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Jun 12, 2017

St. Matthew’s Government School Has New Building

Beyond the Horizon is implementing several projects across Belize valued at over ten million U.S. dollars. The projects include health facilities, as well as school buildings. One school to receive a new three classroom building is St Matthew Government School in St Matthew Village. Andrea Polanco was at today’s ribbon cutting ceremony and shares how the new school building will be used in September.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Saint Matthew Government School is the recipient of a brand new school building. It is expected that this new school building will be able to accommodate more new students when the new school year starts in September, as well as serve other functions for the school. The Principal received the keys today.

 

Michelle Murray Gordon

Michelle Murray Gordon, Principal, St. Matthew’s School

“We got three new classrooms; they are all on that same building. They are well aerated, comes with ceiling fans that are energy efficient with electricity, as well as last for a very long time. We intend to hold to hold at least thirty-three to thirty-five students in each.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What kind of a difference will it make in the students’ lives here?”

 

Michelle Murray Gordon

“It will make a huge difference in terms of allowing us to take in more students. We definitely have a demand to make space for more students. It will also help to provide rooms for storage in the trailer building that we used to use, as well as re-establish our library. We hope also to develop a resource room.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Is this something the school has needed for quite a while?”

 

Michelle Murray Gordon

“Yes ma’am. For the past two years we have been using a refurbished trailer building and it wasn’t enough to do all the things we needed to do; as mentioned in terms of library and students seated comfortably in their classrooms and so on.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What is the reaction of the students seeing that they get a brand new building?”

 

Michelle Murray Gordon

“They are very excited and asking, ‘Miss, who will go in there?’ and everybody is enthusiastic to see if they will be one of the students who will be seated in there.”

 

The building is gifted under the Beyond the Horizon Project. Since March, The U.S. Army South, along with the B.D.F., worked on the three class room school. These officers represent only a fraction of the rotation of officers from the U.S. Army South skilled in different areas of construction. It has been a mutually beneficial experience for those on the ground.

 

Sgt. First Class Isaias Diaz, Project Manager, St. Matthew’s School Project

“This is a sixty-four by twenty-seven feet, three room building. On the other side we did three latrines and a septic tank. As far as work, we were here for twelve weeks and we had new rotation coming in.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Officers with the U.S. Army worked on this, and of course you had B.D.F. working with you; talk to us about how that collaboration went?”

 

Isaias Diaz

Sgt. First Class Isaias Diaz

“The collaboration was great. There was no way we could have made this without the B.D.F. being here with us, working alongside. So, we learnt a lot from them and we made sure they learned from us in different method of construction. So, we are going back with a lot of knowledge as a far as construction.”

 

It is a part of a bigger initiative by the U.S. Government to offer humanitarian aid to Belize. While the U.S. Army South constructed the structure, other partners chipped in to assist Saint Matthew School.

 

Adrienne Galanek

Adrienne Galanek, Charge d’affaires, U.S. Embassy

“It is more than a building. It is really the future because the students of St Matthew Government School are the future of Belize. And it is each and every one of our duties to be good role models for the children and for the children to listen to their parents, their teachers, for guidance because I am certain that we have future scientists, future doctors, future nurses, future religious leaders, engineers, all around us and they are going to help us solve the problems and challenges of the future.  We are really lucky to have global aid here; the Church of Latter Day Saints – donating desks to the schools. So, our military colleagues of the U.S. and Belize, and also don’t forget about Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia – they partnered with us so that we didn’t only have military partnerships but also N.G.O.s. They are building the buildings and the NGOs are helping us to equip it.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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