Greetings from Holy Cross and Happy New Year.
Life has been very busy at Holy Cross since school resumed after the Christmas vacation. A team of volunteers from Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, began construction of a walkway around the back of the classroom building, shoveled loads of sand to increase the land space around the workshop, further organized the books in the library, and tutored numerous children in reading and math.
They were followed by back-to-back teams from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, NC. These teams shoveled more sand, tutored more children, worked on the library project, finished the walkway and painted the backside of the classroom building. The second team from St. Luke’s included two doctors and two nurses. This group measured the height and weight of all the children, did vision and medical screenings, treated many sick children and entered past and current medical information for all the children into a database.
We had dentists in the Smile Clinic for two weeks seeing children. Teeth were filled and pulled, and many smiles were brightened. Thanks to Dr. Mark for coordinating the dentists and their helpers from NC, Florida and Minnesota.
During the same two week period, other volunteers from Boston and Minnesota worked on the various projects including moving sand and vision screening. So much valuable work was done in only a few days.
Other volunteers and friends have brought wonderful donations of school supplies, shoes, uniforms, prizes and money for the feeding program.
Joanne O’Brien, founder of Direct Abundance, has been back with us. She and her daughter Erin, who is enrolled in Standard VI, are in Belize for two months. Joanne has been conducting workshops and community meetings on the topic of domestic violence. She presented a very informative workshop to the Holy Cross teachers as well as ones in Belize City and in the Belize prison. She is working with a number of agencies spearheading a movement to establish a women’s and children’s shelter here in San Pedro.
Representatives from Defiance College in Ohio, Vancouver Island University, and Gainesville State University, Georgia have visited Holy Cross to finalize plans for partnerships for student teachers and other teacher resource programs. We are very excited about these relationships and how they will enhance teaching at Holy Cross.
Holy Cross held three fundraisers and donation collections, raising over $800 that was sent to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
The Valentine’s Day Fair was a huge success with games, food, prizes and face painting. Over $3000Bz was raised for the school.
Another exciting and generous contribution came from the Kelly McGuire Foundation. Texas musician Kelly McGuire was recently on Ambergris Caye for several concerts. He established a foundation, held a benefit auction and donated the proceeds to the school.
The Holy Cross football (soccer) team has played 4 games and boasts a record of 1-1-1. Through generous donations from volunteer teams, the team is sporting new uniforms in Holy Cross colors. In order to participate, Standard IV, V and VI students must maintain their grades and exhibit good behavior in class.
Two children from Holy Cross participated in the Ambergris Caye Spelling Bee. While they did not win this year, they represented the school well as they competed against children from four other island schools.
The needs continue to be great at Holy Cross. In an effort to enlarge the land area around the construction shed, more sand has been brought in, but many more loads are needed. The feeding program continues to fill many empty tummies each day but the groceries are expensive.
Francis and Vernon Wilson are in the US for the month of February for some much needed “R&R” and medical appointments. We look forward to their return. Trying to fill their very big shoes in their absence is Deacon Jan Lamb from North Carolina who is volunteering at Holy Cross for the remainder of the school year. Deacon Jan is a teacher of students with learning disabilities and a teacher trainer. She will be working with both students and teachers as well as serving as Chaplain for Holy Cross. Deacon Jan led chapel services at the school on Ash Wednesday and will soon begin meeting with children who are preparing for Confirmation.
A PS from Francis: Being away from Holy Cross is always difficult for Vernon and me but is made much easier knowing there are so many wonderful folks in charge. Principal Grace Williams, Vice-Principal Olivia Tasher, Office Manager/Bookkeeper Linda Carter, our dedicated teachers, Mr. Freddy, Mr. Jason, Mr. Cruz, our incredible cooks, school warden, Kath and Cullen Walker and our unbelievably dedicated VOLUNTEERS ensure that everything runs smoothly. We are especially blessed to have Deacon Jan Lamb at the School until June - many, many thanks to her for all her hard work!
I am happy to report that Vernon has gotten good reports from all his doctors and medical tests. A few medications have been added to his daily routine (to lower blood pressure and cholesterol) until he can lose about 20 pounds and allow his body to 're-set'. Seems like losing weight is the new cure all - ugh!
I continue to ask your prayers for the students and staff of Holy Cross Anglican School. I also continue to plead for your financial support. Vital services like the School Feeding Program, maintenance of the Computer Center, salaries for day and night time security, electricity, water and dozens of other things depend on you. I pray that you will help ensure that the good work begun at Holy Cross will continue long into the future. Many, many thanks and blessings, Francis