Education
 Belize
Project #6903

Send 75 Students to High School in Belize

by Caye Caulker Ocean Academy
Vetted
Ocean Academy upstairs classroom expansion project
Ocean Academy upstairs classroom expansion project

Your donation bought cement blocks for Classroom Expansion

Ocean Academy's student body is growing and we only have one place to go....up!  Volunteer student groups from Boston, Iowa,Vermont (USA) and Alberta (Canada) spent Spring Break working alongside Belizeans to lay 1000 cement blocks for much-needed upstairs classrooms.  Each cash donation, and volunteer group, advances us towards this goal of more classrooms, desks and space for our growing student body.  Thank you!

Your donation created opportunities in Marine Biology

Six more island youth are now certified Advanced Scuba divers through Ocean Academy's Aquatic Tourism P.E. class.  We are thankful to Belize Diving Services for volunteering their instructors and resources in order to certify students.   Six senior students are enrolled in night classes to become Reef Technicians.  Ocean Academy youth are training alongside tour guides, Fisheries staff, and fishermen to identify marine life and conduct scientific surveys. Course participants can specialize in invertebrates, juvenile fish, coral health, acroporids, herbivores, commercial fish, marine mammals.  After certification, community technicians will be hired to conduct surveys on the local reef alongside marine biologists

Ocean Academy students are giving back to their community:

  • Students volunteer to conduct Red Cross disaster-preparedness surveys
  • Interact Volunteer Club members read and tutor to primary-school children afterschool
  • Social Studies class celebrates International Women's Month with a poster fair
  • Farewell and Appeciation Assembly for school co-founder and donor, Mr. Dane Dingerson

See more photos and stories at ...

School Blog: www.cayecaulkerschool.com/projects-news-and-photos-updated-daily

School Facebook page: Caye Caulker Ocean Academy

Ocean Academy student carries blocks upstairs
Ocean Academy student carries blocks upstairs
Volunteers laying classroom blocks
Volunteers laying classroom blocks
Advanced Scuba in Aquatic Tourism P.E.
Advanced Scuba in Aquatic Tourism P.E.
Reef Technician Course - examining shells
Reef Technician Course - examining shells
American highschoolers peer-tutor in Math
American highschoolers peer-tutor in Math

Links:

Family sponsors Brenda and Rob
Family sponsors Brenda and Rob

Happy Holidays and thank you so much to everyone who has shown their love this season with a donation to the students of Caye Caulker Ocean Academy.  There are so many heart-warming stories to share with you about how your donations are making a difference in Belizean children's lives and we thank each and every one of you for your kindness. 

Family sponsors scholarships at Ocean Academy

Brenda and Rob Horn from Wisconsin have six children, and recently "adopted" two more at Caye Caulker Ocean Academy.  The family will be sponsoring a full four-year scholarship for one student, and partially assisting another.  Brenda and Rob emailed us after their school visit: "we had a long talk with all of our children last night. We told them the statistics that less than 40% of children go to high school, and less than 10% of Caye Caulker children graduate, and that made them very sad.  We told them that we were sure as OA grows, more children will attend high school and graduate.  We also explained to them the average salary of a Caye Caulker resident, and how much it costs to attend school.  They asked really good questions about the salary of the teachers, the cost of electricity, lights, supplies, water etc., when they saw a picture of the school. They all agreed they were very happy our family is sponsoring and wished we could help more.  This lead into another really good conversation about "wanting" something versus "needing" something.  Our children really want to come to Caye Caulker someday to see the school and meet [our student]... Our visit with your school and meeting the staff and children, is already making a difference in our own home in such a positive way so thank you again!".

Ocean Academy students entertain the community with Christmas Games and Show

Ocean Academy students, teachers and volunteers worked all week to set up this year's Christmas Extravaganza on Caye Caulker.  During the day, the high-schoolers ran games for the island children such as fishing pond, facepainting, bucket and dart throws, arts and crafts centre, photos with Santa and a dice and paddle game.  In the evening the Ocean Academy students entertained the community with guitar, choir, dance performances as well as skits and poems,  More photos can be seen on our school Facebook page (Caye Caulker Ocean Academy). 

Five Jr. Science students win trip to Planetarium and Mayan Museum in Mexico

The Mexican Embassy took 100 of the best Belizean students for a trip to visit the new Planetarium and the Museum of the Mayan Culture in Chetumal, Mexico. 5 Ocean Academy students and their science teacher were selected! The aim of the trip was to expand the knowledge in astronomy and Mayan culture among Belizean students.  More photos are on our school Facebook page (Caye Caulker Ocean Academy).

Tropical Santa at Ocean Academy
Tropical Santa at Ocean Academy
Planetarium in Chetumal, Mexico
Planetarium in Chetumal, Mexico
Museum of Mayan Culture, Mexico
Museum of Mayan Culture, Mexico

Links:

Planting zericote seedlings in the Forest Reserve
Planting zericote seedlings in the Forest Reserve

Ocean Academy is thankful for ...

Our environment and planet

The school motto is "Preserving our heritage, creating our future".To celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday, the entire student body spent the afternoon on the north side of our island to show our committment and appreciation for the environment.  62 students, 7 teachers, 1 co-founder and 3 volunteers planted zericote seedlings on the shore, mangrove seedlings in the sea, and cleared the Forest Reserve trails of dead brush.  A few photos are attached to this report and more are on our Facebook page for Caye Caulker Ocean Academy.

Our student leaders

Educating also means bringing out the very best qualities and gifts within our students such as leadership.  Ocean Academy students are active in a Student Leadership Council, an Interact Volunteer Club and a Girls Empowerment Club.  Students leaders of today will soon become the leaders of Belize!

You! Our volunteers, donors and supporters

Hear in the students' own words how your donations and goodwill have made a difference in their lives, and inspired them to continue with their educational dreams. 

Gathering mangrove propugules to plant
Gathering mangrove propugules to plant
Welcome sign we painted on Earth Day 2009
Welcome sign we painted on Earth Day 2009
Interact Volunteer Club (part of Rotary Movement)
Interact Volunteer Club (part of Rotary Movement)
Planting the mangroves
Planting the mangroves
Volunteer fundraiser Danny Michel
Volunteer fundraiser Danny Michel

Links:

Compost and Gardening Club
Compost and Gardening Club

Students are not the only ones going back to classes! During the month of August, Ocean Academy teachers participated in professional development workshops and met with colleagues to discuss curriculum and lesson planning, assessment, differentiated learning, youth engagement, and positive behaviour management plans.

The student Compost and Gardening group was also busy during the summer tending their crops of cilantro, basil, arugula and mint. They returned to school to learn that their project work has been selected as a finalist for the Belize National Youth Recognition Awards in the category of Environmentalism.  I'll be sure to post another report when we find out the results.

Ocean Academy classes resumed on August 29th with a full school of 60 students in all four forms.  We are excited to welcome 21 new highschoolers out of the class of 28 who graduated from the island primary school.  We also have transfer students from the neighbouring island and even the capital city.  We need to pay five full-time and two part-time Belizean teachers, as well as our Belizean Principal.  A full school also means that we are short on desks and chairs, computers (5 students need to share at present), books and space.  Our library hallway is insufficient to hold the resources needed for English classes but we don't have the funds to build a proper room and shelving. Most importantly, many of our students are still hoping for tuition scholarships and sponsors so that they can stay in school this year.  If you are willing to donate again it would create tremendous opportunities and make a real difference in a student's life as we start this school year.

In addition to the enclosed photos, I have posted links to our school blog where you can keep up-to-date between reports, as well as links to two short videos.  One is a brief history of Ocean Academy, the other is a video the students created to express their sincere appreciation to all the donors, volunteers and supporters.  We hope you enjoy "meeting" the students and hearing in their own words what your support means to them and their dreams for the future.

Library donations needed
Library donations needed
Laughter
Laughter
Teacher Professional Development Workshop
Teacher Professional Development Workshop
Student Engagement
Student Engagement
School building
School building

Links:

Principal Marin unveils official crest
Principal Marin unveils official crest

Caye Caulker Ocean Academy’s first graduating class is “The World’s Greatest”

 Amira Marin, Danny Marin, Lexee Marin and Morgan Carrasco might be a small class, but they are the pride of Caye Caulker as the very first graduates of Ocean Academy.  Founded in 2008, Ocean Academy is the first non-profit community high school on Caye Caulker, Belize and this your generous support helped make this milestone happen. 

Principal Hilda Marin opened the June 11th, 2011 graduation ceremony by unveiling Ocean Academy’s new crest.  An open book symbolizes the importance of learning, three gold coins represent the three co-founders’ contributions,  a dolphin symbolizes the freedom that education brings, rolling waves show our desire to push forward around the world, mangroves signify strength and stability, and foliage around the shield indicates the school’s deep respect and protection of the environment. 

Music was integrated throughout the ceremony, starting with the Pomp and Circumstance processional, a guitar performance by student Lilly Aldana of  "Stand By Me" and ending with an inspiring interpretation by the graduates of the song “The World’s Greatest”.  

"I’m that star up in the sky, I’m that mountain peak up high, Hey I made it, I’m the world’s greatest, And I’m that little bit of hope, When my back’s against the ropes, I can feel it, I’m the world’s greatest".

And this group of young people truly have great plans!   Danny has been accepted into the University of Belize, and Amira will study at Muffles.  Morgan will continue his work with environmental conservation groups.  Lexee has been hired at Belize Diving Services after successfully completing her Advance Diving course through Ocean Academy’s aquatic tourism P.E. 

To see more photos of the ceremony and celebration, go to the school website (link below) or visit the Facebook page for Caye Caulker Ocean Academy.

Co-founder Heidi Curry speech
Co-founder Heidi Curry speech
The graduates celebrate with hats flung high
The graduates celebrate with hats flung high
Proud parents
Proud parents
Graduates Morgan, Lexee, Danny
Graduates Morgan, Lexee, Danny

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Caye Caulker Ocean Academy

Location: Caye Caulker, Belize - Belize
Website: http:/​/​www.cayecaulkerschool.com
Project Leader:
Joni Miller
Caye Caulker, Belize

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