Nov 16, 2020

Thank you for Graduating 16 Teens & Empowering Another 150!

Yard signs for the OA Class of 2020
Yard signs for the OA Class of 2020

Thank you!  Mil gracias!  Merci beaucoup!  Xie xie!

With generous support from donors like you, Ocean Academy students have continued to learn and grow in 2020.  Because of YOU . . .

OA was able to end the 2019-2020 school year strong:

  • 100% of students’ school fees were covered for the four final months of school.  This support gave incredible relief to students and families who remained without employment due to Belize’s borders being closed to tourism. (Education is not free in Belize) 
  • Students in need were equipped with devices (repurposed from campus) and internet installations. 
  • One-on-one check-ins, virtual tutoring and mentoring ensured success despite the incredible challenges faced by these resilient teens. 
  • Two days before graduation, the OA Youth Innovation Challenge Team, who had advanced from regional, won the National First Place with their idea for “Purchase with Purpose” online store to fund education in this time of need. 
  • All of the 16 seniors graduated in a beautiful, socially distanced graduation ceremony.
  • 94% of all first-, second-, and third-year students successfully completed the year and entered the next grade level. 

And in 2020-2021, we are able to continue to provide a beacon of hope for a brighter future: 

  • 150 students are engaging in online learning, critical thinking, and socialization everyday.  
  • Students and families are receiving sponsorships for tuition, internet, and devices along with technical, academic, and emotional support. 

Although the challenges remain - nine months without tourism, economic challenge, floods, tropical storms, hurricane threats, and steadily rising COVID cases/casualties - one thing remains certain: because of continued support from donors like you, OA students are enriching their minds and increasing their skills to equip themselves for an ever-changing future.  You are giving them strength and hope and for that we are eternally grateful.  

Thank you, 

Heidi Curry, Founder

Penny Williams, Volunteer Fundraising Coordinator 

Hands to Heart Center for the Mindfulness Circle
Hands to Heart Center for the Mindfulness Circle
Valedictorian D. Novelo and Board Chair S. Pesos
Valedictorian D. Novelo and Board Chair S. Pesos
Ocean Academy Class of 2020
Ocean Academy Class of 2020
Youth Innovation Challenge Team National 1st Place
Youth Innovation Challenge Team National 1st Place
Thank You
Thank You

Links:

May 20, 2020

OA School Year 2019-2020

Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new campus
Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new campus

Strong Start

The 2019-2020 school year started off strong.  Enrollment increased 23%. The government broke ground, in partnership with Ocean Academy,  to build a new high school campus to house the growing student population.  Ocean Academy students won third place in the national Raspberri Pi Innovation in Technology competition, for the second time in a row.  

Just about the time we were welcoming the island's primary school students to visit their future high-school campus, and the seniors could feel the rush of their long-awaited graduation ahead, COVID-19 hit us all. 

Belize's Tourism-Based Economy Crashed, Along with 45% School Funding

Airlines stopped.  Borders closed.  Tourism came to a hault.  Belize's economy was hit particularly hard: "Standard  &  Poor’s  estimates  that Belize will  be  the  third  country  most  affected  among  tourism - dependent economies in the world." (IDB, p.8) 

Virtually every family faced unemployment.  Government funding turned to putting food on tables, and secondary school funding was cut . . . by 19% at Ocean Academy.  Our Social Enterprises (school businesses), Bike with Purpose and Kayak with Purpose, which contributed 11% of the the school's funding, closed completely.  Families could no longer contribute any school fees (no school is free in Belize) which had been 15% of the budget.

Your Support Allowed the Teaching and Learning to Continue 

With generous support from donors like you, we made it through!  We raised enough money, through this project and others, to fund the school fees for all students and to cover the school's bills from March through June.  This is a relief for families, teachers and the institution.

You enabled Ocean Academy to remain the "OA Family" for our students, many of whom face challenges off campus and find refuge during the school day.  In March, our physical campus closed due to quarentine measures, but our "OA Family" continued.  We checked out devices from campus, transitioned to online learning from home, and established a Mentor Team to stay in close, regular contact with students.

Our online learning balances two academic subjects per day with wellness through Physical Education, Yoga, Social-Emotional Learning, Homeroom Activities, and Virtual fun days.  We are helping to keep hope alive among an island, once thriving with tourism, now surviving on soup kitchens during our six-month high season. 

What's Ahead?

Our immediate needs are to raise $3,500 to cover all graduates' outstanding and final fees, $6,250 to order PE t-shirts, shorts, badges, and handbooks to be ready for the incoming students, $5,000 to begin building additional handwashing stations throughout campus in preparation for reopening, and $18,750 to order devices for 50 new students who are expected to be learning from home starting in August.  

As we continue to deal with the global effects of the Covid-19 virus, we are not certain of what the future holds for Belize and for Caye Caulker in particular.  We are certain that with the support of people like you, the students of Caye Caulker will continue to learn, innovate, and lead their community through the effects of this situation and back to properity.  

Footnote: IDB, "The impact of COVID-19 on the economies of the region (Central America)", https://publications.iadb.org/publications/spanish/document/El_impacto_del_COVID-19_en_las_econom%C3%ADas_de_la_regi%C3%B3n_Centroam%C3%A9rica.pdf, p.8. 

Student Government being sworn into office
Student Government being sworn into office
Student interns getting on the job experience
Student interns getting on the job experience
Biology students made prosthetic limbs
Biology students made prosthetic limbs
Visitors to OA bring books & school supplies
Visitors to OA bring books & school supplies

Links:

Nov 13, 2014

This project is closed; consider these projects

Dear supporters,

This project was created with the intention of allowing former Ocean Academy volunteers to donate funds to keep their volunteer projects sustainable.  Some volunteers have created literacy programs, environmental recycling projects, or computer technology projects and they wanted to continue to develop these intiatives even when they returned to their home countries.

However, in August 2013 we decide to close this page and direct donors and former volunteers to our main project pages on GlobalGiving instead:

  • Send 75 Belizean students to high school
  • 10 Belizean girls, 10 notebooks, 10 FLC dreams

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to sending you more reports with success stories and photos via our other two active project pages above.

 
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