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Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School

by Caye Caulker Ocean Academy
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Ocean Academy Girls Rising and Staying in School
Graduation 2022!
Graduation 2022!

June Graduation Ceremony is always an exciting and proud moment. This year Ocean Academy celebrated our TWELFTH graduating class of 26 students.  Many of whom are the first in their families to graduate. You, our supporters, have made every step of the way possible. Thank you!

We know that you are especially interested in opportunities and success stories of women and girls.   In that spirit, we'd like to highlight Ayasha who earned the 2022 Ocean Academy Award of Excellence. Her photo is below.

Several female staff members also graduated this June. Ocean Academy's teachers model the importance of Lifelong Learning.  Their achievement is made all the more remarkable because these teachers undertook their respective degrees while still teaching full time.  Congratulations:

  • Janel (Entrepreneurship Teacher) earned her Bachelor's Degree in Business Education.
  • Florence (Information Communication Technology Teacher, Mindfullness/Yoga Teacher, Mentor for Girls Rising Club) and Shantel  (School Counsellor and Social Worker) both completed Diplomas in Education.
  • Amara (Science, Marine Biology, P.E. Teacher) is pursuing her Bachelor's in Science Education.
  • Rebecca (Head of Science Department) and Noemi (Vice-Principal) are both pursuing Leadership Degrees.
  • Liz (Belizean Studies) is undertaking a degree in Psychology. She was also recently elected as Councillor and Secretary of the Caye Caulker Village Council.  You can see her portfolio responsibilities in the photo below.

July was a busy month on our campus as we again hosted a Digital Technology Summer Camp called "Introduction to New Technology and Cyber Security Awareness".  This opportunity was possible thanks to our partnership with Digital Silence (website URL below). Digital Silence is a team of cyber security professionals who volunteered their time and expertise with Ocean Academy to lead intensive one-week specialization courses. They engaged students and police officers in digital literacy skills, digital forensics and cyber security awareness. The camp also empowered youth to develop employability and entrepreneurial skills.

Participants were: 19 students (5 of whom are girls); 2 police officers (1 female and 1 male); and Ocean Academy's 3 ICT teachers (including Florence whom we introduced above).

We are very grateful to the Digital Silence team of instructors! 

  • Justin Whitehead taught Computer Repair. Participants learned how to rebuild and repair computers and install OS.  Justin Whitehead is CEO of Digital Silence, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Forensic Hacking Intelligence (CFHI), US Army Veteran (Airborne Infantry) and has a Bachelor of Computer Science Computer, Information Technology Specialization in Forensics.
  • Justin Whitehead and Dan Nelson together taught an advanced class of Forensics.  You can see photos of students below, as they learned about a Chain of Custody Form and how to fill it out, basic rule of law around forensics, imaging a piece of digital evidence and how to look at the image and find details.  Dan is a licensed Attorney focussing on Privacy & Data Security matters, Bachelor of Science Economics, Juris Doctorate.
  • Erin Beffa is an Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) Professional. She covered topics like Google dorking/hacking and OSINT.
  • Ryan Jones taught Intro to Physical Security. Partipants learned how to evaluate gaps in existing physical security systems, best practices,  bypassing certain physical security measures and lock picking. Ryan Jones has over 20 years of experience in Information Security, is CTO of Digital Silence and Certified Information System Security Professional
  • Justin Montalbono taught Video Editing.  Students learned how to install video editing software, capture video images and merge content together.

Dear GlobalGiving donors, thank you for believing in all of our students, but especially for supporting opportunities for girls. Thank you for believing in the value of investing in their education.  You are truly making an impact.  

Ayasha - OA Award of Excellence
Ayasha - OA Award of Excellence
Tech Summer Camp - Digital Forensics
Tech Summer Camp - Digital Forensics
Tech Summer Camp - Digital Forensics
Tech Summer Camp - Digital Forensics
Tech Summer Camp; on left is OA Teacher Florence
Tech Summer Camp; on left is OA Teacher Florence
OA Teacher elected to Village Council
OA Teacher elected to Village Council

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Carpe Diem, Seize the Day. Ocean Academy girls are taking this Latin phrase to heart. They are entering competitions and also volunteering in the community. Belizeans joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Women's Day on March 8.

Black History Month 2022's theme was "Black Health and Wellness". Ocean Academy's school counsellor, Dr. Corinth Morter-Lewis, was nominated as an outstanding representative of this year's theme. She received high praise from the Belize National Library Services in recognition of her career contributions as an author and counsellor. Dr. Lewis is an inspiring role model for our students and we feel blessed that she is part of the Ocean Academy family.

Dr. Lewis mentored Noriely, a Form III student, who submitted an original poem for the U.S. Embassy's Black History Month Poetry Competition. Noriely's poem is entitled "Strength". Noriely will be visiting the U.S. Embassy later this week, but this time it will be because she was shortlisted and invited to interview for a three-week intercultural experience called the Youth Ambassadors Program. We wish her good luck, and will send an update in our next report.

Ocean Academy students recently volunteered alongside community adults, at the Community Garden Project. They also spent time painting, yard cleaning and repairing equipment at the Children's Playground Park. 

Ocean Academy Certificate Week was in March. Students who had submitted all their assignments were invited to participate in an exciting variety of workshops: scuba diving, kayaking, mangrove restoration, art, technology, peer-counselling and more. 

Melody is a gifted young artist. She entered an art competition called Belize Pantheon Fantastic that asked students to draw and describe a mythical creature. There are many legends and myths in Belize, such as Chac Shango (The Sleeping Giant).  Melody named her imaginary creature "Le Senuelo" which is Yucatec Maya for "the lure". Melody says that this creature lures in prey by mimicking their calls. It's semi-aquatic, runs in herds, has bioluminescent markings and when in hunting mode their eyes roll back just like sharks. We'll send an update once we receive the art jurors' feedback about Melody's creative entry.

We are so grateful to donors who have supported our Ocean Academy Library Wish List and bought books for the students. Your donation to this GlobalGiving Page supports this initiative. You could also pack a book in your suitcase on your next trip to Caye Caulker. Check out the Library's March Newsletter in the link below.

Dr. Corinth Morter-Lewis
Dr. Corinth Morter-Lewis
Volunteering to paint the North Children's Park
Volunteering to paint the North Children's Park
Volunteering to do repairs at the park
Volunteering to do repairs at the park
Volunteers with the Community Garden Project
Volunteers with the Community Garden Project
Melody's idea for a mythical beast
Melody's idea for a mythical beast
Art class
Art class

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More female graduates every year.
More female graduates every year.

The 2021-2022 academic school year is flying by and the Ocean Academy (OA) students and graduates have already accomplished so many amazing activities.

Ocean Academy is proud to have more and more female graduates every single year.  And female students at Ocean Academy are making and leaving their marks with the following prestigious awards.

Congratulations to Ocean Academy alumnus, Daniela who 
received the award for Innovation in Technology.  As always, Daniela is making Ocean Academy proud! 
Belize Youth Awards 2021.
"Generation Now: Youth taking action for a better Belize"
https://youtu.be/Ho5xbB__MB8

Congratulations to the following current Ocean Academy female students for these 2021-2022 honors and awards.

Daiannie and Sophie, who were appointed to the Belize Children’s Parliament.  On November 20, young people from all over Belize were assigned to be the Governor General, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate and parliamentarians.  This year’s National Children’s Parliament took place on World Children’s Day to recognize the right of children to have spaces for their voices and opinions to be heard.  The future is truly in the hands of our children.

Ayasha and Nythiria, who served as Central American Youth Ambassadors.  Youth Ambassadors is a cultural exchange program designed to strengthen the leadership skills of young people from the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. It builds bonds of friendship and understanding between people of the Americas and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

Lily, who earned third place honors in the World AIDS Day Poem/Monologue Competition sponsored by the National AIDS Commission.

Kimary, who received the Ocean Academy Ka'ana Award.  This award goes to a student who has pulled himself/herself up “against all odds” and is now heading in the direction to “be somebody” despite others not necessarily believing this person could “make it.”

Nythiria, who received the Spirit of Ocean Academy Award.  This award goes to a student who truly shows the Spirit of Ocean Academy in word and in deed.  

Kabanina, who received the Budding Student Leader Award.  This award goes to a student who has taken on leadership roles and shown herself to be a natural leader to her peers.

Don't miss your chance to support female students at Ocean Academy High School as GlobalGiving offers 200% matching funds on all new monthly donations.  New monthly donations are eligible for a one-time 200% match after staying recurring for four payments.

Sophie serves on the Children's Parliament
Sophie serves on the Children's Parliament
Daiannie serves on the Children's Parliament
Daiannie serves on the Children's Parliament
Lily earns 3rd place for her World AIDS Day Poem
Lily earns 3rd place for her World AIDS Day Poem
Kimary, Ka'ana Award Recipient
Kimary, Ka'ana Award Recipient
Kabanina, Budding Student Leader Award
Kabanina, Budding Student Leader Award
INCREASE your impact with MATCHING FUNDS!
INCREASE your impact with MATCHING FUNDS!

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An accomplishment worth celebrating!
An accomplishment worth celebrating!

With your support, we have a lot to celebrate: 

  • 27 students graduated in June of 2021.  Many of these are first-in-their-family to graduate!
  • 160 students are enrolled for the 2021-22 school year.  
  • 23 students are currently supported with sponsorships (our goal is 115 students).
  • 3 students were selected as Central American Youth Ambassadors: Gian, Ayasha, and Nythiria.  They are currently in training with youth leaders from across Central America and the U.S.
  • While COVID continues to rise in Belize, O.A. students have been learning online (according to the Ministry of Education guidelines).  We hope to get students to campus soon!  
  • Teachers have been testing equipment and strategies for hybrid learning, so we can accommodate students on campus and at home.
  • Students are working to build several social enterprises (school-based businesses) so they can contribute to family income.  

Thank you for giving the gift of education and keeping hope alive for Belizean teens during this pandemic!

First-Year Sponsored Students Say Thank You!
First-Year Sponsored Students Say Thank You!

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Dear Friends and Supporters of Ocean Academy, 

Thank you for making the world of difference for our little school in Belize to continue educating the youth of Caye Caulker throughout the pandemic!

As we complete the 2020-2021 school year, we also look forward to the new school year that will begin in the early fall of 2021.  
Girls Rising looks forward to being even more active with programs for girls at Ocean Academy.  

THANK YOU for EMPOWERING girls and INSPIRING hope for our island to overcome one of the most difficult years of financial hardship and health challenges we have ever faced. 

Thank you for BELIEVING in the POWER of Education.  Because of YOU: 

  • 46 students were funded to stay in school.
  • 16 recurring donations came in every month to inspire continued hope.
  • More kind-hearted supporters learned about OA when you spread the word.
  • Distance learning was made possible through donated laptops, tech equipment, and chargers. 
  • Face-to-face classes were made possible through donated materials and funds for hand-washing stations, screened classrooms, and cleaning supplies. 
  • Students expanded their skills and passion for reading with books they chose and you donated and carried down. 
  • Students focused on learning and parents put food on the table instead of worrying about school fees.
  • Faculty and staff immersed themselves into new ways of teaching instead of worrying about school finances.
  • Students grew exponentially as they adapted to the new demands of life and learning.
  • Primary school students attended weekly classes to prepare for their transition to high school. 

As we celebrate the accomplishments of this school year, we prepare for another year of commitment to universal education so that every child on Caye Caulker has access to a high school education.  YOU are making this vision a reality.  YOU are changing lives.  Thank you.  

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Organization Information

Caye Caulker Ocean Academy

Location: Caye Caulker, Belize - Belize
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Penny Williams
Caye Caulker, Belize
$4,139 raised of $25,000 goal
 
27 donations
$20,861 to go
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