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Jun 1, 2017

Frank Lizama’s Name Tied to Skills Training Center in Collet

For the past five years, we have shared with you many stories of the Skills Training Center in the Collet Division since it opened its doors. But on Wednesday, the center received its official name after a local face. Frank Lizama who operates his art business on Cemetery Road was bestowed with the honour of attaching his name to the skills center. Lizama is well-known within the Collet Division where he served as area representative and went on to be Mayor of Belize City. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was at the renaming ceremony and has this report.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“One of the things that should be readily apparent is that in renaming this place after such a distinguished icon of Belize City, we are hoping for a transformation and reenergized focus and purpose.”

 

Darrell Bradley

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The skills training centre on Magazine Road has been renamed “Frank A. Lizama O.B.E Training Center” named after the eighty-six-year-old sculptor. Frank Lizama’s story as a teacher and sculptor fits into the back story of this institution – and so his name is not only fitting, but should serve as an example to inspire the students who study here.

 

Darrell Bradley

“One of the things that you would have heard from Mr. Lizama is his commitment to entrepreneurship. And that is one thing that will always tie him to this space; that from this space people are empowered with practical skills to go out into the community and not beg for a job but be creators and self-starters. That was Frank Lizama and that is Frank Lizama; an individual who, for fifty years, has been a trail blazer in entrepreneurial skills, so that the people who now can pass through this institution can look at the name sake as a standard that has been raised up; as somebody they can look up to and emulate in his pattern for great service and dedication to business.”

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“As you look back on his story you will find that as a teacher and a tradesman, which was very important. Also, he was an entrepreneur – you have heard of him having his own business and taking up his skill and put it to good use to make sure that he could feed his family. This is exactly what we are trying to instill in these young people who come to study at this skills training center. So, I think he is the best person who we could have chosen to name the center after.”

 

Lizama, a former educator and politician having served as area representative of Collet Division and Mayor of Belize City in the 1980’s, says this recognition is an honor.

 

Frank Lizama

Frank Lizama, Former Belize City Mayor

“I am very honored for this to happen because sometimes I wonder all this sacrifice I have made what it will amount to? Like for instance, the days when I was a politician, I used to fight hard for this division, Collet Division. As a matter fact, it was a division that nobody wanted to run in. Nobody wanted Collet Division. I remember we used to play top tournament. We use to play marble tournament. We used to play bat and racket. We used to play hopscotch tournament. But I just got the children together and the parents must have seen something that I was doing and they voted for me when I asked them to lead the country.”

 

The Centre was opened in 2012 with the purpose of providing a space for skills training for youth between the ages of twelve and nineteen, as well as those who dropped out of school. Here the students train in barbering, sewing, IT repair and hospitality. Minister of Education Patrick Faber says the purpose of institutions like this one remain critical.

 

Patrick Faber

“As you know there are some students who don’t finish primary school; there are some who decide not to go on to high school and we would like people to know there is an option and this centre serves as one such offering of an option. There are people who come here for instance can learn, we have a very popular barbering programme – they can learn that trade here; so people can immediately open their shop once they go through that or they can go into homes and do that. They can do juice making. I have a bed sheet set at home that was given to me as a gift some years ago right from this centre that was made here. There are many wonderful skills. The signage that you see at the front is made by the students and the instructor here; paintings, craft work. There is a lot students can gain by coming to this center if they feel that they are not cut out for the main academic stream. They are able to learn a skill and then move on productively with that skill. But what we found is that many of the trainees who come here see it as a time to take outside of whatever they were endeavoring first and then use it as an opportunity. They are also taught skills training here. And then go to back – they go to the Gwen Liz evening program or the apprenticeship program that sees them move on in terms of their educational journey. So, we think that this is a very important piece of the entire puzzle.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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