Wow! School has started and 527 children are learning, playing, laughing and enjoying a nutritious feeding program here at Holy Cross. Only a few so far have been sent to the Office and we pray this trend will last throughout the year! As always we are counting on you, our friends and supporters, to make sure we can continue to offer the highest quality education program in the safest environment possible to the children of San Pedro.
Thanks be to God, hundreds of wonderful folks volunteered their time and talents here this summer. They painted (just about everything that didn’t move), installed insulation, built storm shutters, constructed a marvelous deck around the Upper Division, enlarged the Standard VI class to accommodate 39 (!) students, roofed an area adjacent to the cafeteria (thanks Tony!), repaired school furniture and organized lots of school supplies. In addition they held glorious, fun-filled, Christ-centered Vacation Bible Schools, conducted Literacy Programs (yea Ginger!) and offered swimming classes at the Tides. It was a very busy, enriching summer for our children. Thank you Volunteer Mission Teams. You helped keep our children safe and sound while preparing the school for this new year !!
We were also able, over the summer, to find sponsors for thirty-five of our graduates to attend high school. As always I was amazed at the kindness and generosity of the larger Holy Cross community. All twenty-one of our 2009 graduates who applied for scholarships received them, as did our 12 graduates from 2008 plus two graduates who wanted to go to night school. Thanks be to God these young folks are walking toward a brighter future everyday. In June 2010 we hope to graduate thirty-nine students from Standard VI. If you're interested in helping with a high school scholarship, please let me know. Cost per scholarship is $500US per student.
We have two exciting projects planned for the fall. The first is building and equipping our soon-to-be Holy Cross Preschool. We have been asked by the Ministry of Education to have the classrooms up and running as soon as possible – we’re praying by December. We plan to have morning and afternoon sessions that will serve approximately 50 children ages three and four from the San Mateo community. The need is great and we hope the resources will be available to get started. Our biggest concern is acquiring the necessary landfill, which is so expensive. Our ‘friendly’ developer to the north has consistently failed to honor his promises to assist in this effort, so we really need your prayers and financial support!
Our second project is the construction of a state-of-the art composting toilet system capable of meeting the needs of our students AND protecting the environment. Thanks be to God and the Episcopal Church Women, the school received a $41,000US United Thank Offering grant!!! Construction should start within the next few weeks – not a moment too soon. We have long lines at the bathrooms everyday and our holding tank has to be pumped out monthly - another $500US expense. It’s hard to imagine how excited we are about toilets - smile.
Holy Cross is blessed again this year that Principal Grace Williams returned. Mrs. Williams actually retired several years ago after thirty-nine years in education. Thank goodness she is delaying 'rocking on the porch' in favor of strengthening Holy Cross and mentoring staff and students. We also welcomed Ms. Olivia Tasher as Vice-Principal. Ms. Tasher has over twenty years experience in primary education and is already making wonderful contributions in the Infant Division. In addition ten of our returning teachers spent their summer vacations taking education classes offered by the University of Belize (in the Holy Cross Computer Center - yea!), and are so much better prepared and equipped to be in the classroom. Holy Cross Anglican School is definitely coming together - smile!!
Yes, we are definitely off to a great start, but we need your help to stay the course. I know September isn't the best time to be asking for financial support, but......
*we need to feed our children in September! At a cost of one dollar per day per student for breakfast with milk, mid-morning fruit snack, full lunch and purified water in every classroom that is $527US per day or $2,635 per week!!! Many of our children don't receive breakfast at home, rarely have fresh fruit or milk or a nutritious, well-balanced lunch. The parents who can afford to contribute to the Feeding Program do so with financial contributions, food or volunteering at the school. Hungry children cannot learn regardless of the quality of the teachers or the availability of school supplies. We need YOUR help to maintain the Feeding Program!
*we need to purchase textbooks in September! Although the Government of Belize provided most of our textbooks, we still need supplementary materials. Just last week the school spent almost $3,000US on Social Studies materials. And we continue to need basic reading resources. We need YOUR help to acquire essential books and materials!
*we need to pay our energy bills in September! In order to protect the integrity of the 40 computers were generously given, we must air condition the computer center. In order to safe guard the thousands of books volunteers loving brought down in their suitcases, we need to air condition the Library. Unfortunately, air conditioning is very expensive in San Pedro. Last month we paid $2,017US for the electric bill. We need YOUR help to maintain the Computer Center and Library!
*we need to pay our water bills in September! We've had an exceptionally dry summer with almost no rain. Usually we spend the summer praying we aren't hit by a hurricane or torrential rains; this summer we've been praying for rain. Our cistern (which supplies the school) ran empty in August and we had to fill up with town water. The school uses approximately 7,000 gallons of water a week as the kitchen staff washes tons of dishes. At a cost of $113.27 a week that's over $450 a month when we rely on Town water. We need YOUR help to make sure the kitchen runs smoothly and our little ones eat clean and healthy food off of clean and healthy dishes!
Simply put, the children of Holy Cross need your continuing support and assistance! Each of you has been an integral part of the miracle of Holy Cross. Through you, God has richly blessed this 'not so little any more' school. A firm foundation has been built which was no easy job in the middle of a swamp. Now I pray you will stand with us as we try to break the chains of poverty, abuse and ignorance. We need YOUR financial support and your prayers in September and October and November and.....
Please send checks made payable to 'Holy Cross Anglican School' to:
Holy Cross Anglican School
San Pedro Town
Ambergris Caye Belize
In closing we'd like to once again thank our Volunteer Mission Teams who were so incredible this summer. They include:
All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, TX
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina, MN
Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Kingwood, TX
Christ and Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg, VA
Anglican Diocese from Newfoundland, CAN
St. Simon's Anglican Church in Oakville, CAN
St. Paul's Episcopal School in Baltimore, MD
Eastern Shore Chapel in Virginia Beach, VA
Church of the Good Shepherd, Norfolk, VA
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, TX
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades, CA
Church of the Transfiguration in Aurora, CA
Kiwanis Club Young Professional Division in Newport News, VA
May God richly bless your willingness to share your time, talents and treasure with His less fortunate children in Belize. In Christ, Francis