Some really great students attend Ocean Academy. March is Women's Month in Belize, so this report's focus in going to be on the amazing girls!
Adaly, Form 2 student, is a change maker. She is passionate about protecting Antillean Manatees and this motivated her to create a youth Manatee Club at Ocean Academy. Adaly won the National Youth Award for Environmentalism this year.
Annabella and Mathew, Form 3, were selected as two of nine students to represent Belize at a three-week Leadership Camp at Georgetown University in the USA. This opportunity is called the Central American Youth Ambassador Program (CAYA) and our Ocean Acaemys students are currently in Washington D.C. with youth from other Central American nations. We are very proud of them and excited for their return so we can all share in the experience.
Belize is forming a National District Youth Council, and five Ocean Academy students....ALL GIRLS....got involved in the electorial process. Great civic involvement Kimberly, Adaly, Milvia, Lilian and Ariza.
Social studies classes are learning about Malala, a young activist from Pakistan who won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her passion for girls' right to education. Ocean Academy students are participating in the "Art and Social Change - Malala Challenge" project. Open the Door to Our Future is the title given to the artpiece created by Adaly, Lilian, Daya and Christopher. The student artists explain that "the flowers represent the growth of knowledge and the bloom of hope" and "a book represents knowledge" and their choice of an old door as their frame because "education is important and opens many doors and opportunities". Adaly shares that "I did the upper right, where lips are closed with a zipper and another set of lips are open. My contribution represents Malala's quote: "There is a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or stand up. When the whole world is silent, even one voice is heard".
Thank you for supporting all Ocean Academy students, boys and girls! The aerial photo of the "Caye Caulker Heart" was taken to represent Belize's love of the reef.. Human hearts were formed in each of Belize's districts, as part of an open "Love Letter to the Caribbean" organized by NGO Oceana. Ocean Academy students joined with community members one Tuesday afternoon to form the Caye Caulker heart pictured below, and we would like to include you in it too. We promise to stay more in touch, and send more "love letters" soon.
The OA SEaTIDE is our Ocean Academy Centre for Social Enterprise, Technology, Innovation, Development and Education. Our high-school students have created amazing projects and initiatives this school year, and taken leaps and bounds in learning. And they have been winning national and international awards!
Students won first place in North America and the Caribbean for their business plan entry to the School Enterprise Challenge. 1250 schools from 83 countries participated. Ocean Academy's business idea is called Fish with Purpose. Students plan to rent rods to visitors and share their fishing knowledge about the island's best spots. Profits support student school fees,pocket money and the school scholarship fund. Other social enterprises at Ocean Academy are Kayak, Bike and Dinner with Purpose, as well as our culinary herb sales.
To celebrate Women's Month, Ocean Academy organized a Technology for Women and Girls workshop event. Participants learned about Coding, Graphic Design software, 3-D Sketch Up Architectual Design and even ROV underwater robotics. A group of students is now experimenting with building their own ROV, with the guidance of three girls in the competitive Atlantis ROV Team from Whidbey Island, USA who are mentoring Ocean Academy's group.
Last week, professors and students from Georgia State University returned to Ocean Academy with their drones and ArcGIS software technology,and our students contributed to the ongoing marine debris mapping project.
Students are really excited about mobile apps. Earlier this year, they won "Most Innovation and Creative Project" in a national S.T.E.M. science fair, for creating a prototype of a mobile app that would track mangrove restoration planting projects. Last month, a team of students ages 13-17 won the Belize High School Innovation Challenge with their mobile app called "Hire Belize". The competition challenged students to come up with solutions to high youth unemployment. Hire Belize is moving from protoype to reality now, and contains youth profile pages with their skills or products for sale, so that potential employers or buyers can easily find and hire young people. Testimonials and a star-rating system will provide valuable feedback on each youth's job or product performance.
Development and Education
For Belize Reef Week, students who wrote winning essays on the theme "Belief in the Reef" won a trip to snorkel the Caye Caulker Reef.
Students learned a hands-on lesson, literally, about citizenship, by joining hands in solidarity with tour guides, tourists, community members and Village Council members as a human message about our desire to protect the Belizean Reef from potential contamination. The event was organized by Oceana in centres nationwide and called "Hands Across the Sand".
What next? Scholarship Awards Ceremony!
Graduation is on June 12th and the Scholarship Awards Ceremony is on June 13th. If you would like to contribute to the Ocean Academy Scholarship Fund, now is the perfect time! We are so proud of our students, and now, with your help we hope to help them finish off a great year with scholarships and financial assistance.
STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Ocean Academy students all learned how to Code in computer classes this year using the free website curriculum, Hour of Code. Ocean Academy is hosting a workshop in March as part of Belize's Women's Month that will expand our coding and graphic design classes to include primary-school girls and community women, and host a skype call and video conference for Ocean Academy students interested in learning how to build and use underwater robots (ROVs).
Marine Ecology Course
Ecology Project International hosted 13 Ocean Academy students, 3 teacher chaperones, and 6 Belize Scouts for an amazing four-day marine biology course on Calabash Caye in Belize's Turneffe Atoll. Students observed dolphin behaviours, dissected lionfish, studied the formation of atolls and coral reefs, conducted mini-research projects using the scientific method, learned about careers in the Coast Guard and in Marine Biology, and participated in leadership and teamwork activitites. Students earned a Bio-Scholar Certificate at the end of the course.
We are "wrapping the curriculum around each student" by arranging interviews and internships for students to explore career choices and interests. Students are learning Hopitality and Culinary Skills at Il Pelicano Cucina Italiana, marine biology surveys with the Belize Fisheries Department, construction management with Johnny Cantun Sr., electrical work with Cutty's Electrical, hotel management with Sea Dreams Hotel, dog care and humane education with Sandy's Dog Grooming, architecture and design with Wallace Engineering and much more.
We are thankful for our fun-loving students!
The t-shirts say it all :)
We are thankful for our international volunteers and community mentors!
Students are exploring career options and thus far have interviewed a doctor, dog groomer, tour guide, T.V. personality, civil engineer and a restauranteer. Volunteers have come to Ocean Academy this year to tutor Math, coach volleyball and yoga, teach portrait art and repair computers.
We are thankful for your continued support!
Mark December 2nd on your calendar. This is a great fundraising opportunity to match your donations dollar per dollar right here on Ocean Academy's GlobalGiving page. Ocean Academy was selected to participate in a Microsoft YouthSpark $350,000 Matching Funds Campaign because of our work with youth, entrepreneurship and technology education. For example, Ocean Academy students are learning Hour of Code and Adobe video editing in their computer classes, and are also creating their own mobile apps.
This is how the matching funds campaign works:
Thank you, as always, for your continued good wishes and financial support. We will send you a reminder report on December 1st about the Matching Funds campaign along with holiday photos.
December 2nd is the Matching Funds Donation Day
This is the day to have your donations matched dollar per dollar right here on Ocean Academy's GlobalGiving page. Ocean Academy was selected to participate in a Microsoft YouthSpark $350,000 Matching Funds Campaign in recognition of our work with youth, entrepreneurship and technology education.
2014 has been a great year and we hope you will help us celebrate the upcoming holidays with a donation on December 2nd.
December 6th is the Annual Student Talent Show
If you could come to Caye Caulker this weekend, Ocean Academy students would entertain you with dances, poems, drumming and games. We hope you are booking your flights to visit us in Belize, but in the meantime, here is our Tropical Santa photo to get you in the holiday mood :)
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