Jamila Goes Back to High School
Let me introduce you to Edwin Francis Colon. He attends TCC, Toledo Community College. (In Belize, college is the equivalent to high school.) I spent a great deal of time talking to Francis; I wanted to find out what life is like for the high school students here.
Francis tells me that his school has many clubs, most of which are seeking to make positive change. He is currently the president of TCC Environmental Club, which has 62 members...and counting! TCC plants trees, and cleans up the community. Francis also manages the office of the Punta Gorda Conservation Committee, which helps develop tourism for the community.
TCC's campus has a lot of positive energy. Students come to school in uniform, ready to learn. Unlike most American classes, students don't change from room to room at the end of each period. Instead, the teachers rotate! The day I visited, Francis' class was studying geometry.
The students seemed to be enthusiastic about learning. I asked one student, Annette, what she like most about school: she said that there is great communication between teachers and students. I had already noticed that the teachers seem to have an excellent rapport with the students. When the lunch bell rang, students left campus to head home for some real cooking. No nasty cafeteria chow for them!
Many of the students I spoke with said that violence is non-existent at TCC, perhaps because TCC has a tough discipline code. If you get in trouble for any reason, you receive one demerit. After five demerits, you're put to work. How would you like to rake leaves or clean windows around school? (I think I'll pass!)
Sounds like a good system? But there must be problems, right? I spoke with one student who says students of one ethnicity discriminate against students of another. Belize is a country of many colors. Most students speak more than one language, in addition to English, languages like Spanish, Kechi, Maya, Creole, and Garifuna. Students group together in cliques according to their color or their native language.
Although many of the students have family in the United States, most of the students have not visited the country. Generously, they gave me their addresses for pen pals. If you are interested in making a new friend in Belize, please send me an email and I'll connect you!
Jamila - Solo and
in Central America!
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