About the Sr. Borgia Primary School
Ms. Charlotte Johanna Wilhelmina Linskens was born on November 1, 1912 in Holland . Her convent name was Sister Borgia. Sr. Borgia arrived on St. Maarten in August of 1964 and became principal of the St. Joseph School . Sr. Borgia became directress of the Pastoor Niewenhuis MAVO.
She was known to be an excellent teacher. She was always interested in all her students and gave all her students a fair chance. In those days not everyone had a telephone. So when she said she was going to call on the parents, the call was made on her bicycle. Sr. Borgia was also an outspoken person. She loved to work and nothing was too much for her. She never complained of the pains she was suffering, and she always had a comforting word for people up around her. She always gave her best to the students.
Before reluctantly returning to Holland , she was head of the “Pedagogic Didaktisch Bureau”. In 1988 the school was renamed Sr. Borgia Elementary School in commemoration of the Reverend Sister Borgia. Sr. Borgia died on October 21, 1990 in Holland . Every first day of November, her birth date, the school, celebrates Sr. Borgia Day.
Sr. Borgia Elementary School
Sr. Borgia Elementary School is a Catholic School located on Cannegieter Street, Pond fill, and Phillipsburg . This school was one of the Catholic schools established in August 1978, to cater to the growing school population of St. Maarten in the late seventies.
Historical view of Sr. Borgia Elementary School
The Sr. Borgia Elementary School has served the St. Maarten community in a number of very important functions as far back as 1910. in that year (1910) the oldest section of our school was added to 2 existing houses that were being used as a hospital. This wing was very much needed because of the increasing population of our island. In 1916 the cistern was added to the new wing.
In 1935 the hospital moved to its new location on Front Street. The building was left vacant until 1940. During the Second World War 1940-1945 the building was used as barracks for the Civil Guards, officially called “Schutterij”.
In 1946 The Sweet Repose, a home for the aged was established. In 1965 the senior citizens of the Sweet Repose moved to their new location and the building was remodeled to house two 6th grades of the St. Joseph College . After this, the Pastoor Nieuwenhuis MAVO was established until 1976, when it moved to the newly constructed Milton Peters College . In 1978 this building was concerted into a primary school for Catholic Education, known as the ‘ Old Pondside School ’.
The pioneering Principal was Mrs. Sylvia Nisbeth-Larmonie. In these beginning years there were quite some challenges. There was the first grade with 48 students and the ‘all boys’ fifth grade. Being built on the pond side it was barely accessible at times because of poor drainage in those days. Mrs. Mavis Brooks Salmon took over management of the school in 1981.
The focus was on the physical and psychological image of the school. Her philosophy was based on the idea that all children can learn. This period in our school’s development was characterized with great emphasis on Reading and Art Exhibitions. Mrs. Brooks was a dynamic principal with many innovative ideas e.g. the Reading Around the Campfire was started by her. Mr. Wim Scheerder, former Superintendent of Catholic Schools and the former Diocesan Representative submitted information pertaining to our school’s history.
Mr. Scheerder also served as a teacher during the period that the building was used to house the two 6 grades of the St. Joseph School . Some of the schools history was also obtained from Mrs. S. Nisbeth and Mrs. M. Brooks former principals of the school.
In 1992 Mrs. Greene took over the leadership. The physical appearance of the school was enhanced with a paved gymnastic field and the construction of our stage known as the Multi Purpose Hall. June of 1992 our school started with what has become the Annual Education Trip abroad with grade 6 students. September 5, 1995 Hurricane Luis and one week later Hurricane Marilyn completely destroyed grades 3 thru 6. We were attending school from 1.00-4.00 pm on the premises of St. Joseph School . It was our worst night mare, however it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Out of this disaster we received a brand new school.
In October of 1997, we moved back to our original location. On February 26 1998 it was officially reopend and blessed by Fr. Paulino. During this year the Catholic School Board moved its office to the older section of the school, (the historical building).
In 1999 our school in partnership with the Sr. Regina Primary School and a school in Amsterdam ‘Knotwilg’ started an educational and cultural exchange known as the Kans Project. The Project leader of this venture was our Remedial Teacher Mr. A. Verloop. This exchange lasted for 4 years bringing a lot of new ideas into our school, which we in turn have shared with all elementary schools on St. Maarten, Saba and Statia. This was done in collaboration with our School Board and the Island Government in the form of all day conferences. In 2004, our school population was enlarged through the addition of two St. Imelda Kindergarten classes now called year 1 and 2 of Foundation Based Education. To accommodate this, two classrooms were constructed on the site of our stage.
This addition allowed our school to meet yet another infrastructural requirement of becoming a F.B.E School (Foundation Based Education) of teaching and learning. In our quest for continuous upgrading and staff development, our teachers are regularly provided with opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills on new and improved way of teaching and learning. Hence, visits and guidance by educational specialist from “Stichting Ervaring Gericht Onderwijs Nederland for the past 3 consecutive years:
Staff members regularly visit conferences of the National Catholic Educational Association in the USA. Our School Board, after a survey on the topic; ‘Preferred Language of Instruction by the parents, has decided that the language of Instruction at our school will be Dutch as of Cycle One year 3 (grade 1).
In 2013 Mrs. E. Jacobs took over from Mrs. Greene as principal of the school.