Most Caye Caulker children were forced to quit school at the age of 12 until Ocean Academy opened as the island's first high school offering financial support to all children who want to learn.
In Belize, education is expensive due to school fees, books, and uniforms; most children are forced out of the educational system and are often left with marginal literacy and numeracy skills. They struggle to find low paying jobs. This continues generation after generation. Families who try to break the cycle face academic challenges. Large class sizes and limited ability to receive help at home often mean failing the primary school exit exam. Only 40% of youth nationwide attend high school.
Ocean Academy provides financial support to 85% of students through scholarships, tuition bartering, and work study. Free tutoring, small classes, and individualized attention build core skills and empower students to believe in their futures. Students learn valuable job skills in entrepreneurship classes, and earn tuition through student-led ventures such as kayak and bike tours of the island, and selling culinary herbs.
For the first time, a full generation of villagers will be educated beyond primary school. They will lead their developing country out of crime and become stewards of Belize's fragile barrier reef.
Ocean Academy School Website
Being Somebody (University of Texas article)