Holy Cross survived Tropical Storm Alex

Dear Friends, I'm happy to report that Holy Cross survived the first serious storm of the season, Alex, and is safe and sound - thanks be to God!! We're always a little on edge from June to November and certainly appreciate your prayers. As we heave a sigh of relief, we're back to work with two volunteer teams (St. Paul's School for Girls in Baltimore, MD and St. Dustan's in Dover, MA) continuing work on the new bathroom facility. We look forward to a busy and productive summer with mission groups, Vacation Bible Schools and plenty of construction!!

Please take a few minutes to read the following expert from an article written by Reid Joyner (Diocese of North Carolina). He visited Belize in May as part of Episcopal Relief and Development's annual meeting. We were fortunate that he spent some time at Holy Cross. Many thanks to Reid and all of you who share the amazing story of Holy Cross Anglican School. Blessings, Francis

Episcopal Relief & Development in Belize

Episcopal Relief & Development’s network of diocesan and seminarian coordinators meets each spring to reconnect, share best practices and hear the latest about ERD’s programs and plans. For the first time our annual meeting, held over the Memorial Day weekend, occurred outside our borders in Belize City, Belize. The location was chosen because the Belizean diocese, supported by Episcopal Relief & Development, could “provide Diocesan Coordinators an opportunity to witness our partners’ life-saving work firsthand and to help them tell the story of our work more effectively,” in the words of Network Coordinator Luke Fodor. Field trips were planned to allow us to see the ERD-provided HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum in elementary schools and to see recipients of ERD-funded microfinance loans.

Parishes in our diocese have participated for years in mission trips to Belize and in recent years to Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro. That connection led to my having the good fortune of being invited by the Rev. Jan Lamb, Deacon at St. Luke’s, Durham, and Holy Cross volunteer, to visit the school as her guest prior to the annual meeting’s start.

And what good fortune it was. Holy Cross, located in San Mateo, an underserved area of San Pedro, is an elementary school educating just over 500 children from Kindergarten through 8th grade. During my short visit I sat in on 2nd grade and 6th grade classes where I saw evidence of the HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum and listened to oral testing for end-of-term exams; I experienced a donated computer lab; I walked to school with a beautiful 2nd grader named Aaliyah; I ate lunch with the children and sat in on their weekly chapel services (separate services for the youngest, middle and oldest children); and I walked with Jan through the San Mateo neighborhood.

What I found was a school of happy children delighted to be in the school environment and eager to learn in spite of their challenging circumstances. Teachers were effective and students knew their subject matter. Younger students were variously attentive and older students were quickly responsive to the oral testing. In a positive way, the Holy Cross visit gave me a foundation against which to compare the field trip schools. A visit to the Holy Cross School web site will be time well spent.

Perpetual Scholarship Fund

I’m Jimmy Hemphill. I’m coordinating an effort to write an article about Holy Cross School for the “Texas Episcopalian” (a monthly newspaper that goes to most of the homes in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas – approximately 85,000 members and 158 congregations).

We are writing this article to help raise money for high school scholarships for Holy Cross graduates. Our church’s youth group successfully raised enough money to provide a scholarship for every qualified 2010 Holy Cross graduating student (high school costs about $500/year per student). We are also funding more than 10 students who are currently attending high school. We are going to need help from other churches to develop a donor base that will perpetually fund scholarships.

My wife, an IPPY award winning poet, is writing the article. I’m trying to put together an electronic presentation, comprised of still images and commentary, to supplement the article.

While we were in Belize to support the Holy Cross graduation and award the scholarships, we interviewed scholarship winners. We also interviewed the mother of the student my family supports, and we visited her family at their home in the swamp that surrounds Holy Cross. We have more than 6 hours of audio tape, including interviews with the Wilsons.

This is my third trip to Holy Cross and we have lots of still images. I’m attaching a few thumbnails of the photos we took this year before the graduation – I haven’t had time to start editing the pictures we took at the graduation.

If we could include some high quality video footage taken at Holy Cross, we could significantly improve our presentation and our ability to generate scholarships. If anyone has any to share please contact me at bookworm@kingwoodcable[dot]com

Obviously we will only use the footage to generate scholarships.

I would be delighted to talk to you about our project, or provide any other information you might need.

We can make a difference at Holy Cross,
Jimmy Hemphill

Holy Cross Graduation 2010

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!On Sunday, June 20, thirty-five students graduated from Holy Cross Anglican Primary School. Mrs. Carol Babb, former General Manager of the Anglican Schools and currently the Deputy Chief Education Officer, was the guest speaker. Mrs. Babb told the graduates that there were great possibilities for their future, but they must remember to be self-disciplined and determined, and they would have to make sacrifices in order to excel. Mrs. Grace Williams, Principal, and Mrs. Francis Wilson, Local Manager, also had praise for the graduates and words of wisdom. Rosa Lopez (Valedictorian), Zoila Canek and Ethel Villatoro were the top students in the 2009-2010 Standard VI class.

Twenty-five students received scholarships that will allow them to attend high school. The majority of the scholarships were funded through a very generous donation from Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Kingwood, Texas. Representatives from the church were on hand to meet the graduates and to present the scholarships.

The graduation ceremony included tributes to the Class of 2010 in poetry, songs and dance by the children in each division of Holy Cross. The traditional Torch Passing ceremony was also a part of the day. Prizes, a backpack full of school supplies, were awarded to the top two students in each class. At the conclusion of the festivities, children and their families were treated to cupcakes, also provided by the good folks from Good Shepherd Church.

Visit from Bob the Parrot and Joey Stevens

Dear Friends of Holy Cross, Wild and crazy things are always happening here at Holy Cross - smile! Today we had a surprise visit from Weatherman Joey Stevens from WSEE in Erie, Pennsylvania and his side kick, Bob the Parrott. For those of you who are not in Belize, WSEE does "One Caribbean Weather" everyday. Joey and the Parrott are in San Pedro as part of the San Pedro Lobsterfest celebration. Check out the WSEE website later this week - should be on there soon. Their weather runs all day, lots of chances to see the show. Needless to say, the children were quite excited and welcomed the break from exams and the end of year wind down.

In addition to welcoming Joey and the Parrott, we also rejoiced as volunteer mission teams have recently come to work at the school (thanks be to God!). Folks from Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas and the youth group from St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Durham, North Carolina have shared their time, talents and treasure and helped make Holy Cross an even better place to learn and grow. Many thanks!

Our Standard VI students are currently preparing for graduation which will be held this Sunday (June 20th) at 1pm at the Nunez Auditorium at San Pedro High School. We are so proud of our 36 soon-to-be graduates!! We are also overwhelmed with gratitude to the many folks at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Kingwood, Texas who have agreed to provide the financial assistance for 24 of our graduates to go onto high school - wow!!!

And finally an update on our Corporate Matching fundraiser....... as of today, 35 donors have contributed $14,644.75 to the project which will support the Holy Cross Feeding Program and construction projects!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE make your donation today,

EITHER on line at www.hcefoundation.org

OR via check made payable to Holy Cross Education Foundation sent to: Holy Cross Education Foundation; 7550 Corporate Way; Eden, MN 55436-2045

Thanks to several generous corporate donors, your contribution will be DOUBLED and many children will have a better chance to grow up healthy and well educated. Many thanks for your prayers and your support. May you be blessed as you are a blessing to Holy Cross Anglican School!! In Christ, Francis
Support Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro www.holycrossbelize.org

Baptism and Confirmation

Dear Friends, Holy Cross Anglican School was honored by a visit from the Rt. Rev. Philip Wright on Sunday, May 30th. Bishop Wright was here to administer the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Eleven children were Baptized, nine students were Confirmed (our FIRST Confirmation class!!) and participated in their first Eucharist. Please see photos.

The entire Holy Cross family rejoices with the eleven children who were Baptized. We are also extremely proud of the students in our first Confirmation class. The Confirmands were prepared to receive the Sacrament by School Principal, Mrs. Grace Williams and Deacon Jan Lamb from St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Durham, NC who has been volunteering as school Chaplain since January.

Bishop Wright presented copies of the New Testament (donated by friends like you) to each family who had a child Baptized. In addition he gave Study Bibles ( thanks again to our friends!) and wooden Crosses to each student who was Confirmed. What an incredibly special day!!!


Great news...we received a commitment of an additional $5,000 to be used as part of the corporate matching funds. Many thanks to our good friend in California!!! That brings our Corporate Match total to $20,000.00 USD!!!!!! PLEASE take this opportunity to make a donation to Holy Cross Anglican School knowing that your contribution will be DOUBLED!!! We are hoping and praying to raise $40,000 in desperately needed funds to help support our Feeding Program and building program.

All donations sent to the Holy Cross Education Foundation by credit card or check receive an equal amount from the Corporate Matching Program. All money will be given to Holy Cross to cover the school’s Feeding Program, operational and construction expenses.

The children of Holy Cross really need your help! We are committed to continue the Feeding Program which provides a healthy breakfast, mid-morning fresh fruit snack, nourishing lunch, purified water and daily vitamins to over 500 children every day who might otherwise be malnourished. The kitchen staff does a wonderful job keeping costs low but we still spend $1US per child per day. That adds up to a lot of money!!! Holy Cross needs every penny of that potential $40,000 (and tons more!) to remain the state-of-the art educational facility you helped to create. Without your contributions, we cannot be supportive of our children who are hungry, in need of uniforms, shoes, school supplies or sick. Please don't let us down. Tax deductible contributions can be sent to:

Holy Cross Education Foundation
7550 Corporate Way
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

OR, made via credit card on the Foundation's web site: www.hcefoundation.org For additional information, please feel free to contact the Chair of the Foundation Board: Brian Ostenso at bostenso@aol[dot]com

MORE GOOD NEWS: The results of the National Exam for Standard VI students (PSE) are in. I'm thrilled to report that 30 of our 37 Standard VI students passed the exam and several came within a point or two of passing. We are overjoyed with our passing rate of 81% - a great average!! Of course we always aim for 100% but several of these children came to Holy Cross with no knowledge of English - quite a hurtle to overcome in an English speaking country. Congratulations to teacher, Mrs. Joy Elliott and the many volunteers who helped tutor these young folks.

STATE-OF-THE-ART BATHROOM FACILITY: Construction continues on our new bathroom complex. (Please see photo). We are counting the days until 26 toilets and 2 large trough urinals are ready for action. Many thanks to the Episcopal Church Women for their generous grant which provided the money to get this project underway. And, a huge thank you to the many volunteers who have worked and continue to work in the hot Belizean sun to make this incredibly needed facility a reality. When completed, Holy Cross will have the most environmental friendly bathrooms in the country. We are thrilled to be ecologically sound and to get rid of the huge lines at potty break - smile.

Registration is well underway for the next school year. Once again it looks like we'll have a 'full house' and be forced to turn children away. That is the hardest thing in the world to do. With your help and continued support we hope to soon have the money needed to buy land fill. Once we can fill more of the property we can look to building a much needed pre-school and additional classrooms along with a playground...Church....art and science classrooms....and...and... The dreams for Holy Cross continue to grow. Please join in helping make them come true!!! Many thanks and blessings, Francis

Support Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro www.holycrossbelize.org

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