Projects, News, and Photos


Read posts by month (below) or by area of interest: Academics, Community Involvement, Conservation projects, Grants and International Recognition, Professional Development, Sports.  See photo collages by clicking the "photos" button. More photos are on the Ocean Academy Facebook page.


Youtube Video:  Graduates of the 2012 class talk with Danny Michel on Christmas Day about their Ocean Academy experience, and what they are doing now.





Youtube Video: Tour Ocean Academy's classrooms with Danny Michel, attend a senior science class lesson about making solar cookers, and meet the teachers and students.









Youtube Video Fly fishing P.E. Class: Students are learning the art of fly fishing and guiding in this P.E. elective at Ocean Academy. Going beyond paper and pencil to fly rod and line, Haywood Curry of Angler's Abroad is training the next generation of fly-fishing guides as well as teaching them about environmental conservation with catch-and-release.  Follow their progress on the class Facebook page.





Youtube Video: Hear students talk about their goals, and co-founder Heidi Curry talk about the inspiration to start Ocean Academy, in this short video filmed by volunteer Thiago Silva.







Thank you video.   Ocean Academy students want to express their sincere appreciation to all the donors, volunteers and supporters who have helped establish Ocean Academy.  We hope you enjoy hearing the students express in their own words what your support means to them.







Changemakers Geotourism Challenge: Read our project entry describing innovative environmental education and aquatic tourism programs. Our project won a $500 Early-bird prize, and was selected by judges to be one of 12 finalists (chosen out of 250 projects entered by 54 countries) vying for a competition prize determined by online votes.






September 2014 to present - click here

August 2014


Aquatic Tourism Program selected as a finalist for the prestigious Beyond Sport Awards.

Innovation Training and Competition to create Apps.  Form 2 and 4 students - Johnny and Buddy - were selected for two of only 45 student spots in a National Innovation and Technology Competition for Young Entrepreneurs.  The week-long training to create a computer app took place in Belize City, and was hosted by BrighLight Foundation and the Public Utilities Commission. 

Youth Leadership Conference. Form 2 student Annabella represented Caye Caulker at a National Youth Conference held in San Ignacio, Cayo.

Alumni Kyle participated in Grand Slam Fly-Fishing Tournament.  Kyle was the 2013 winner of the Belize Youth in Tourism Award from the Department of Youth Services.  He fished alongside mentor Mr. Haywood Curry of Angler's Abroad.





Welcome Miguel Tzub and Alfredo Sabido

Sarah Davies teaches Transition Summer Classes in English and Math


June 2014



Congratulations to our 2014 Graduates: Ashley, Cheyenne, Evelio, Elvis, Jacqueline, Javier, Jayani, Kenia, Kyle, Lidy, Jamal, Yuma.  We are very proud of each and every one of you, and wish you many more milestones and success stories in your lives.




Valedictorian Evelio Reyes; Salutatorian Yuma Michelus; Vote of Thanks Jamal Boiton.



Scholarship Awards Ceremony:  Congratulations to all student winners, and thank you to local business sponsors of tuition scholarships.







 Science Fair and Showcase. 



March 2014


Students paint Reef Week signs in their Creative Arts elective class with Ms. Tina.












International Women's Day in Belize.  Female students in Forms 3 and 4, accompanied by Teacher Liz and Volunteer Laisee, joined the 20,000 Strong March in Belize City.


March 2014


Georgia State University demonstrated how to use a drone for GIS mapping of marine debris.  Students learned to lay transects and collect data.










February 2014



Parent Workshop Series with our school counsellor Dr. Corinth Lewis have started.  Students benefit from a strong Ocean Academy family working together.  This month's workshop theme is How to Communicate with your Teenager.  Next month's workshop will address the topic "OA Parents Learning Together - Empowering our Teens".  Dr. Lewis earned her PhD from the University of Alberta in Educational Psychology, is President Emeritus of the University of Belize (and current adjunct lecturer) and an acclaimed poet and playwright. She is on campus at Ocean Academy's Thursdays and Fridays.














Form 4 Field Trip to 20th Annual Opportunities Fair in Belmopan.  Senior students met representatives from Junior Colleges ifrom Belize and the USA, learned about scholarships and student exchange programs.












Kayak Skills Clinic with guest instructor and senior guide Michael Morgan.

















Students and teachers eat fire and walk on broken glass!













Interact Club Valentine's Day Fundraiser
























Welcome Teacher Vlada Martinovsky























Ocean Guardian Partner Stevenson School, California.















Jackson Kayaks arrive!





















Teacher Liz appointed Co-ordinator of our After-School Tutoring Centre.













Alumni come back to talk with teachers on professional development day
























January 2014


Miami University of Ohio JMester



Rainy Days and Rainy months create swimming pool right at school steps!

































December 2014


Xmas Extravaganza.










William and Mary Students4Belize Christmas Camp.


First Aid Training




November 2013



Kyle wins National Youth in Tourism Award.  















Presentation by Department of Youth Services















October 2013



Farewell Ms. Yeseni, and best of luck at San Pedro High.




































Welcome Carlos Leal, Spanish teacher.



















Welcome Dr. Corinth Lewis, school counsellor and Life Skills teacher.  Dr. Lewis was educated in Belize City, earned her PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Alberta, Canada, and is an adjunct professor and president emeritus with the University of Belize.  She is also a renowned Belizean poet and author.  We are so pleased to welcome Dr. Lewis to Ocean Academy on Thursdays and Fridays.














Volunteers Sarah and Natalie lead engaging project-based computer classes.  Students created real-life projects that require computer skills - such as a smoothie business and researching world issues.  Sarah and Natalie are master teachers from the UK, and also led professional development sessions for Ocean Academy students.  After their experience in Belize, they headed to teach in Nepal! 


















September 2013


Lobster Fest Committee donates classroom fans.












Independence Day Classroom Celebrations: 2013 theme is Belize in You, Belize in Me, Land of the Free























Beach Clean-Up and participation in both National Service Day and the International Coastal Conservancy Beach Cleanup 2013.  In just one hour students collected 497 plastic bottles, 445 plastic bottle caps and 408 plastic bags.   See full tally results here.  Sadly, a few days after the Ocean Academy school effort a massive garbage patch of plastic pieces washed up on Caye Caulker shores.  Thankfully, the Village Council and community members organized a second cleanup that weekend.










Ocean Academy selected as a NOAA Ocean Guardian School Partner:  Ocean Academy students meet weekly with parent-volunteer Tony Aguilar to build a kayak entirely out of plastic bottles.  The goal is to educate our community about single-use marine debris issues and propose alternatives. We also intend to use the finished kayaks in our P.E. Kayak classes.  High-school students at California's Stevenson School are doing the same project and both groups are filming the kayak-building effort with the goal of making an educational presentation.  This video from Argentina and left-hand photo, are guiding our construction efforts. A big thank you to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration) for introducing our two Ocean Guardian schools and providing funding to make this project possible.









Shania Sanchez selected by Belize Tourism Board for two-year scholarship:  Congratulations to 2013 graduate Shania Sanchez for earning a two-year scholarship to study Tourism at the University of Belize.  Shania was an active member of the Female Leadership Community while a student at Ocean Academy, and spent her summer tutoring primary-school children.  We are very proud of you and wish you success in your tourism studies!












School presentation about HIV/AIDs by guest speakers from Belize City.







Form I class 






































Form II class 








































Form III class










































Form IV class 





























August 2013


School Beautification Project: Thank you to donors of paint and supplies: Brothers HabetBenny's, Caye Caulker Bakery and Bahia Convenience Store. How did we do it all in just three days?  See below!





20 students gave 198 service hours, and 10 family members volunteered 63 hours.









2 alumni returned to help (David and Elizabeth).  

5 community members (Neldy, Sally, Cammy, Pablo, Anna) and 3 travellers (Connie, Bill, Carol) volunteered. 






Check out the bubbly teachers' room!  Principal Hilda's office also got a facelift. 








July 2013


Yvon Noralez one of 25 students from 13 countries to win Adobe Creativity Scholarship administered by Institute of International Education. The Creativity Scholarship program provides financial support to students who hae demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, a strong creative portfolio and committment to pursuing a career in a creative field.  Yvon is interested in developing his talents in photography and graphic design.  Funded by the Creativity Scholarship, he will start sixth-form Fine Arts studies in the fall at St. John's Junior College.



Yvon was eligible for this full-scholarship opportunity because of his participation in the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) Taking IT Global program at Ocean Academy. AYV students learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and Essentials, and produce original projets in video, photography and other digital media categories, spotlighting issues important to them as Belizean youth. 


Yvon Noralez and Whitley Aguilar win National Awards.  The Belize Community Police "Do The Right Thing" program recognizes youth role models and leaders across Belize.  Yvon placed 4th nation-wide and received a computer and scholarship; Whitley placed 9th nation-wide and received a scholarship.  "It is heart warming to see young people being singled out and recognized for doing the right thing.  Too often our young people are spotlighted when they are on the wrong side of the law...The Do the Right Thing Program seeks to change that concept, and today, the spotlight is on these youths who have made their families, their schools, their communities and their country proud" (Commissioner Westby)



Lilly Alamina and Ashtasia Ovado are regional Do The Right Thing winners and received certificates and t-shirts.  We are very proud of all these Caye Caulker youth, and have many more worthy candidates to nominate for this program in the coming school year.




Scholarships, scholarships! Lilly Alamina and Evelio Reyes (renewed) earned Full Basket Belize Scholarships for one semester of tuition fees.  Kyra Jones's full scholarship was renewed by the Belize Hotel Association.  Congratulations all!


June 2013



Ocean Academy Graduating Class of 2013:  Ireni Alpuche, Elmir Arana, Monica Barrera, Michael Blease, Zeida Chan, Stephanie Chuc, Denzol Co, Idalia Delgado, Yvon Noralez and Shania Shanchez.  We are so proud of each and every one of these young men and women.


Guest speakers wished the graduates well and imparted words of advice and encouragement:  Principal Hilda Marin, Founder Heidi Curry, Board Member Ellen Armstrong and former teacher and sponsor, Garry Worger.  Musican Danny Michel graciously agreed to MC the ceremony.  Volunteers from Southern Hills Oklahoma Baptist Church provided a musical interlude, and presented several awards.


Graduates already have big plans for next year.  Nine are enrolled in sixth-form Jr. College studies at the University of Belize and also St. John's Jr. College, in fields as diverse as Fine Arts & Graphic Design, Business, and Tourism Studies.  More photos are on our school Facebook page. 




Valedictorian Michael Blease, Vote of Thanks Monica Barrera, Saludatorian Shania Shanchez





















May 2013


Jacqueline Riveroll on Belize National U-17 Football Team:  Two Caye Caulker girls were selected for the National U17 Football Team:  Jacqueline Riveroll (Ocean Academy Form III student) and Sophia Diego (former Ocean Academy student). They are the first island girls to reach this high level of athletic performance in football!  May 26 and June 2 the National U-17 team plays Guatemala.  We are rooting for you!





District Winner of Do The Right Thing Award:  Yvon Noralez, Form IV student, was recognized by the Community Police Unit for role-model behaviour and community involvement.   Yvon received a certificate, letter and t-shirt.  The Do the Right Thing program highlights teens doing positive things in the community.





National Winner of Essay Contest: Jamal Boiton, Form III student, won the Belize Income Tax Department's national essay contest.  Jamal's essay is entitled "Let's Be Responsible; Let's Pay Our Taxes; Let's Build Belize".  Well done!







Miss Lobster Fest contestants: Ocean Academy wishes good luck in the Miss Lobster Fest pageant to candidates Jacqueline Riveroll (Form III, left) Sasha Jimenez (Form II - centre) and Mercedes Requena (alumni 2012, right).  Caye Caulker Lobster Fest is June 28-30.





Science Fair: Naked Eggs?  Colour-changing milk? Clouds in bottles? These scientific wonders, and many more experiments, were on display at the annual Science Fair. Ocean Academy students led hands-on experiments and answered questions from children from the preschool and primary school, as well as community adult visitors and even tourists.  We posted all the photos on our School Facebook.

















Science Fair Posters: Interested in the actual science behind the fun of the science-fair experiments? We posted another photo album on our school Facebook page that contains the display posters that describe each experiment and explain how it works.















April 2013



Shark Expedition: Marine Biology students spent a Sunday afternoon learning first-hand how scientists conduct field research.  Dr. Rachel Graham leads the Belize Shark Project. She taught students how to use a GPS and depth sounder, collect data, bait a long-line and set-up an underwater camera. The group didn't catch any sharks to tag, but did swim with 21 Southern Sting Rays and 4 Nurse Sharks.
































Guest speaker Tierney Thys:  Dr. Thys visited science-class students and shared her very interesting research work with ocean sunfish (mola) as a National Geographic Explorer.  Tierney is a very engaging speaker, and shared her personal stories with students, including how important volunteer work can be in one's career path - she volunteered on a submarine design with Sylvia Earle.  She also showed students high-tech satellite tags used to track the mola's movements.  Dr. Thys will be back on Caye Caulker this July.








University of Belize visitors:  Dr. Arlenie Perez and her Natural Resource Management students visited Ocean Academy to learn more about our compost and gardening project.  The UB students also planted mangroves with Form II science-class students in the BTIA mini-reserve, and shared their knowledge with a short power point presentation.  Ocean Academy students were happy to meet University students interested in the same kind of environmental issues.


March 2013


National Science Fair Competition: Students Yuma, Kyle, Leivy and Ramiro (not pictured) represented Ocean Academy in a Caribbean-wide SAGICOR Visionaries Sustainable Solutions Science Fair. The team`s project focussed on the Compost & Gardening Project.  We are very proud of their efforts!  The Belizean winners were a team from Orange Walk with a great idea to grow coconuts on their campus and have students switch from soda pop to healthy coconut water. This team went on to win the Caribbean championship!






Guest Speakers on Climate Change:  Professors and graduate students from the University of Florida spoke with two science classes on the theme of climate change and how various disciplines are working together to learn more about the issue.  The professors represent different disciplines such as agronomy, leadership, fisheries, natural resource management and education. 











Field Trip to Women`s Month Symposium in Belize City: Girls in the Female Leadership Community club, with mentor Susanne Michelus, travelled to Belize City to attend an inspiring day of panel speakers.  The girls write in their FLC blog about the inspiring speakers and themes. The field trip was made possible with a grant from Full Basket Belize.








Women's Day: Social Studies Form I students researched inspirational Belizean and International women and then shared their findings.
















School Sports Day: Sack race, three-legged race, tug-o-war, sand art, waterjug fill race, water-balloon toss, slow-bicycle race and water dodgeball. Many more photos and video clips on Ocean Academy`s Facebook Page.



















































Thank you Ross Sheppard Centennial Interact Club: Our high-school friends from  Edmonton Alberta, Canada`s Centennial Interact Club held a silent auction fundraiser for Belize.  Principal Hilda Marin accepted a donation cheque on behalf of Ocean Academy students.  Centennial Interact students travel every other year to volunteer in Belize, and our Ocean Academy Interact club members are eager to welcome them back next year.









Milton Academy & Peacework: These hard-working highschoolers from Boston returned for a second year of service-learning work with Ocean Academy. They accomplished three major projects: 

1) Library - construction of three shelving units; sorting and entering books in an online database

2) Plant shade house construction - for use by the gardening club to house their plants and culinary herbs

3) Furniture repair - dozens of broken chairs and tables can now be used again in our classrooms











































Spanish Class Project: Form II students created their own cities with streets and amenities labelled in Spanish, in order to practice how to give street directions in Spanish.



















February 2013



Group hug:  Belizean and Canadian students created new friendships through the mentorship and playground games camp.









Teen Mentorship and Leadership Weekend Workshop:  13 Ocean Academy students earned certificates in Teen Mentorship from the Black Gold School District, Alberta, Canada and led engaging playground activities for primary-school children. Student Services teachers Sam Boss-Bischoff, Denise Harrison, and five of their students facilitated engaging discussions about peer mentorship strategies, characteristics of role models, communication skills, expressing encouragement and forms of diversity.




Ocean Academy's Interact (Community Volunteering Club) welcomes Canadian Rotarian:   Libby Weir (International Director oft the Jasper Rotary Club Alberta Canada)  presented Anisa Martinez (Ocean Academy Interact's International Director) with a lovely pin to commemorate the leadership  role of women in the Rotary movement.






Tourism Presentations in Form II Geography Class:  As part of their Tourism Unit, students hosted a mini Trade Show to market and promote Belize as a Tourist Destination. The class also welcomed two guest speakers: Mr. Efren Perez (Executive Director of the Belize Tourism Industry AsAssociation in Belize) and Mrs. Noeli Kuylen (Owner of Rainbow Grill & Bar).




Vocational Aquatic Tourism Program:  Fly Fishing class.  This group of talented students are not only having fun in P.E. (physical education class) they are also learning specialized skills that could place them in the elite rank of fly fishing guides in the island's tourism industry.  Like and follow them on Facebook.










Belize Shark Project:  Guest speaker Dr. Rachel Graham led an engaging session about sharks with the Ocean Academy Marine Biology class, followed by another activity session with the primary-school Environmental Club.  The younger children made Valentine's Day cards to their favourite shark!  The older students can't wait to go out on the water with Dr. Graham to help her tag sharks.









Interact Club raises money for book scholarship: Students raised over $100bz with a Valentine's Day bake sale to help a student who will enroll for their first year at Ocean Academy in September with textbook rentals. This volunteer club also made cards and cupcakes to say thank you to all their teachers, and volunteer elective and P.E. teachers.


January 2013



School Business Fair: Ocean Academy offers Entrepreneurship Classes in addition to Principles of Business and Accounting, and this Fair was the culminating class project.  Students learned to create a business plan, obtain start-up capital, market, and evaluate their profit margin.  At the Fair they also got to communicate with community members/potential clients. 



FLC New Year: The girls in the Female Leadership Community started the year with a Pay it Forward activity of compliments written on each girl's back.  After reading the positive comments, each girl pledged to love herself and pay it forward. To read the compliments and see more photos, click on the FLC blog.





Congratulations to teacher and life-long learner Noemi Zaiden:  While teaching English and Literature full-time this year, Mrs. Zaiden completed her Bachelor of Science in English Education degree (February 2013).  This month she graduated from the University of Belize summa cum laude.  Only five students were selected for this honour across all disciplines, and Mrs. Zaiden was the only one from the Faculty of Education. Congratulations!




Congratulations to teacher and life-long learner Thomas Blanco: While teaching Business and Accounting full-time,  Mr. Blanco also completed his Bachelor of Science Management Studies online from the University of the West Indies (September 2012).  Congratulations!







Thank you volunteer Christina Stone:  Christina was a well-liked and respected volunteer in first semester who tutored high school and primary-school students, led a dance class elective, co-ordinated beach cleanups, and helped with the Interact Volunteer Club. We hope you come back soon!









Christmas Camp with Students 4 Belize: William and Mary College and Ocean Academy students led a successful three-day Christmas camp for primary-school children.  This is Students 4 Belize's second volunteer trip to work with the youth of Caye Caulker. We're already looking forward to next year's camp.





December 2012


Saturday Work Party with Danny Michel: Scholarship students worked alongside Danny to repair broken furniture, repaint a classroom and fix electrical outlets.  More photos and stories can be found on Danny's Scholarship Fundraising website - click here.



An Amazing Holiday Gift Idea:  We have had some very kind and creative donors since 2008.  Some have requested tuition scholarship donations in lieu of birthday and wedding gifts. And now our new friend,  singer Brenley MacEachern, has donated $1000 to the scholarship fund as her family Christmas gift. She visited the school, met students, and sang with Danny Michel and alumni student Lilly Aldana.  Brenley wrote on Facebook "skip the mall, friends...make a donation instead".  Thank you so much Brenley, on behalf of the students...and Merry Christmas!








Christmas Extravaganza Games: The lollipop tree was very popular, as shown in this photo. Other daytime games  included Tambola, Balloon Dart Toss, Coin Toss, Fishing Pond, Wishing Well and Wheel of Fortune. Many more photos on the Ocean Academy Facebook Page.








Lobster Dinner for Scholarship Donors:  Donors who gave $100+ were treated to special seating at the evening Extravaganza talent show, and a lobster dinner.  PTA President Eva McFarlane and parents took the dinner idea and created a beautiful event, assisted by Heidi and Haywood Curry, Sea Dreams staff, student servers and many more.  Make your reservations for next December!




Santa and free balloons were popular














Fantastically talented night-time entertainment: Photo is guitar club mentored by Scotty Poock.   Students performed dances, songs, yoga-dance, game-shows and even a crazy gangan-style dance. Thank you to the wonderful guest MC and also student DJs.  More photos on Ocean Academy Facebook.












Staff Retreat  Thank you to Art Marin for towing the teachers to Bajo Caye .... in inner tubes!








Spotlight on Volunteer Vladimir Martinovsky:  We are so thankful Vlada joined our school family.  Before he even arrived, Vlada ran a 100km race to raise money for computers.  Vlada spent November helping students learn Adobe software, tutoring three boys afterschool, helping with the composting/gardening elective, fixing library shelves.  He extended his sabbatical a week to help students rehearse for the Christmas Show...and then joined them onstage! We miss you already. Check out Vlada's blog.






Results of November Girl Effect Challenge:  Sadly the FLC (Female Leadership Community club) was not selected as one of 12 projects for Nike 2013 Funding.  However, the FLC girls took advantage of this opportunity to read and learn about global girls' issues from the other projects entered in the challenge. Check out the FLC blog and read Kyra's thoughts about child brides in India.  See photos of bracelets that incorporate 7 life skill values.  Learn how Belizean girls define "respect".




Full Basket Belize Grant: This community grant will help the FLC girls buy more books, one computer, and travel to a March Women's Day event on the mainland. Full Basket Belize is an NGO funded entirely by donations from former Belize Peace Corps staff.  The FLC girls very much appreciate the support.



Amazing Alumni: Spotlight on Mercedes Requena: Our Valedictorian, grad 2011, is enrolled at Muffles College with plans to become an environmental lawyer.  She won post-secondary scholarships for excellence on the CXC national exams, and from the Du Di Rait Ting community policing programme. We're so proud!








Amazing Alumni: Spotlight on Lilly Aldana: Our Saludatorian, grad 2011, also won a post-secondary scholarship from Du Di Rait Ting.  Lilly is pursuing her dream as a musical artist.  She recently performed a song she wrote herself at the Christmas Extravaganza and also with adult musicians at a weekly Sports Bar jam (seen here with mentor Scott Poock).  We're so proud!






Skype Mentors at Auburn University: Ocean Academy Compost & Gardening club students are entering a Caribbean-wide Science Fair called SAGICOR Visionaries.   As part of the competition a mentor is assigned, and we were lucky to get Dr. Ken Thomas and his bio-systems engineering students at Auburn University in Florida.





Fly-fishing elective class: Aquatic Tourism P.E. is an innovative part of Ocean Academy's curriculum.  Check out the Fly-fishing Facebook page for more photos and stories.














November 2012


Group effort to get new computers on campus.  We desperately needed new computers.  Our lab was crashing and students were sharing keyboards to learn how to type.  Thank you to Vladimir Martinovsky for fundraising, Adobe Youth Voices grant contribution, Robert Moguel for volunteering his professional services as our customs broker, Jahmor Lopez from Ministry of Education, Rene Pennell of Ministry of Finance, Joshua Marin's Sassy Barge for donating transport to the island, and Principal Hilda Marin for transporting computers to school in her golf cart and Joni Valencia for coordinating the effort.



FLC (Female Leadership Community) needs your help to get a spot in The Girl Effect Challenge.  November is a competition month for  12 spots for a full year of fundraising for girls' empowerment projects.


This is the FLC's blog with the girls' poems, writings and photos. 



How to help: Make a $10 donation during November at this link.  The goal is to have the most unique donors and win a permanent spot, so please spread the word about the collective impact each donor's $10 will make.


Why the FLC wants to be part of The Girl Effect: Nike and Global Giving will continue to fundraise and share the donations between the 12 chosen projects.  Last year's 12 projects got $25,000usd each.  Our proposal is for computers, books, field trips to the city for March's Women's Month activities, and salary for a school counsellor.


Ocean Academy's Compost & Gardening Club is just one example of a student project ideal for "Adopt-A-School" status.  The students need help to rebuild their compost bins.   Click this link for more information. These photos illustrate the problem (open-pit village dump for both organic and inorganic waste) and the student-led solution (remove fruit and vegetable waste from the dump, and use for composting to grow and sell culinary herbs).



Interact Club of Ocean Academy:  This club focusses on community volunteering and "service above self".  A current project is that students are tutoring younger children at the primary school every other week.









Interact Club of Ocean Academy: The youth club is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Belize. Rotary Advisor David Heredia hosted a wonderful BBQ and new member induction ceremony this month.  The club membership has grown to 20 young people all keen to volunteer and make their community a better place for everyone.


Saturday Beach Clean-Up:  Three Ocean Academy students and volunteer Christina Stone joined the adult "Garbage Warriors" to clean up the island beaches. Well done!






Field Trip to Entrepreneurship Expo & Idea Lab Studios: The senior students in Form IV were excited to attend a nation-wide Entrepreneurship & Innovation Expo in Belize City, followed by a tour of Idea Lab Studios (advertising, marketing, website and graphic design, photography studio).  Thank you Caye Caulker Water Taxi for discounted fares,  Princess Hotel for discounted lunch buffet, Deanna Gomez of Belize Youth Business Trust,  Nicole Solano and staff at Idea Lab Studios.  Thank you to Ocean Academy chaperones: business teacher Thomas Blanco, volunteer Vladimir Martinovsky and administrator Joni Valencia.



October 2012


 100km UROC Run to Fundraise for Ocean Academy's Computer Lab: Vladimir Martinovsky will be volunteering at Ocean Academy during the month of November helping students create Adobe Youth Media Pieces.  When he learned the computer lab was short five computers and students had to share keyboards he decided to dedicate his 100km run effort to fundraising for new computers.  His goal is to raise $2000 by October 10th and he is already half-way there. You can follow his progress by clicking on the UROC race site - his race bib number is #128. You can hear Vlada talk about his fundraising goal and motivation in this short video clip.  You can read his blog and make a donation here.  Vlada has received tremendous support from Georgetown University where he works, and the Recreation Centre even hosted a fundraising spinning class.






Technology Grant from TakingITGlobal and Adobe Youth Voices. Ocean Academy was selected to participate in the Adobe Youth Voices project for the next three years.  Students will learn to use Adobe Photoshop and Essentials to create media pieces that express their views on issues and youth perspectives.  Teacher Tom Blanco and Administrator Joni Valencia successfully completed an online training course in the softwares, and volunteer Vladimir Martinovsky will guide students in producing their projects.  An exhibition of student work will be shared on the big screen at Ocean Academy's Christmas Extravaganza this December.



International Coastal Conservancy Beach Clean Up Day.  40 Ocean Academy students, parents and teachers joined the Garbage Warriors Club and children from the primary school to spend the day cleaning up trash from the island's beaches.  They collected 57 bags of trash off the beaches!  This is an annual event and data is collected to give a global picture of the world's marine trash pollution. 



September 2012




National Awards!


Female Leadership Community 2nd in category Power To Women: The Female Leadership Community is a group of Ocean Academy students who meet weekly to discuss issues such as dating and relationships, healthy lifestyles and career aspirations.  Club sponsor Susanne Michelus uses literature and photography to guide discussions.  


Compost & Gardening Club 1st in Youth Agriculture and Environmental categories: This group is mentored by Tom Egan and won awards at last year's ceremony as well.  Scraps are collected from restaurants to grow culinary herbs that are then sold in the community.  Student club members also conduct scientific investigations into the most efficient compost techniques for an island climate.





August 2012


Coral Health Investigation: Disney Amigos Por El Mundo and Ross Sheppard High School Green Club funded a snorkel trip to investigate coral health and how coral gardening might be implemented in the Caye Caulker marine areas.  In this photo, Mercedes Requena takes a GPS readings of the reef sites.  







New Campus Book Rental Store. This is a new initiative at Ocean Academy funded by the Centennial Interact Club from Alberta, Canada.  Our goal is to ensure that all students arrive on the first day of classes equipped with all their course textbooks.  It is expensive to take the water taxi to the city bookstore, books cost between $10-30USD, and sometimes the store runs out and there are no other suppliers.   With the donated funds we purchased all the First Form textbooks, and plan to add a grade each year until we have a full rental bookstore.  If students return the textbooks in good condition at the end of the year they will get a substantial credit towards renting books for the following year.  The Centennial Interact Club of highschool students in Alberta, Canada has been a partner with Ocean Academy since our school first opened. Thank you.






Library completely re-organized by dedicated volunteer.  We greatly value book donations at Ocean Academy but with limited space and no librarian on staff it was difficult to maintain the collection.  Volunteer Monika spent her summer cataloging and organizing the library.  Students can now easily find novels for their Reading Classes, and we have a great system for catologuing all new book donations. 




















Welcome back returning staff members Ms. Hilda Marin (Principal), Mr. Tom Blanco (Business and Accounting), Mrs. Sarah Requena (Science, Study Skills), Ms. Yeseni Torres (Spanish, Social Studies I, Reading).  Also returning are Mr. Scotty Poock, our dedicated guitar teacher for electives and Mr. Danny Reynolds, Basketball coach.






Congratulations on maternity leaves to Ms. Marilyn Alarcon and Mrs. Liz Usher (Social Studies II and III - photo coming soon). 









Welcome new teachers Mr. Alexander Quetzal (Math), Ms. Noemi Zaiden (English and Literature) and Ms. Bevin Etheridge (EDPM Computers and English II).






June 2012


Graduation 2012!
















Tremendous community support for June 2012 Tuition Scholarships.  Thank you to the following for supporting Ocean Academy students and giving inspiration and resource to continue their studies:

June Scholarship Platinum Sponsors $1000USD +

Be Life Hostel

Belize Hotel Association

Cayeboard Connection

Cruzy's Crib

Sea Dreams Hotel

Sobre Las Olas

Yuma's Hostel


June Gold Scholarship Sponsors $500-$999USD 

Caye Caulker Plaza Hotel

International Friends of Belize/Full Basket Belize

Purple House


June Silver Scholarship Sponsors $250-499USD

Frenchie's Diving

Iguana Reef


June Bronze Scholarship Sponsors up to $249USD

Amanda's Place

Barrier Reef Sports Bar

Caye Caulker Condos

Chocoate's Gift Shop



Lazy Iguana B&B

Raggamuffin Tours

Seaside Cabanas and Caye Dreams Real Estate

Split Complex

Village Council



May 2012


Miss Lobster Fest Contestant 2012:  We wish our student, Shania Shane, the very best of luck in this year's Miss Lobster Fest Pagaent.  She and four other lovely island girls will compete for prizes that include educational fundst and scholastic materials.  You can read more about the event and contestants here.







Queen of England honours Mrs. Enelda Rosado for Services to Education and Community Development:  Mrs. Enelda Rosado is the Former Principal of Caye Caulker Roman Catholic School and current Board Member of Ocean Academy. The Queen of England honoured Mrs. Rosado's acccomplishments with an induction into the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.  We are so proud! Read the full story here. 






Dr. Leslie Elms donates eye glasses:  Dr. Elms of Baker City Oregon visited Caye Caulker and conducted eye exams for 39 students, 5 teachers and 7 parents.  She arranged for eye glasses to be donated and shipped down to Belize.  Thank you also to the Gray Family of San Pedro for coordinating transport of the donation. 





April 2012



Centennial Interact Club volunteers:  Our friends from Ross Sheppard High School in Alberta, Canada returned again to partner with the students of Caye Caulker. This year the group focussed their energies on laying cement blocks for the new upstairs classrooms, leading an Arts and Crafts camp for younger children, and helping with a mangrove restoration project.  They also donated funds to stock Ocean Academy's Campus Book-Rental Program, and funds from the Green Volunteer Club for a coral gardening project on Caye Caulker.  Thank you!  You can see more photos on our Facebook page.






March 2012



Marine Biology Course:  Seven Ocean Academy students and school co-founder Joni Valencia, are enrolled in a Community Reef Technician Training Course. Students are taking night classes alongside tour guides, Fisheries staff, and fishermen to  learn how to identify marine life. Course participants can specialize in invertebrates, juvenile fish, coral health, acroporids, herbivores, commercial fish, marine mammals.  After certification, community technicians will be hired to conduct surveys on the local reef alongside marine biologists. The course is organized with a grant earned by the Marine Reserve of Caye Caulker. More photos are on our school Facebook.




Aquatic Tourism P.E.: Six more island youth are now certified scuba divers!  Congratulations to Ramiro, Buddy, Alexis, Eugene and Kevin on their Advanced Diving certfication, and congratulations to Daniel on his Open Water Diving.  Students took photos (on our school Facebook) with underwater cameras. Thank you Belize Diving Services for volunteering their instructional time and resources, and thank you Patrick Savage for returning every year to Belize to assist with the Aquatic Tourism P.E. and pay the students' PADI fees.








Upstairs Expansion Project: High-school students from Milton Academy (Boston, USA) volunteered for a week to lay blocks for much-needed upstairs classroom space.  There were over 1000 blocks to carry, so Ocean Academy students took a break from classes to help too.










Milton Academy 2012: In addition to building the upstairs classrooms, the Milton students peer-tutored Math and English after school, helped a Spanish class review for a test on body parts, joined Ocean Academy P.E. (beach volleyball and soccer), conducted a beach cleanup in the Forest Reserve and cleaned buoys for the Marine Reserve.  Thank you Milton students, trip leaders John, Corey, Linnea and Peacework.









Upper Iowa State University:  Despite torrential rains, this dedicated group built two wonderful picnic tables and a secure storage area for trash.  They also worked in the Forest Reserve, and got to see the Hol Chan Marine Reserve's reef and wildlife.  Thank you students and trip leader Darryl.








International Women's History Month:  Social Studies I students created posters to showcase inspirational Belizean and International Women.  Thank you to Carmen Myrtis-Garcia, Joni Valencia and teacher Yeseni Torres for organizing the fair.  More photos are on our school Facebook.





Red Cross Disaster-Preparedness Surveys: Students spent two days after school canvassing Caye Caulker neighbourhoods to gather data on the villagers' readiness and anticipated needs in case of natural disaster.  All data will be submitted to the Belize Red Cross.  Thank you teachers Bernie and Marilyn for coordinating this activity.











Farewell Assembly: Form IV senior students organized a heartfelt appreciation assembly for school co-founders Dane Dingerson and wife Lydie Baudry.  In 2008 Dane and Lydie donated a plot of land, and the intial funds to build a three-room schoolhouse.  Since 2008, they have been actively involved in the growth of Ocean Academy.  Dane volunteers as a windsurfing coach, construction supervisor, group leader and all-around "handyman".  Lydie, an accountant by trade, keeps the books in order and also helps with construction projects.  Form IV students sang a song, and students from each grade read poems and presented the couple with cards and speeches.  More photos can be seen on our school Facebook Page.










Interact Club tutors children: Members of the school volunteer club spent Wednesday afterschool at the Caye Caulker RC School, reading to children and helping them complete their homework.  More photos are on our school Facebook page.






February 2012



New Interact Volunteer Club members receive pins: Mr. David Heredia, from our sponsor the Rotary Club of Belize City, pinned new members of the Interact Club of Ocean Academy.  In this photo is Anifa who was elected International Relations chair.  More photos on our school Facebook Page.














Interact Club & Valentine's Day:  Club members baked cupcakes and made cards to show their appreciation for their classmates, teachers, volunteers and also teachers at the primary school. More photos on our Facebook page.








Kayak coach Ms. Allie is shown in this photo receiving her cupcake and card. More photos on our school Facebook page.












More Community Goodwill:  Interact Club members gathered after school to deliver 10 gift bags donated by Grace Kennedy Foods.  The students choose community members who they felt needed to feel some Valentine's Day appreciation as valued members of our community. More photos on our Facebook page.







Golf Cart Brigade:  Volunteer drivers Dane and Annette took the Interact Club members around the island to deliver gift bags and hugs on Valentine's Day. Other club members rode bikes with Faculty Advisor Joni to deliver their cupcakes and cards.









Good Karma Lunch: Interact club members learned the meaning of good karma for good acts when Ms. Allison Pierre invited the group to a wonderful lunch at Rose's.  Allison had spent the previous week volunteering with Ocean Academy as a guest speaker (she's a lawyer in NYC), English tutor, and card-maker for the Valentine's Day club activity.







January 2012


Christmas Holiday Camp: Volunteers from William & Mary College in Virginia USA led a three-day fun camp for island children with activities like jewlery making,reading, active games, t-shirt tiedyes, and environmentally-themed murals.  They also raked the Front Street Childrens' Park and planted mangroves in the Forest Reserve.







Jr. Camp Leaders: High-school students from the Ocean Academy Interact Club volunteered over the Christmas Break to read to primary-school children at the Holiday Camp.












Our deepest sympathies to the Joseph family on the passing of Mrs. Petrona (Mrs. Petty). In 2009 the Ocean Academy Social Studies class interviewed Mrs. Petty for their oral history project about the island's inspirational women.  In the interview Mrs. Petty's grandson, Yvon, asked for her thoughts about the (then) brand-new high school and her advice for young people. Mrs. Petty said: "Having a high school on Caye Caulker is very beautiful...I'm glad of it...Without education how can we live? It's very important...Stay in school, study hard and achieve your goals...and you need to pray...and seek advice from older persons and respect and apply what advice they give you".  Mrs. Petty also talked with the students about her life experiences, memories of hurricanes and Belizean Independence Day, daily life on "old" Caye Caulker, and her hopes for the future of Belize.  We will miss you Mrs. Petty.






Older news and photos can be found in our archives:



News Archive: 2011

News Archive: 2010 

News Archive: 2009