Dear Friends, The students and staff of Holy Cross Anglican School join me in wishing you a Blessed and Joyous Christmas Season and a Happy New Year! Your prayers, donations of school supplies and financial contributions have created Holy Cross and will help ensure that this ministry continues to grow and nurture the children of San Pedro throughout all of 2010. We often pray the words of St. Paul found in Philippians 1:6, “That the God who started this great work in you (Holy Cross Anglican School) would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.”
And speaking of 'great work', I wish each of you could have been with us for the Holy Cross Christmas Pageant held yesterday at the high school. Please enjoy the attached photos (thanks Cullen!) and try to imagine the excitement as hundreds of children sang like angels, danced with joy and joined in thanking their Heavenly Father for the precious gift of Jesus.
I'd like to share just one of the offerings - an original poem by Standard V sung to the "Twelve Days of Christmas" and dedicated to Holy Cross.....
On the first day of Christmas, Holy Cross gave to me, a scholarship to high school;
On the second day of Christmas, Holy Cross gave to me 2 glasses of milk;
........ 3 johnny cakes;
.........4 powder buns
Five plates of food!
........6 slices of melon;
........7 dentists drilling;
........9 computer lessons;
........10 doctors helping;
........11 teachers teaching;
........12 Christmas gifts!
I think their words say it all - I just wish you could have heard their sweet voices and seen their smiling faces!!
In this season of miracles we thank God for each of you, for the many blessings He has showered upon us all and for the ability he has given us to share with those in need. May your lives be filled to overflowing with God's love, peace and joy - this Sacred Season and throughout the coming year. In Christ, Francis
Please visit the School web site at www.holycrossbelize.org and the new Holy Cross Education Foundation site at www.hcefoundation.org
Tax deductable donations to Holy Cross may be made through:
Holy Cross Education Foundation
755 Corporate Way
Eden Prarie, Mn 55344
Labels: Special events
Please join in the fun of Holy Cross by making your contribution today!! Checks may be sent to:
Holy Cross Anglican School
San Pedro TownAmbergris Caye, Belize
And, please check out the new Holy Cross Foundation Board web site and the School web site. Many thanks for your prayers and continuing support. It truly takes all of us working together to make the miracle of Holy Cross a reality for 500+ children!!
Hard working staff at the Halloween Fair.....Mr. Freddy and Mr. Jason preparing the delicious bar-b-que, Vernon trying to maintain order at the Haunted House and me decorating trick or treat bags and handing out candy! You can see more Halloween on Julie's Volunteering in Belize part 2 blog.
Dear Friends of Holy Cross, I love sharing good news and we've been blessed with lots of wonderful happenings recently. No, we haven't been adopted by Oprah or Bill Gates so we still need your financial contributions! But, even in the midst of financial need, God continues to shower us with blessings - smile.
Harvest Sunday - Yesterday was our third Harvest Celebration and it was amazing! Over six hundred students and their families gathered at the San Pedro High School Nunez auditorium to worship and thank God for His many gifts. Harvest here in Belize is similar to Thanksgiving in the States - a time of giving thanks and sharing. We asked all our students to bring an item(s) for the school Feeding Program - the pictures tell the story. What an incredible outpouring of little bags of rice, flour and sugar; cans of evaporated milk; spaghetti noodles; salt; milk powder; tomato paste; boxes of macaroni, etc - wow! Each class presented a Harvest item....."Bringing in the Sheaves", "We Plow the Field and Scatter", "They Will Know We Are Christians", more songs and poems and tears in my eyes. The teachers did a beautiful job with decorations, Fr. Perez was able to come from Belize City to conduct the service (thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Leslie, General Manager of Anglican Schools), one mother donated a cake which raised $125US in a silent auction and God was mightily thanked!
Electric Bill was paid! Many thanks to the members of the Belize Mission Project for their wonderful financial donations which enabled the School to pay that hideous electric bill (over $2,000US). The lights will stay on - yea! For seventeen years, Dr. Frank Whipps has brought a group of dentists and support personnel to Belize. They staff free clinics all over the country, including here in San Pedro. Several years ago some of their members visited Holy Cross and informally 'adopted' the school as part of their outreach program. I was able to share dinner with these lovely folks from all across the US and gratefully received their contributions. Thank you Belize Mission Project!!! (If you are interested in additional information, please check out their web site at Belize Mission Project.
New Shoes! Thanks to FootLocker, the efforts of Aylson Kanning and the connections made by Belize Mission Project, Holy Cross received almost fifty pairs of beautiful new shoes! There will be lots of 'happy feet' in the school just as soon as we can distribute the shoes to those in need - four pairs have already found new homes - smile. The donation came at a perfect time as the weather has turned cool and rainy. Before school started we gave out over three hundred pairs of shoes so our supply was really low. Thank you FootLocker, Aylson and BMP!!!
Holy Cross Foundation Wed Page! Last year almost twenty volunteers who worked at Holy Cross from seven different States got together and formed a Foundation. The goal of the Foundation is to benefit Holy Cross Anglican School through increasing awareness, raising funds and seeking grants on behalf of the school. Several of these folks have been hard at work getting a web site going and it is now up!!! Check out this link which is open for tax deductible donations via credit card right now: Multiply Communications.
And, please check out the web page: Holy Cross Education Foundation. Many thanks to Brian, Tim, John and Pat!!
Cursillo! Many of you may be familiar with Cursillo (also known as Walk to Emmaus, Tres Dias, similar to Chiros and Happening) which is a Christ-centered, three day retreat. Here in Belize, the Anglican Diocese holds a Cursillo Weekend every other year. Just a few weeks ago twelve members of the school staff attended the Weekend. Vernon and I served on Team along with the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber. It was a glorious three days which nourished everyone's faith and brought us all closer to God and each other. I can see the wonderful effects of the Weekend already!
New Education Officer! San Pedro/Caye Caulker finally received our very own Education Officer, Ms. Candy Armstrong. She will be the liaison between all the local schools and the Ministry of Education and also serve as a valuable resource . With several public schools to choose from, where do you think she enrolled her three children?!? Holy Cross Anglican School is pleased (and very proud!) that she entrusted the education of her children to us!
Holy Cross placed 29th in the Nation! At a meeting on Friday with the District Education Officer, we learned that Holy Cross Anglican School placed 29th in the nation in overall scores on the mandatory Primary School Exams. This examination is given to all students at the end of Standard VI (eighth grade). There are 292 primary school in Belize so 29th is pretty good - especially when we take into account that we only had most of our students for one or two years. Yea, Holy Cross!
I do love sharing good news and you are the very folks who make the good news happen!! Please continue to uphold us in your prayers and send your much needed contribution to:
San Pedro Town
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Many thanks and blessings, Francis
Today Holy Cross Celebrated the donation of a new industrial stove with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by lunch prepared by Chef Victor Nal of Sunset Grill.
Preparing and serving breakfast a fruit snack and lunch daily for 500 kids is no small feat - even the busiest restaurant in town does not serve that many daily let alone 5 days a week. Holy Cross School and kitchen staff headed by Miss Rosalia is very grateful for Chef Victor's training help in the kitchen.
Chef Victor is a frequent volunteer with the Feeding Program at the School and was recently selected Belize Chef of the year for 2009.
The stove is a gift from Tony and Ginger Rogers of Texas who volunteered at Holy Cross this past summer. Ginger was helping with literacy and remedial reading and Tony with building. They asked the school what was needed most and they went back home and raised the money for an industrial stove.
Ginger and Tony got the stove got to Amarillo Texas to the Word at Work Ministry to Pastor Tim Tam. Transportation from Texas to San Pedro was generously provided by Belize Natural Energy Trust headquartered in Belmopan. Sterling Vorus of Island Ferry stepped up and voluntered to get the stove from Belize City to San Pedro.
Among the people who came out to celebrate were officials Sylvia Baumgart Laasner and Deborah Sewell from BNET were.
Miss Roselia and Chef Victor - Stove donated by Ginger and Tony Rogers
Labels: Special events
Dear Friends of Holy Cross, The Holy Cross Education Foundation has been established as a 501c3!!!!!!! Now you can make your TAX DEDUCTIBLE contributions to that organization.
Please send your check made payable to:
Holy Cross Education Foundation and mail to:
Holy Cross Educational Foundation7550 Corporate Way, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Your donation is tax deductible. The federal tax ID is 27-0626278.
Many, many thanks to Brian Ostenso and the folks at Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina, MN who labored long and hard to make this happen. Of course you can continue to send donations straight to Holy Cross Anglican School, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize. The only difference is that contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible.
Wow! School has started and 527 children are learning, playing, laughing and enjoying a nutritious feeding program here at Holy Cross. Only a few so far have been sent to the Office and we pray this trend will last throughout the year! As always we are counting on you, our friends and supporters, to make sure we can continue to offer the highest quality education program in the safest environment possible to the children of San Pedro.
Thanks be to God, hundreds of wonderful folks volunteered their time and talents here this summer. They painted (just about everything that didn’t move), installed insulation, built storm shutters, constructed a marvelous deck around the Upper Division, enlarged the Standard VI class to accommodate 39 (!) students, roofed an area adjacent to the cafeteria (thanks Tony!), repaired school furniture and organized lots of school supplies. In addition they held glorious, fun-filled, Christ-centered Vacation Bible Schools, conducted Literacy Programs (yea Ginger!) and offered swimming classes at the Tides. It was a very busy, enriching summer for our children. Thank you Volunteer Mission Teams. You helped keep our children safe and sound while preparing the school for this new year !!
We were also able, over the summer, to find sponsors for thirty-five of our graduates to attend high school. As always I was amazed at the kindness and generosity of the larger Holy Cross community. All twenty-one of our 2009 graduates who applied for scholarships received them, as did our 12 graduates from 2008 plus two graduates who wanted to go to night school. Thanks be to God these young folks are walking toward a brighter future everyday. In June 2010 we hope to graduate thirty-nine students from Standard VI. If you're interested in helping with a high school scholarship, please let me know. Cost per scholarship is $500US per student.
We have two exciting projects planned for the fall. The first is building and equipping our soon-to-be Holy Cross Preschool. We have been asked by the Ministry of Education to have the classrooms up and running as soon as possible – we’re praying by December. We plan to have morning and afternoon sessions that will serve approximately 50 children ages three and four from the San Mateo community. The need is great and we hope the resources will be available to get started. Our biggest concern is acquiring the necessary landfill, which is so expensive. Our ‘friendly’ developer to the north has consistently failed to honor his promises to assist in this effort, so we really need your prayers and financial support!
Our second project is the construction of a state-of-the art composting toilet system capable of meeting the needs of our students AND protecting the environment. Thanks be to God and the Episcopal Church Women, the school received a $41,000US United Thank Offering grant!!! Construction should start within the next few weeks – not a moment too soon. We have long lines at the bathrooms everyday and our holding tank has to be pumped out monthly - another $500US expense. It’s hard to imagine how excited we are about toilets - smile.
Holy Cross is blessed again this year that Principal Grace Williams returned. Mrs. Williams actually retired several years ago after thirty-nine years in education. Thank goodness she is delaying 'rocking on the porch' in favor of strengthening Holy Cross and mentoring staff and students. We also welcomed Ms. Olivia Tasher as Vice-Principal. Ms. Tasher has over twenty years experience in primary education and is already making wonderful contributions in the Infant Division. In addition ten of our returning teachers spent their summer vacations taking education classes offered by the University of Belize (in the Holy Cross Computer Center - yea!), and are so much better prepared and equipped to be in the classroom. Holy Cross Anglican School is definitely coming together - smile!!
Yes, we are definitely off to a great start, but we need your help to stay the course. I know September isn't the best time to be asking for financial support, but......
*we need to feed our children in September! At a cost of one dollar per day per student for breakfast with milk, mid-morning fruit snack, full lunch and purified water in every classroom that is $527US per day or $2,635 per week!!! Many of our children don't receive breakfast at home, rarely have fresh fruit or milk or a nutritious, well-balanced lunch. The parents who can afford to contribute to the Feeding Program do so with financial contributions, food or volunteering at the school. Hungry children cannot learn regardless of the quality of the teachers or the availability of school supplies. We need YOUR help to maintain the Feeding Program!
*we need to purchase textbooks in September! Although the Government of Belize provided most of our textbooks, we still need supplementary materials. Just last week the school spent almost $3,000US on Social Studies materials. And we continue to need basic reading resources. We need YOUR help to acquire essential books and materials!
*we need to pay our energy bills in September! In order to protect the integrity of the 40 computers were generously given, we must air condition the computer center. In order to safe guard the thousands of books volunteers loving brought down in their suitcases, we need to air condition the Library. Unfortunately, air conditioning is very expensive in San Pedro. Last month we paid $2,017US for the electric bill. We need YOUR help to maintain the Computer Center and Library!
*we need to pay our water bills in September! We've had an exceptionally dry summer with almost no rain. Usually we spend the summer praying we aren't hit by a hurricane or torrential rains; this summer we've been praying for rain. Our cistern (which supplies the school) ran empty in August and we had to fill up with town water. The school uses approximately 7,000 gallons of water a week as the kitchen staff washes tons of dishes. At a cost of $113.27 a week that's over $450 a month when we rely on Town water. We need YOUR help to make sure the kitchen runs smoothly and our little ones eat clean and healthy food off of clean and healthy dishes!
Simply put, the children of Holy Cross need your continuing support and assistance! Each of you has been an integral part of the miracle of Holy Cross. Through you, God has richly blessed this 'not so little any more' school. A firm foundation has been built which was no easy job in the middle of a swamp. Now I pray you will stand with us as we try to break the chains of poverty, abuse and ignorance. We need YOUR financial support and your prayers in September and October and November and.....
Please send checks made payable to 'Holy Cross Anglican School' to:
Holy Cross Anglican School
San Pedro Town
Ambergris Caye Belize
In closing we'd like to once again thank our Volunteer Mission Teams who were so incredible this summer. They include:
All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, TX
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina, MN
Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Kingwood, TX
Christ and Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg, VA
Anglican Diocese from Newfoundland, CAN
St. Simon's Anglican Church in Oakville, CAN
St. Paul's Episcopal School in Baltimore, MD
Eastern Shore Chapel in Virginia Beach, VA
Church of the Good Shepherd, Norfolk, VA
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, TX
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades, CA
Church of the Transfiguration in Aurora, CA
Kiwanis Club Young Professional Division in Newport News, VA
May God richly bless your willingness to share your time, talents and treasure with His less fortunate children in Belize. In Christ, Francis
In addition to that the Direct Abundance girls handed over $250 from the selling green beads with Alexis at lobsterfest block party. They also picked up a donation of 7 build a bears that made it to the Sunbreeze Hotel thanks to Mary Mooney who donated them and sent to TQ who got them to Jennifer in Houston to bring to us. Thanks also goes out to KC Jayhawks for their donation of a a digital camera - the Kinnon family for 6 big bottles of gummy bear vitamins as well as everyone who came out to enjoy french toast and hot buttered rum syrup for a good cause.