Building a school roof in Belize (and having a blast!)

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Working with students & teachers from Davidson Day School in NC on a school project in Belize.

This week we worked with students at the Succotz school in Belize, learning about their culture while teaching them about ours. It was beautiful to see the students from Davidson Day connect with those from Belize and visa-versa. I think we succeeded in creating an equal exchange rather than “we are here to teach you” or “we are here to help you”. Our kids got as much or more out of it as did the Succotz students!

Here is a short video of the project of the project.

A heartfelt thank you to Round the World with Us donors who made the new library, roof and technology integration possible for the Succotz School, not bad for $5,000 and great partnerships with other schools and organizations!!

Creating a book connects kids with other cultures…and with their own past

Our students interviewed the students in Belize about their culture, but also sent them home with a list of questions for their grandparents about what the culture in Belize was like in the past and how it has changed. How many of us take the time to learn about these things from our own grandparents these days? Well, the kids at Davidson Day School will do that with their own grandparents as well. Then the kids from both countries will stay in touch via the web, and produce a book this year about their different cultures, past and present. The goal is to do several shared projects, and create a sustainable connection between the kids.

Integrating technology into education

Mr. Teul, Principal at the Succotz School is always looking for ways to support his own school and give teachers and students the tools they need. Through a partnership with Sacred Heart School in Belize, which will provide the technical expertise and support as well as teacher training, a Rotary Club in Canada, which provides funding, a local internet provider, a small grant ($360) from Round the World with Us for the wireless routers, and support from Davidson Day teacher Priscilla Saunders, who will keep the kids in NC and Belize sharing content, theSuccotz School will be able to integrate technology into their curriculum next school year! The school will have three wireless routers and 12 laptops. Enough for the 15 classes to have regular use of technology.

A new library!

I always try to tell people how easy it is to make a big difference in the lives of others. Davidson Day students proved that. They did a book drive and collected 1,200 books for the Succotz School. The books are appropriate for the pre-school to 8th grade students and will allow them to have their own library. They have a teacher who is trained in library management, who will be able to organize and put the books to good use with the students. Principal Teul also coordinated a community service project to set up the library space in the school. Thanks to our generous supporters, Round the World with Us was able to donate the money to ship the books to Belize. Now that's teamwork, and shows how easy it is to make a lasting difference.

No more rain inside the school!

The old roof was so bad it rained in the classroom

Community volunteers ripped off the old roof and constructed the new one...yes, we tried to help, but couldn't do the work nearly as fast :-)

a view of the new roof

So how can you put a new roof on their school without sending the message “we are better than you and you need our help”? THEY decide what they need and THEY do the work to make it happen. We bought the materials, but they definitely had ownership over the project. Jim Putz volunteered to be the contractor and he recruited all the community volunteers. In fact, Jim got his elementary school education at the Succotz School.

Here is a short video of the project of the project.

The video was created by Priscilla Saunders, a teacher from Davidson Day School, who acted as the lead coordinator of the project. (We'll be creating a longer, in-depth one soon about not just this project, but the advantages of service learning in general and the archaeological research and excavation conducted by the students.)

Time to Celebrate!

Parents and teachers cooked for the volunteers and celebrated the new roof...mmm chicken with rice and beans!

Making new friends

A rousing game of Red Rover!

...and of course...SOCCER!

Unearthing history!

Stay tuned for our next post where we'll show some of the things uncovered in an archaeological excavation done by the students from Davidson Day in conjunction with AFAR American Foreign Academic Research. The finds are going to change the history books as they relate to the ancient Maya of that area. Doug supervised the student archaeologist and loved every minute of the excavation in spite of the hot, sweaty days spent moving buckets of dirt around.

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 | Categories: AFAR, Archaeology, Belize, Education, Games Kids Play, ideas for educators, News, School roof and library Belize, sustainability, Traditions, Videos


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