Santa Visits Holy Cross

Santa distributes presents
Ask any child what the highlight of the year is and most likely they will tell you "CHRISTMAS!!" And this year was no exception, as thanks to the hard work of several very generous locals there were presets from Santa for each and every child at the school (and a few more curious visitors too).

Santa drove into the school at the head of a convoy of golf carts, accompanied by his army of elves. Tantalizing sacks of presents were unloaded, then one by one each class came to receive their presents from Santa. They were thrilled to each receive a present with their own name on it, individually wrapped and different in size and shape to the presents of everyone else.

Santa, who moonlights as an owner of a local bar (where else would Santa holiday but San Pedro??), did an amazing job of making each and every child feel special - big smiles, high fives, a quick hug and a big present. The children had so much fun. Santa was still holding strong after 420 kids - just desperate for a coffee!

Wandering through the classrooms was great fun after Santa had visited - the kids had unwrapped their dolls, trucks, activity books, balls and a myriad of other gifts. They also shared Christmas food together and enjoyed music and games. So much fun.

Christmas almost didn't happen, until an angel, in the form of the amazing Krista who owns a condo at Reef Village visited the school and started an amazing sequence of events. She heard of our need for Christmas gifts and was inspired. She started a toy drive within the local community and within a few short weeks had gathered together a present for each child - incredible. And, she had so much fun, she wants to do it a gain next year!

Krista is also does fundraising and has promised to support Holy Cross School as a beneficiary of the Nathan Yip Foundation - how exciting!

We'd also like to thank the many individuals who brought down Christmas gifts - your generosity is wonderful.

Santa talks to the class

Ms Krista enjoys a moment with Santa

Receiving gifts

Spiritual Fruit Ministries visit Holy Cross

Peter speaking to the senior students about the Jesus movie.

We were thrilled when Peter and Helen Wall from Spiritual Fruit Ministries Belize walked into our office asking to show an incredible video about Jesus. Over two days they showed the video to all of our senior classes. Here is their report. Thank you so much Peter and Helen.

We, Peter and Helen Wall from Spiritual Fruit Ministries Belize, were thrilled to be able to show the DVD "The Story of Jesus for Children" at Holy Cross Anglican School. We were impressed with the support and cooperation we received from Lydia Brown, the Vice Principal Olivia Tasher, the teachers and students of the school. The children were not only very polite but also totally absorbed in the topics of the DVD  - the miracles, parables of Jesus, His birth, death and resurrection.

Students were very receptive, sang songs enthusiastically and many spontaneously prayed the prayer out loud when Benjamin, a child in the movie, asked if children wanted to pray to receive Jesus in their heart and life. Most students made decisions to accept Jesus into their life as Lord and Saviour. When we returned after lunch many children welcomed us in the adjoining play area by swarming around us and hugging.

Lydia Brown, the volunteer coordinator, and the vice principal were especially helpful in organizing things with us and the teachers. After school on Wednesday we spent approximately 20 minutes with all of the teachers in the computer lab showing teachers the website and the lessons and resources available on the website

It was evident the need of many students who appreciated the lunch program and did not leave one drop or speck of food on their plates. Praise God for those who support this initiative.
One of the homes in San Mateo

 Wednesday,  December 8 at 8:30 am we showed the DVD to standard 3 and 4 in the cafeteria. Students were very receptive and again pretty well all accepted the invitation to accept Jesus.
 When Benjamin prayed the prayer children automatically prayed out loud. All invited Jesus into their heart and life wanting to be a better person. During the discussion following the DVD one of the girls stated: "Jesus  has given me a joy in my heart". This little girl and others had amazing smiles on their faces. Others also nodded in agreement. Praise God for his blessings and the love, joy and peace He bestows on us. In the afternoon we presented the DVD to a group of standard 6 students. They too were very receptive.
After school we spent approximately 20 minutes with teachers in the computer lab discussing the teaching resources and activities to follow-up the DVD. Two copies of the DVD were left at the school for teachers to use with the students.
Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity to share what Jesus has done for us.
Peter & Helen Wall

Nature Explorers Visit Holy Cross

The infant and middle school had so much fun this week when Amalia and her friend Emily from Nature Explorers International came to teach.

Nature Explores is a one week nature education week designed to introduce children to the natural world and through interest and excitement. You can find out more about them here.

Day one kicked off with with seeds, where the humble bean took center stage. Most of our kids eat beans every day of their life, but for the first time many realized there were actually baby bean plants inside.

Day two was invertebrates, with spiders, butterflies and starfish. Once again the kids simply loved doing the craft projects and many a butterfly and starfish was presented for inspection on the way home from school and seen all around town. There was a spider in a jar to be inspected with great interested and several kids came back the next day talking excitedly about the spiders they had seen at home. Even I was seeing more spiders than usual that day!

Day three was vertebrates and focused on sea turtles. Here children studied the "Sea Turtle Wheel of Trouble" and learned about the various threats sea turtles faced. They read a story about a sea turtle that felt sick after eating a plastic bag and many children said they would stop throwing bags in the water and tell their friends to stop too (a real issue here).

Day four looked at birds and included a field trip to the nearby swamp to observe the behaviors of birds - feeding, flying, flocking, preening and I cannot remember the rest. This time of year we see many migrating birds so the students had a lot to look at. Even pigeons on a roof top were suddenly transformed to fascinatingly interesting and drew shouts of excitement.

The last day was mammals and the students had a lot of fun learning all about monkeys and their important role in spreading seeds as well as making fun monkey masks. Kids had so much fun with the art and craft and talked about the masks all day. Some of the local kids not in school even followed Amalia and Emily home to ask to make masks!

The teachers also had a wonderful week with the guest teachers in the classroom. All enjoyed learning more about nature themselves and several even said they were inspired by the teaching techniques and look forward to incorporating them into their classrooms in the future.

So a huge thank you to Nature Explorers for including Holy Cross Anglican School on your schedule. We wish you all the best for the rest of your time in Belize. If you'd like to see more photos, you can find them here, with more stories here.

Know someone who does something similar - get them in touch with Holy Cross School!

Annual Boat Parade

San Pedro has many celebrations and parades with one of the most colorful being the annual lighted boat parade. This has been running for 6 years now and Holy Cross, through the enthusiasm of Vernon Wilson, has a history of doing well.

This year was no exception. Mr Freddy put all his creative talent into place, putting together a magnificent creation. The snowman even seemed to wave as the boat bobbed in the still waters.

The hard work paid off, and the school took the special award for the Religious category, winning the school $800BZ - well done!

Here's Mr Freddy as Santa and Mr Carlos Coba, our Std 6 teacher claiming the well earned award from the beautiful Mrs San Pedro.

Well done everyone!

St John's Church mucks in

Filling the playground
This week Holy Cross had the wonderful pleasure of hosting a small team of volunteers from St John's Episcopal Church in Lynchburg Virginia.

This team was a little different from our usual teams - they were one of our youngest groups, made up of a great group of 11 and 12 year olds accompanied by their parents and grandparents. Age didn't stop anyone as young and old alike pitched in to do whatever needed to be done.

The big job this week was continuing to expand the playground. Thanks to All Saints Forth Worth and the Universtiy of Sioux Falls we have a fantastic swing set, but to be fully used, the area must be filled with sand. Local sand diggers dug the sand from the lagoon (cold work this time of year), then our wonderful team spread it where it needed to go - how exciting to see the playground expanding! (We are still looking for donations for sand - do get in touch!)

Helping in Classes
The younger members of the team also spent some time with our Std III classes - much to the delight of the local children. Both American and Belizeans thoroughly enjoyed the interactions, learning a lot from each other. 

We had thought it might be a disruption, but istead the visitors were a great role model to the local kids on how to behave and how to turn out some great work. This was especially evident when the classes were preparing posters for World Aids Day.

Ann Vest, who headed up the team from St John's is a regular visitor to the school. Over the years she has brought out various grandchildren and their friends to spend time with them and also give them a great opportunity to briefly experience life in a different part of the world. What a great idea!

From everyone at Holy Cross, thank you so much for your generosity in time, spirit and donations to the children of Holy Cross.  You have been a blessing to us all.

The team in their favorite place - the tree in the front of the Hotel Del Rio.

Assisting in Ms Williams Std III class

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