On Thursday June 17, Belize Friends School was able to host a small, in-person graduation ceremony while still complying with the Covid-19 public health directives for Belize.
Six students graduated from the special Belize Friends School program, which is a small remedial alternative school for at-risk inner-city youth who have been unable to succeed in a traditional classroom setting. The school has been operating by remote learning since the middle of March. Since our students are among the most disadvantaged people in Belize, this involved loaning each student a smart phone with cellular data so that they could access the lessons being posted by their teachers.
FUM Belize Director Nikki Holland writes:
Six Belize Friends students have graduated! They have run the race! They have crossed the finish line! These determined kids completed their course work in their homes once school closed in March for the COVID-19 closures (the closures also canceled the Primary School Exams for this year). They have been accepted into various high schools or decided their career course. They came to graduation with their loved ones and listened to the staff tell them how proud we are and how much we love them. Some students gave speeches, too, in which they shared their experiences, gratitude, and hopes. They received graduation presents and awards and the certificates that they earned. Criston White was our Valedictorian. Elijah Buller was awarded a scholarship to attend high school.
This year has been really difficult in many ways. But through it all, our students have displayed courage, resilience, and determination. I have seen them improve their academic standing, become more authentic to their true selves, resist incredible pressures, take leadership, and show great kindness to me and to each other. I am super proud of them, and I can’t wait to hear about all the ways they will bring more beauty and joy into this world.
We praise God that this rapidly-deployed experiment in technology assistance within an impoverished setting has proven so successful, and that six of our students have graduated!