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Jun 26, 1998

Stella Maris hosts open day

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The final days of the school year are usually a time for reflection by both students and teachers on the successes and failures of the previous nine months. It is also a time to make plans for the long summer holiday. And while we regularly focus on the children from mainstream educational institutions, yesterday News Five’s Patrick Jones visited with some special boys and girls in Belize City.

For the students and teachers of Stella Maris School in Belize City, the last days of the school year were filled with fun, excitement and motivational activities. For the second year running, the Youth Department sponsored a two-day camp for the children as part of a summer long drive to provide meaningful ways for young people to express themselves.

Diane Hall, Senior Youth Development Officer

“It’s within our mission to work with young people regardless of discriminatory factors. So we decided we would work with the Stella Maris School and work with kids living under special circumstances. It’s to give the young people at the Stella Maris School a break from their regular routine of a classroom exercise, for them to exercise their creativity and their talent.”

Talent, which is very much alive, despite the fact that the over sixty boys and girls attend a special education institution. And their creativity shines through, in the art and craft pieces that were exhibited on the final day of the camp.

Eden Garnett, Student, Stella Maris

“Like we draw this out and then we shape it. Like we cut it out then after that when we done cut it out, them make we like paint it then when we done paint, like we sprinkle the glitters.”

Q: “Is it a lot of fun doing this?”

Eden Garnett

“Yes, I enjoy doing this. We enjoy the open day good, fu mek people could see wi art and craft.”

Joel Bishop, Student, Stella Maris

“Teacher give we the cloth and tell we put it together and we sew it and we left a piece open fu mek we put some sponge in it. We tear up the sponge and shove it in and when the sponge is in, we sew it up.”

According to the principal of the school, Eleanor Castillo, it is activities like this week’s that help to make learning easier for the special children in her care.

Eleanor Castillo, Principal, Stella Maris

“It boosts their morale. It lets them develop their self-confidence. They see that they can do something within a short period of time. It also shows the parents, the parents will be given the opportunity to come in to see what they have done over the past two days and over the year: some art and craft work and art work that they have done over the past school years. So it has been very helpful, very beneficial to the students dem.”

Apart from being helpful to the students, Castillo says special programs like the two-day camp also give parents and guardians the opportunity to better understand the needs of the nation’s special citizens.

Eleanor Castillo

“If they are given the opportunity to excel or to succeed they can do a lot of things. We have developed a lot of programs to work with the children to develop their skills, develop their attitudes, whatever it takes for them to be able to succeed. We’ve tried as much as possible to do that. They only need the teaching and they need a lot of motivation and a lot of love and they will succeed.”

Patrick Jones, for News Five.

Classes for Stella Maris School will resume at the end of August. The Youth Department’s series of summer activities continue next week in Belize City with camps for boys and girls to teach them how to play basketball, softball and volleyball.

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