Grants and International Recognition

Hon. Minister Manuel Heredia Jr.  Donation of $2500 and backpacks.








Geotourism Challenge 2010 Places on the Edge: Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations Competition:  Ocean  Academy was selected as a best early-bird entry and won $500.  The $5000 grand prize judging was selected by online votes (unfortunately we did not win).  This competition aims to find innovative solutions for coastal, waterway, and island destinations that protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of local residents. Geotourism is defined as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture and the well-being of its residents."  Entries are judged on innnovation, social impact and sustainability.  You can read Ocean Academy's entry here.







Ross Sheppard Highschool Volunteers: Interact Club students from Edmonton, Alberta spent the week, March 24-28, 2010 volunteering on Caye Caulker.   They joined our high-school sports day competition, assisted with a weekend sports camp for primary school children, painted downstairs classrooms and offices at Ocean Academy, and did a beach cleanup with the mangrove restoration project.  The Ross Sheppard Interact club was the inspiration for Ocean Academy to form it's own Interact Club, and we were thrilled to welcome these students our school.  After volunteering on Caye Caulker, the group volunteered with Eden Primary school in Cayo on the mainland.


Holland College Volunteers Organize Island-Wide Sports Camp for Children:  2nd-year Sports and Leisure Management students from Prince Edward Island, Canada, spent the week March 23-28, 2010 volunteering on Caye Caulker.  They organized a weekend sports camp for over 50 primary-school children and helped paint downstairs classrooms and offices at Ocean Academy.








Rotary Club of Spruce Grove, Alberta, supports Classroom Expansion Project 2010:  Rotary members generously donated $500 funds. Sharmayne Seal, of Rotary Belize Literacy Project, travelled to Caye Caulker to present the donation, and added her own matching contribution.



Generous Donation for Upstairs Expansion Project (March 2010):  Ocean Academy was designed for upstairs clasrooms, and a recent transfer of 13 new students at Christmas, and a large Std. VI entry class next year, has made this expansion a prioirty project.  We are very grateful and excited to receive our first donation towards the expansion project. A humble donor pledged $10,000USD and requested anonymity.  The donation is a great first step towards our fundraising goal of $55,000USD to build the 3 upstairs classrooms.





Generous Donation for New Computers (March 2010): Kriss Keel encouraged students to study hard, and learn new technologies, when she made a donation to Ocean Academy on behalf of the Church of the Incarnation, Great Falls, Montana, USA.  Church members fundraised $3485USD for the purchase of new computers.





St. Paul's Episcopal Outreach and  UN Millenium Development Goals Committees (Waco, Texas): $2500USD granted in September 2009.


Edmonton Centennial Interact Club (Alberta, Canada):  $4000 Cdn. granted in August 2009 for Ocean Academy's new computer lab.  The students of Ross Sheppard Senior Secondary are currently planning a 2010 service-learning trip to Belize.



Caye Caulker Businesses Tuition ScholarshipsCaye Caulker businesses collectively pledged annual tuition scholarships totaling $1400USD for Ocean Academy students, starting September 2009.



International Recognition

  • Baylor University's Education Conference, November 6-8, 2009: Heidi is invited as a guest panelist to  speak about the role of education in development work and poverty alleviation, based on her experiences co-founding Ocean Academy.  University students from across the USA will attend the summit in Waco, Texas.


  • University of Alberta, Canada, Alumni Magazine Article: Joni was featured on the front page of the University of Alberta's July 2009 e-trail alumni news, as co-founder of Ocean Academy. Joni earned a Master's Degree in Educational Policy Studies (2005) with a specialization in TCI (theoretical, cultural and international education).




International Partnerships


  • "Social Change Through Peace Games" International Partnership: Ocean Academy has been selcted by the Belize Deputy Minister of Education to collaborate with Northeastern University's initiative called "Social Change Through Peace Games".  The organization Peacework is coordinating the project.  A volunteer will arrive on Caye Caulker in January 2009 to lead a program that aims to address issues such as self-esteem, relationship building, personal change, leadership and individual rights.  A second intern arrived September 2010.


  •  Rotary District 5370 in Alberta, Canada:  Rotary's Belize Literacy Project visited our campus in August for a professional development session.  Rotary's International Governor 2010-2011 is advising the Belize Ministry of Education to study Ocean Academy's model of excellent pedagogy, solid professionalism, and innovative strategies for youth engagement. 


  •  Your Story My Story rural literacy project, Williamstown, MA, USA.  Caye Caulker students are paired with American students and exchange penpal-style emails, except that each question must be answered with a photo.  The American participants, led by Ms. Sue O'Riley, visited Caye Caulker in June 2009.  The final projects will be displayed in libraries in both countries, and students are fundraising to fly the Belizean participants to the USA for the exhibition.


International Service-Learning Trips



  • University of Michigan: Students entering the MBA program visited Ocean Academy  to help paint classrooms and construct donation boxes (June 2009).





  • Tusculum College: Computer Science Professor Treyton Williams of Tusculum College, Tennessee, visited Ocean Academy for a week.  Assisted by Jennifer, the professor worked on the laptop collection and technology systems.  Professor Williams also filmed student stories and interviewed co-founders, with the goal of producing DVDs that tell the story of Ocean Academy and inspiring group fundraising (May 2009).





  • University of Vermont/Galen University: Volunteers worked alongside Ocean Academy students to paint classrooms, lay the foundation for our Form III classroom, and participate in friendship cross-cultural activities like windsurfing, fishing, volleyball and basketball (April 2009).





  • Sewickley Academy, Pennsylvania: Ocean Academy students formed friendships with visiting middle-schoolers.  The students painted classroom interiors and joined Ocean Academy's P.E. classes for friendly games of basketball and beach volleyball (March 2009).