Study Center set up for Stranded Saba Students

Commissioner Bruce Zagers (fifth from right), Island Secretary Tim Muller (right), policey advisor Rosa Johnson (left), SATEL Managing Director Jennifer Zagers (fifth from left), SATEL technician Steve Hughes (second from left) with some of the Saba students that attended the soft opening of the Study Center this week.

The Bottom, Saba – The Public Entity Saba, in close collaboration with telecommunications company SATEL and the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS), set up a Study Center in the Windwardside for Saba students who had to remain on island due to the COVID-19 crisis and could not return to their university in the United States or the Netherlands.

In August this year, a parent approached Commissioner of Education Bruce Zagers to ask about the possibility for a study space for the affected students. Commissioner Zagers acted immediately as he saw a great opportunity to assist the students. He reached out to SATEL to assist with finding a space.

SATEL’s building in the Windwardside that houses the company’s telecommunication equipment had space available to accommodate the students. SATEL technician Steve Hughes started immediately with preparing the location for the students. SCS assisted with lending desks and chairs for the students to use. With the help of the Facility Management team of the Public Entity Saba, the study space was set up within a short time.

“When I was studying, it was difficult to study from home and I preferred to study in a different space. I felt this was a great opportunity to offer a study space away from home for the students,” said Zagers.

SATEL’s Managing Director Jennifer Zagers said that she was happy that the Public Entity Saba reached out to collaborate to making the study space a reality for the students. She said she also understood how difficult it was to study during this pandemic and that she would like to see the students excel despite it all.

 The idea is for students to make use of this study space during their online class sessions as well as for study periods. It is also a place that they can still gather as college friends and not be isolated at home, said Education Policy Advisor Rosa Johnson. 

SATEL technician Hughes explained that the internet speed should work faster for the students because they are directly connected to the main circuit. Managing Director Zagers clarified that for regular households there are limitations with the internet due to distances from the main circuit, while the curvy routes to the households also cause disruptions with the quality of service. 

Three students from Lipscomb University, and one student from Flagler College and The Hague University each were present for the soft opening earlier this week. Some of the majors they are studying include: Computer Science and Math, Software Engineering, Account and Finance, and International Business.

The students expressed their gratitude. “Thank you for the possibility to have a different study environment and I will definitely make use of it. I have already visited the study space,” said Jessye Muller. “I study in the Netherlands and with time difference my classes begin very early in the morning, but I am happy to have a study space where I can come and see friends as well as study,” said Kloe Hassell. College students who have not reached out as yet about the facility can contact Rosa Johnson at the building of the Community Development Department.

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