The Rising Stars Program has received numerous accolades for its success - including being rated in the top 10% nationally in the “Innovations in State and Local Government” competition sponsored by Harvard University and the Ford Foundation; being named the Grand Prize winner in the national television network Arts & Entertainment’s competition, “Breaking Barriers”; and being listed in the U.S. Senate’s “Catalogue of Hope” as one of the best prevention programs in the United States and its Territories.

In November 1989, the Rising Stars was recognized by the Eighteenth Legislature of the Virgin Islands with the passage of Resolution No. 1405, Bill No. 18-0239 “To honor and commend the Rising Stars Youth Steel band for their command performance at the Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center.” Included in this Resolution, the Legislature declared: “WHEREAS, the members of the Rising Stars Youth Steelband are known as the Ambassadors of Goodwill for the United States Virgin Islands.” This Resolution was passed on November 22, 1989 and was signed into law on December 5, 1989.

In November 1991, the Rising Stars Program was honored by the Arts and Entertainment Network (A&E), as they became the National Grand Prize Winner of the 1991 City Video Competition (A&E Video). Jo Ann Newhart Productions compiled information about the Rising Stars Program, videotaping the band in different settings (performing, rehearsing and educational settings) and included interviews with Judge Verne Hodge and Mrs. Smith that gave an overview of the entire Rising Stars Program. The Program was recognized for its innovations with regard to students and their involvement in arts and entertainment while furthering their education. 

In April 1994, the Committee on the Judiciary, Chaired by the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States Senate, produced the Catalogue of Hope: Crime Prevention Programs for At-Risk Children. A brief synopsis of the Rising Stars Program is included in the Catalogue’s Section II – A Better Way: Alternatives to Gangs, Drugs and the Streets.

During the past several years, many organizations have recognized the Rising Stars for its contributions within the community. Thus, they have received many Certificates of Appreciation and other recognition awards for their efforts. Portions of this information are excerpted, with permission, from: Vacations St. Thomas & St. John.