Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ocean Academy hosts annual Ubuntu open day and honors mentors


The Ocean Academy (OA), hosted their third annual ‘Ubuntu’ open day on Thursday, February 15th at the Palapa Gardens in Caye Caulker. Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ocean Academy embraced the word as symbolizing that OA exists thanks to the continued support of the community. The event showcased multiple booths featuring the many activities the high school offers to their students, including arts, music, culinary arts, electrical and even karate. The activity also served to recognize several mentors, who with their guidance have helped the students to explore their interests and talents.
The all-day event was open to the general public who got an insight on the diversity of the school’s curriculum. Primary school students also had the opportunity to visit the different booths and learn what each had to offer. Speaking with OA Principal Heidi Curry, she explains the event showcases the students’ entrepreneurship and apprenticeship ideas; a reflection of that particular student’s passion. “We let the students choose what booth they want to participate in, so they enjoy and share it with everyone,” said Curry. “Our view of education is to be mindful, positive, learn to be passionate by experiencing what they like and then figure out how to create a legacy with that passion.”
Curry stated that their partnership with mentors from the local business community has significantly helped the students to explore their passion. “Mentors come from different fields, including the traffic department, doctors, scientists, tourism or cosmetology. This activity helps to create self-awareness in the students,” she said. “For example, if a student likes math, then maybe they can have a mentor who is an engineer or a pilot and see all the possibilities they can achieve by using math or any subject of their choice.” At the event, many students showcased their devotion to cosmetology, electricity, music, martial arts among other subjects. Curry added that the school is where it is at this moment thanks to the partnership with the community via the mentorship program.
Later in the day in a short ceremony, several mentors were honored with a certificate of appreciation presented to them by the student they have been mentoring. The mentors were thanked and commended for giving some of their valuable time in helping and inspiring the students. It was also mentioned that many students stay in school because of the mentorship program at OA.

Caye Caulker Chairwoman, Enelda Rosado, was present during the ceremony and commended the school for all the work they have been doing in with the community. “I must applaud the Ocean Academy and the business community for the support they offer to the students,” said Rosado. “Our students are very talented and today they are here showcasing their passions and they could not do it without your support.” After the ceremony, mentors and students mingled while others visited the different booths admiring the projects from the students.
This interactive community event started in 2016 after OA students won a high school innovation challenge competition in which they introduced the significant role of mentorship. The educational competition was held in Belize City where OA competed against 17 other high schools from Belize. They swayed the judges with their creative solutions to enhance the education system and took home the first place. The annual event was then created to showcase what the mentorship system can do and to honor those who give some of their time to guide and support students.

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