s team of stellar Student Librarians. Can we give another huge shout-out to all of the Student Librarians? Awesoooooome.
ST. KITTS AND NEVIS Honorable Mentions: Charles E. Mills Secondary School (St. Kitts) • Charlestown Primary School (Nevis) • Jocelyn Liburd Primary School (Nevis) • Maurice Hillier Memorial Junior School (St. Kitts) • St. Paul's Primary School (St. Kitts)

Team effort (left to right): Mrs. Severin, Lisa Tomlinson, Principal Christopher Roberts, Lorraine Perry of Scotiabank Antigua, District Education Officer Emil Michael, and students.
ANTIGUA
Mary E. Piggott Primary School
A Beacon for Child Literacy. Recognizing a steady three-year development that has resulted in a first-class lending library, buy-in by teachers, and a whole lot of excited student readers, the Mary E. Pigott Primary School has been awarded the 2017-2018 Hands Literacy Award for Antigua. Deputy Principal Anthea Anthony has been a leading light in the library’s progress, along with colleagues Ms. Teague, Mrs. Severin, and Ms. Thwaites, and together they worked with Lisa Tomlinson, the Hands Literacy Link for Antigua, to create the school’s first-ever lending library. Generous, multiyear funding for the project, from new paint to the laying of a tiled floor, six sets of metal bookcases, and 1,176 brand new, top-quality books was supplied by the Scotiabank Community Program. With over 400 students drawn from a large rural catchment area, Mary E. Pigott Primary School is one of the largest primary (Grades K to 6) schools on Antigua. With a dedicated Library Team of teachers, the new lending library shines like a beacon for the advancement of child literacy.
ANTIGUA Honorable Mentions: All Saints Secondary School • Five Islands Primary School • Golden Grove Primary School • J. T. Ambrose Primary School • New Bethel SDA Academy • Potters Primary School
It's the place to be. The library at Pierre Charles Secondary School is student-friendly and packed with great reading, from young adult fiction to the latest in reference materials.
DOMINICA
Pierre Charles Secondary School
Amazing Makeover. Before the school’s librarian, Clementina Laurent, undertook a complete makeover of the school library, it was, frankly, not the magnet for the school's 454 students that it is today. Laurent, with the full support of support of Principal Lynn Registe (and previously, Principal Jerome Bardouille) has created a welcoming, appealing, and exciting multifunctional space. Laurent culled the collection of any old, inappropriate books, and has displayed the new books cover-out; Hands Across the Sea has supported Pierre Charles Secondary School with 793 brand new, targeted, asked-for books since 2015. The success of the makeover is reflected in its popularity and the high book-borrowing rate of the students, who frequent the library to browse and borrow from the collection, as well as to attend classes, study, and work on school projects. We suspect that a number of students are attracted to the library simply because it's a cool place to be, too.
DOMINICA Honorable Mentions: Belles Primary School • Isaiah Thomas Secondary School • Kelleb John Laurent Primary School • St. Mary's Primary School • Temple SDA Primary School
It's all about the books! A bevy of Student Librarians with teacher in charge of the library Melissa Hippolyte (left) and Principal Lyrill Arthur-Stanislaus (right, in red).
ST. LUCIA
Vide Bouteille Primary School
Hooray for Teamwork! A few years ago, when Mrs. Lyrill Arthur-Stanislaus was promoted from Science Coordinator to Principal of this large urban school (460 students, Grades K to 6) located in Castries, the capital city of St. Lucia, she decided to make a significant contribution that would benefit every child in the school: a library. An "angel" British couple, on island for a holiday, generously offered to fund the building of the library, and Stanislaus found two local companies to pitch in with construction and building supplies. Voila! the Vide Bouteille library was born. Then Melissa Hippolyte, an IT teacher who with a passion for books and reading, became the "teacher in charge of the library" (translation: she volunteered herself by devoting a large amount of time and energy to the project). The fledgling library grew, helped along by the addition of 563 new amazing books from Hands in the 2014-2015 school year, 353 more books in 2016-2017, and the training of a dozen Student Librarians by Hands Literacy Link Khrystal Lucien. Add to that the enthusiasm and hands-on involvement of the Principal and Ms. Hippolyte, and the library remains vibrant and strong. Even now, Principal Stanislaus conducts reading sessions with students in the library—and sometimes in her office, too. This is a school that loves to read.
ST. LUCIA Honorable Mentions: Augier Combined School • Bexon RC Infant School • Castries Anglican Infant School • Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School • Gros Islet Infant School • Millet Primary School • Odsan Combined School • Reunion Primary School • Riviere Doree Anglican Combined School
The big day is finally here! Let's cut the ribbon to the new library! Students and charitable partners celebrate the occasion with U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Chris Cannito (left) and Principal Maria Burke (right).
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
South Rivers Methodist School
Hooray for Partners! Excellence in advancing child literacy is always a team effort—the school Principal and the teachers and Student Librarians who volunteer their time to create and operate the lending library. And, as with the newly-opened library at South Rivers Methodist Primary School (172 students, Grades K to 6), when community members and charitable foundations and organizations pull together toward a common goal, the result is, simply, “Wow wow wow, look at this library!” Working hand-in-hand with Principal Maria Burke and her staff, U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Chris Cannito led the three-year charge to transform an unused classroom into a stunning new Library/Literacy Center and also trained a team of Student Librarians. The Gilbert family, Vincentians with longtime ties to the school and community, generously funded the crucial early stages of the project. The
Mustique Charitable Trust (based in St. Vincent) funded remediation of the room, new tables and chairs, and literacy-support materials. The Mustique Charitable Foundation (based in New York) funded 1,476 new amazing books and literacy materials through the Hands Across the Sea 2017-2018 Wish Lists shipment, bringing the total number of books from Hands (counting the 2016-2017 shipment) to over 2,200. The library at South Rivers Methodist Primary School is a shining example of the positive change that a proactive Principal and teachers, working with charitable partners who, in turn, work well together, can bring to the advancement of child literacy. Well done, everyone! (To see photos of the library, go to the school’s Facebook page.
ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES Honorable Mentions: Argyle RC Combined School • Bethel High School • Cane End Government School • Kingstown Preparatory School • Lauders Primary School • Lowmans Windward Anglican Primary School • Park Hill Government School • Rose Hall Government School • Questelles Government School
We're Number One! (Front row, left to right, with Student Librarians): Stephen T. Frahm, United States Charge d’Affairs for Grenada; Delinger Rennie, Librarian; Harriet Linskey, Hands Across the Sea Executive Director. (Back row, left to right): Catherine King, Principal, and Olivia Phillip, Hands Literacy Link for Grenada
GRENADA
Grenada Christian Academy
The Little School That Does Big Things. Secondary schools do not have to be big and fancy and located in the middle of the big city to reach for the stars—Grenada Christian Academy, a rural school with 200 students located in the rain-forested, mountainous center of Grenada, has one of the best school libraries and Student Librarian programs on the island. With the full support and encouragement of Principal Catherine King and Hands Literacy Link Olivia Phillip, Librarian Delinger Rennie has made the library an integral and important part of student life. Here are some of the features and outreach of the Library Club, which was formed to help raise the literacy level at the school and in the community: Mandatory registration for all students from Form One to Form Three; a Reading Competition every term; an annual Literacy Week; an active team of Student Librarians who encourage students in the higher grades to join the library; a library period on the timetable for each Form; one-on-one sessions with the Literacy Coordinator for struggling readers; new literacy themes and the regular display of library books to let children know what's available; the library environment that's always keep clean, attractive, and welcoming to encourage students to visit; some parents are now members of the library. The recipe is working!
GRENADA Honorable Mentions: Grenada SDA Comprehensive Secondary School • Happy Hill Secondary School • Mt. Airy Young Readers Program • St. Andrew's Anglican Secondary School • St. Martin de Porres RC Primary School