Thursday, May 8, 2014

Last Day

We are up and ready to travel this morning.  So thankful that we are all safe and healthy and had a great experience.  After breakfast, the ITE 2014 team will depart for the airport and our journey home.

The faculty and staff on this trip have had a wonderful experience working with these young people.  They are great ambassadors for the U.S. and our University.  They all agree that they have become better teachers and better people.  Each one of them has made a difference in the life of a child.  The dedication and commitment to teaching is evidenced by all of them.

At this time, I would like to say "THANK YOU" to the families and friends who shared these amazing young people with us during the past 12 days.  You should be very proud of them.  They have represented themselves and your family in a wonderful way.

Thank you also to Dr. Karen Karp, Dorothy Vittitow, and Heather Adkins for their great contributions to this experience.  You have worked hard from early to late but always with a smile and a willingness to make this a great experience for our students.  I appreciate you all so much!

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dean Haselton who has the vision and commitment to international education experiences.  Without his dedication to our efforts, the experience would not be nearly as powerful and meaningful as it has become.  All of us want you to know how much we appreciate your assistance.

As we head home, we leave a piece of ourselves in this wonderful place.  But each of us are also filled to brim with a greater understanding of a culture much different than our own while also finding that we have much in common. 

Thank you all for following us on this wonderful adventure.  I will post more photos as soon as we get a better Internet connection, so stayed tuned until Saturday.

Dr. Margaret Pentecost

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


As we packed up our belongings and began our journey home, we reflected on our time spent in Belize. The past twelve days have been some of the most adventurous, challenging, and emotional that we have experienced, but they are ones that we will never forget. From the very first day that we arrived at the schools we were greeted by students and teachers who welcomed us into their classrooms and lives. It was amazing to see and experience the happiness and community that were present in each of the villages. We went into this experience expecting to be the ones that would be doing the teaching, but in the end we realized that these students and their teachers have taught us more than we could have ever imagined. We were taught to find joy and happiness in the little things and that teaching is more than just reciting a lesson plan; it is pouring everything that you have into providing for students the love and academic support they need to achieve their dreams. The lessons, love, and voices of the students, teachers, and the country will forever be etched in our hearts. Words cannot express how thankful we are that we were given this opportunity to teach with a group of amazing teachers, classmates, and professors. It has been an experience that has changed how we view the world, life, and education. While our time here was short, the memories that we have made will last a life time.

-Rachel Williams and Anna Doll

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Photos in Schools

Last Day...

It was very bittersweet for everyone today as we said goodbye to the teachers and students we have been working with and learning so much from these past several days. There were lots of tears and smiles and memories made that will last a lifetime. We hope you have enjoyed our blog and the photos we've shared. Thanks to everyone who supported our students, faculty and staff on this trip. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience.

Georgetown Technical High School

When asked to sum up my experience in Belize, I can’t help but be at a loss for words. There have been so many times that I’ve thought to myself, “I’ll remember this moment forever.” My time in Georgetown High School, and in Belize, have been 2 weeks that will forever have an impression on my heart. Today was my last day at GTHS, and the tears began rolling as I heard, “Miss, Miss, thank you for all you’ve done for us here.” I can’t explain how comforting it is knowing that I’ve helped make a difference. Regardless if it was with 1 person, or 100, I know I’ve achieved what I’ve come here to do. I’ve learned that kids will be kids, regardless of what part of the globe they may be from. All they need is love, and someone who refuses to give up on them. I’m so thankful that I could be that person for so many students here, even if it was for a short amount of time. I’m leaving Belize with a changed view of education, and the world. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for having this opportunity. I will definitely be leaving a small piece of my heart here in Belize. As my colleagues and I sang loud and proud this morning at our school assembly, “Wherever I am, wherever I go, I will always remember Georgetown Technical.”  

Morgan Tutt

Today was a day of reflection as it was my last day teaching at Georgetown Technical High School. I feel so blessed and humbled to have this opportunity to work with these students. I never imagined that students could become such a huge part of my heart in such a short period of time. Throughout working with these students I’ve learned to appreciate the small things and to not take anything for granted. I’ve learned just how hopeful and respectful the students of GTHS are. I will miss the “Good Morning Miss” and “Good Afternoon Miss” that could be heard around the campus.  I truly feel that my colleagues and I have done what we came here to do, make a difference in these students’ lives just as they have in ours. This has been an experience that I will forever be thankful for in my life. This experience has been a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in something that is larger than myself. This week I have never appreciated education more, and I have never been more thankful to have chosen the career path I have. I will be leaving Belize a much different person than I came. A more positive, hopeful person that will continue to push for educational reform because of the students who deserve a quality education. A final thought for the week: Although I came to Belize to teach the students, they are the ones who taught me.                                                                                                          -Samantha Schmidt


Monday, May 5, 2014

Teaching Reflections

Today was our fifth day in the schools, and as I start this week, it truly began to feel like the beginning of the end. I got hit hard today with the realization that we will all soon be heading back to our air conditioned homes, where we always have access to cold water, electronics and any food we may want. Meanwhile, these children will be staying here in Belize sleeping on their dirt floors in their hot and humid huts. What really hits me about this is that these children here are some of the happiest children I have met in my entire life. I’m still going back and forth on whether this is making the transition of heading back home easier or harder for me. It makes me so sad to think that they are so happy with next to nothing besides their family. However, I am relieved that they are so happy because this is the life that they know.

After school let out today, I got to walk through the village where the majority of the children from Red Bank live. The huts that I saw had dirt floors, cloth for doors and no electricity. I was able to stop and talk to a woman outside standing with her baby who had just gotten a bath. She explained to us that she had just gotten home from the doctor because her baby has a fever and an ear infection. The baby’s ear was swollen and red, yet they were outside in the heat simply because that is all they were able to do. Suddenly any complaint that I had said or heard on this trip was irrelevant. We are often picky because we have so many options in our own lives on a daily basis. I have found myself feeling guilty about what I have and not really wanting these all these things anymore.

At the end of my class today I read the book “Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons.” Throughout this book is the line “Buttons come and buttons go,” and at the end it says, “Stuff will come and stuff will go.” I found myself fighting back tears when reading this to the children. They were not the ones who needed to hear this, I was. These kids and this experience have shown me what truly matters in life. All of the materialistic and extra “stuff” is going to come and go. I have been given a different view on what I need to be happy in life and it could not have come at a better time as I prepare for my life and career after I graduate on Saturday. 

Tessa Burke

This experience has changed my life in so many ways. I have learned more this past week than anyone could ever imagine. It is amazing to me how much the students value education and how well respected their teachers are. They do so much with so little and it has opened my eyes to the things that really matter in the world. Never again will I complain about being too hot or gripe when something doesn’t go my way. On another note, this experience has made me thankful for America’s FREE education system and the opportunities we are blessed with day in and day out. Although I was aware that the students here paid for their high school education, it didn’t mean much to me until I arrived at Georgetown and started working with my third form classes. The first day, I did a Q&A with my students (who would be considered juniors in America) and they were in shock that I went to high school for free. They then went on to ask if my school had one big fan or if each room had its own - - my stomach turned when I had to respond that all of our schools were air conditioned and students actually complain about being “too cold.” All in all, this has been an eye-opening experience to me and I have learned so much about myself as well as the world outside of Louisville, Kentucky. 

Amy Riordan


Red Bank Experience

The children are so eager to please and receive praise for their work in the classrooms. Whenever they have a break they surround us and want to see our photos and be the center of attention. They scramble to be the first to hold the CEHD students' hands and follow they everywhere in groups.

"My experience at Red Bank has renewed my faith that the world is a great place for children. These kids do not take you or their education for their granted. The families have to sacrifice a lot to send children to school here. Kids in the U.S. are so lucky to have so many opportunities for a good education."
Lauren Heckman