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May 5, 2016

Outstanding Teachers Recognized for Academic Excellence

Eight educators were today recognized for their exceptional contributions to the academic field.  Teachers and school leaders were nominated in a number of categories from pre-primary to Special Education and Tertiary Level.  The nominees, as well as the winners descended on the Bliss this morning where the Ministry of Education paid tribute to their many achievements.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Outstanding educators at various academic levels across the country were honored today for conspicuously excellent performance in their classrooms.  Every year, the Ministry of Education formally recognizes teachers and school leaders in different categories.  To qualify, each nominee should have truly inspired students to want to be the best that they can be.  Dynamism and creativity in delivering lessons are also among the criteria that teachers need to meet in order to be short listed.  This morning, before dozens of colleagues, parents and students, tribute was paid to the awardees in their respective groups.


Sergio Cal, Muffles Junior College

Sergio Cal

“I thank God the almighty, for some reason but twenty-five years or more he has guided me into this profession.  So I thank him.  I also thank the people who endorsed me.  Thank you very much.  I thank my family.  I thank my institution MJC and also more importantly I thank my students because they are the ones that ultimately show you who is outstanding.  Thank you.”


A sixth form lecturer at Muffles Junior College for almost three decades, Sergio Cal has been selected as an Outstanding Tertiary Level Teacher.  He was nominated along with two other teachers from Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College and Ecumenical Junior College.


At the high school level, Odette Woodye-Palacio, of Sacred Heart College won for Outstanding Secondary Level Teacher.


Odette Woodye-Palacio

Odette Woodye-Palacio, Sacred Heart College

“We are the profession that upholds and that assists others like dentists, lawyers and doctors and so on.  So without teachers you wouldn’t have other careers.  We are the foundation of this nation, we set whatever it that goes on.  I want to thank my staff as well, Sacred Heart College, the administration, the staff, God and most of all my family for all the late nights up, the late work and coming home really late and not having the time for them as I do with my students and my school.  I must say thank you, it’s an honor.”


Perhaps the most important recognition in all of the categories for the Outstanding Teachers Awards is the achievement at the Primary Level.  That distinction goes to Andrea Guerra of Santa Elena Primary School.


Andrea Guerra, Santa Elena Primary School

Andrea Guerra

“I’m very determined and if I set my goal I make sure I reach it.  I always tell people about model the model, you know, showing the example and here in Santa Elena I have a lot of modelers, you know.  I look at a lot of teachers because for me I feel that it is a learning process, I do something in the classroom and I realize, mein maybe I should do this differently because they are not getting it, because not every day is a good day.  You have to be passionate about it.  You have to love them and you have to let them understand why they need to do it and then you have to let them know that all of us have obstacles in our way, we just have to overcome them.  All of us have hurdles, we just have to jump over them.”


Through the services that teachers provide, they play an integral part in molding the lives of each and every child, youth, or adult that is being taught, by extension shaping Belize as a nation.  Minister of Education, Patrick Faber:


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“It is we’re here to honor those who are nominated and those were successful in the process, there are many, many more outstanding teachers across our beautiful Belize.  The quotation that I shared in this story, “Tell us what makes for outstanding teachers that they are angels disguised as ordinary people and that beneath that disguise there is a teacher’s heart of service.”  I found some other interesting ideas online on what makes outstanding teachers.  I share these now because I think they resonate with the quotation and the story and perhaps because they help to make the link between what some might consider innate and un-teachable qualities and what might be acquired through professional development.”


The 2015-2016 Outstanding Teachers and School Leaders of the Year Award were held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts.


Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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