Just after the holidays in January, Broken Bow High graduates Mark Shaw with his wife Katrina (Holland) Shaw will travel to Belize where they will live for two months in the western town of Corozal. Students at Hasting College, Mark and Katrina are venturing to this small Caribbean nation, along with 14 other Hastings students, to gain experience for their elementary education degrees.
When Mark asked about finding a teaching internship, the couple was encouraged by one of their professors to go to Belize.
The country is extremely poor and is always in need of educated teachers. Besides teachers, classrooms are very simple and school supplies are very hard to come by. Basic things students take for granted: pencils, paper, crayons, markers, books are practically non-existent on a regular basis. Before leaving on their endeavor, Mark and Katrina decided to gather necessary school supplies through donations, as well as balls and toys. Soccer is the national sport of Belize. The young students there kick around anything they can turn into a makeshift ball.
The Shaws placed donation boxes at area businesses around town. Broken Bow Middle School students collected a total of ten boxes of school supplies and toys that Mark and Katrina will bring with them to Corozal.
Mark has a strong desire to teach his students American football. Katrina will be teaching Kindergarten while she is there. Mark’s class level has not been determined yet but will be somewhere between Kindergarten and the third grade. The region where the couple will be living speaks mainly Spanish, although the use of English is prevalent. Both learned some Spanish while attending Broken Bow School, Katrina taking four years with language teacher, Ms. Schwisow.
In addition to assisting with the Belize fundraiser, Middle School students collected donations for the local Food Pantry. In the end, the children filled 30 grocery sacks full of canned goods. Ken Kujath, Broken Bow Middle/High School Principal, congratulated his students in a ceremony last week. To make the can drive more entertaining, the school conducted a scavenger hunt for needed Food Pantry items. The top winning teams came away with food prizes of their own, in the form of gift certificates from area restaurants.
Collecting food for needy area residents and school supplies for children half a world away, explained Kujath, is part of Broken Bow Schools effort to teach students compassion, one of the components for becoming a good citizen.