Open Letter to the Learning Center Board

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Day…but everyday is Thanksgiving Day with the “Friends of Copey”. Many of the Posts written this year provide a consistent message of our commitment and dedication to the mission of the Learning Center. The following is an open letter to the Learning Center’s Board of Directors conveying our intentions to continue our work in 2015.  I hope your support and interest as “Friends of Copey” will continue as well.


Dear President Ulloa:

Greetings from all of us you know as “Friends of Copey”. We hope this correspondence finds you and the many supporters of the Learning Center well.

This school year is nearing the end and on behalf of the “Friends of Copey”, we want to take this opportunity to say Congratulations. We express our congratulations to those very special students who have excelled academically because of the devotion and dedication of the teachers and staff at the Learning Center. We also extend our congratulations to the Junta for providing direction and guidance to ensure the Learning Center is a success. We wish to express our appreciation for being allowed to be a part of the important and successful work taking place at the Learning Center.

This communication is also to inform you of our plans to continue our support in the 2015 school year with the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund, the Pen Pal Program, along with the other supportive efforts we initiated in 2014. We have other initiatives developing and look forward to 2015 with great expectations.

We are very pleased we had this year to work so closely with Eve Solomon. As my primary contact, I can attest to her dedication and devotion to the children and the successful continuation of the work at the Learning Center.  She has accomplished much and we believe she will leave a lasting legacy with her students and the community of Copey. When Eve’s volunteer assignment ends at the Learning Center in the Spring, we will certainly miss her.

Please convey my best wishes to Seidy and Noemi. In 2015, we look forward to the “Friends of Copey” growing in numbers, continuing our support, and proposing additional forms of support to help further enhance the English educational opportunities for those promising students attending the Learning Center. Enjoy The Nutcracker!

                                             “Building Futures One Child At A Time”

Best wishes,

Arthur Broady/”Friends of Copey”



Happy Thanksgiving to all the Friends of Copey

Last evening as I was flying into Las Vegas, I had a very rare vision. It started with the Captain announcing to the passengers that he enjoyed serving us and hoped we will fly again on his airline. This was followed up with the announcement that we should prepare for arrival as we are now descending into our approach to land. I looked out of the window and saw very few lights at first. Waiting patiently, I soon began to see the wonderful and unique skyline of Las Vegas at night. This could possibly be among the best views from the air.

Then it struck me. This is the story of the Learning Center and its relationship with the “Friends of Copey”.  I saw us flying together for the whole year and we are now preparing for arrival. As we look out of the window, we can see a few lights and as we get closer to Copey and the end of the school year, we begin to see the glittering lights in Copey get brighter and more brilliant. The community is filled with excitement.

We are about to land and it has been truly one of the most exciting travels ever. Learning Center students will be completing school and much is going on with graduations and celebrations. This year’s end of school is even more spectacular to see. The talented ballerinas will be heading to San Jose immediately following graduation to perform on the “big” stage in the production of The Nutcracker. The students participating will be joined by their parents and a bus filled with community supporters will also be attending.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am very grateful for the opportunity to fly along with the Learning Center this year. I am very appreciative to have so many “Friends” traveling along with me. I am honored that this small community in another country believes our interest in their children is sincere. Blessings are abundant.

The view from above is truly awesome and landing will be spectacular. Thank you for flying!

Happy Thanksgiving “Friends” and all.


Thank You AGB Scholarships….

The Learning Center is now in its final weeks of operation for this school year. It has been an absolute joy to be a strong and committed supporter of the educational work being done in Copey. The “Friends of Copey” took on a more structured look when the Blog site was established allowing us to have our own identity and a voice to speak with. The Blog site was born out of our desire to set up the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund. Before this, several of us were already working with the Learning Center and had already begun establishing our credibility and willingness to help. As we will soon complete our first year with both this Blog and the Scholarship Fund, we believe our credibility is solid and our willingness to support the Learning Center is without question.

More than 19 students attended the Learning Center this year because of tuition assistance provided by the the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund. This is a major success that we all can be proud of.

AGB Thank you.2“Thank You AGB Scholarships! “ The student recipients are certainly pleased that they had the opportunity to attend. We “Friends of Copey” should realize these students would have missed a school year of enhanced English education if the donors had not provided the needed tuition assistance.

The students say “Thanks” on behalf of the entire community including teachers, staff, and the Learning Center’s Board members.

“Friends of Copey” have provided other forms of support throughout this school year. The English speaking, reading, and writing learning tool named “Reading Bear” was introduced to the Learning Center by our “Key Friend” Joe Thomas and is part of the teaching material now in use.

Lisa Baldwin, our rock star elementary teacher and very popular musical talent from Virginia headed up our very successful Pen Pal Program by introducing her 5th graders to the students attending the Learning Center.


Beyond exchanging pen pal letters, her 5th graders have also donated school supplies and money to the Learning Center to help their new friends. Lisa’s successful efforts seem to be causing other schools to seriously consider setting up pen pal projects with the Learning Center.

As a side note, Lisa is a semi-finalist for a major teacher’s award. We wish her the best in this competition and very happy to have her involvement with the Learning Center be part of the final consideration for the award.

The Learning Center had other wonderful experiences to brag about this year. Several students did very well in the Costa Rican Spelling Bee competition. Students reached the Regional Level this year with sights on reaching the national level next year.

Ballet Line Up

There are even students learning ballet and several have been invited to perform in The Nutcracker scheduled in San Jose, Costa Rica in early December.

And when there was a shortage of school supplies, we stepped in to help out with several “Friends of Copey” donating some emergency funds.

We will continue our support as we get set for school starting again in February 2015. The “Friends of Copey” are working on several new initiatives for 2015 for the students attending the Learning Center.

The Learning Center is a very unique operation and the “Friends of Copey” is a very unique friend devoted to help and support the Center’s mission. There is a great story behind the Learning Center and there is equally a great story behind “Friends of Copey”. Together, we are a really great story. Thanks for helping write the story.

Special Veterans Day Message…

I certainly have a very deep appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. We owe our freedoms to the many who have served our country in defense of these freedoms. In my view, Veterans Day should be everyday and this goes for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as well. As a Blogger, I am often reminded how important freedom is since my Posts are written free of suppressive rules allowing me to cross political lines, national and international lines, and even religious and non-religious lines to mention only a few lines. In fact, there is no guarantee “Friends of Copey” or the inspiration to dream about the possibilities of helping young people in a far away community without negative consequences would exist without freedom. This week’s Post is dedicated to those who have served our country to protect our freedoms.

Meet Curtis (Duck) Montgomery. Duck, as I grew up calling him, is the oldest veteran I know at age 99 and counting. He was recently recognized and honored for his military service and traveled to Washington, D.C. to visit the WWII Memorial.

Curtis Montgomery

Duck journeyed to the WWII Memorial with his family and other veterans from Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee. Duck and I go back a long way. He was a close friend of my grandparents and they belonged to the same church. I grew up with Duck being close by. During my college days at Emory & Henry College, he was my boss when I worked in the  college’s kitchen as a student employee earning money to help pay my school expenses.

Over the many years since college, he has continued to be a close family friend. He has been just one of those rare and wonderful people you come to realize has always been there in your life. He is a devoted Christian and an ageless role model. I have been honored to have him as my special guest at several college events including my induction into my college’s Sports Hall of Fame. Over the past 3 years, he attended both memorial services for my brother and mother further demonstrating his ongoing closeness to our family.

Duck, a very special thank you and God Bless You for your service to our country and for touching so many lives during your wonderful and long lifetime.

Next,  I express my gratitude and my heartfelt thanks to Michael Charles, Danny Watkins, Kenneth Delaney, and Frank Campbell, Jr., all died before turning 21 while serving our country during the Viet Nam War.  Michael, Danny, Kenneth, and I played high school football together at Douglass High School, in Bristol, Virginia. Several other classmates died during the Viet Nam War but these four were very close friends.

Lou Peery and Gene Gabriel are both college fraternity brothers, life long friends, and fellow veterans. There are many other veterans I devote this Post to including the most recent veteran I now include…Adam, a veteran Marine who served in Iraq.  As a fellow veteran, I salute you all!

Sing with Ray Charles and me..!







Spelling Bee Update….

The “Friends of Copey” has been following the progress of those Learning Center students participating in the annual Spelling Bee Contest. This week the regional contest was held in Los Santos, Costa Rica.

“Dayana, who has been studying at Copey Learning Center for four years, finished in 6th place. She competed with 9 students in her group of Primary Grade students. Dayana was the youngest student in the contest, a 4th grader competing against 5th and 6th graders. Many competitors came from larger towns with access to better English classes in their elementary schools, and a few students even had bilingual parents. This is a significant milestone for Dayana and for the Copey Learning Center. She and her peers prepared for the spelling for months during their Learning Center classes.

Maria Celeste, our 7th grader competed with other 7th-9th graders. Eric, a Copey Learning Center first-grader is also congratulated. Eric’s teachers invited him to the Spelling Bee to give a demonstration of his above-level spelling skills in order to help make the point that spelling isn’t just for 4th graders and up. Eric correctly spelled ten out of ten words, including some hard ones like “mother,” “father,” and “windy”! He received a big round of applause. Hopefully we’ll have the chance to see some younger spellers in the competition next year. Eric has attended the Learning Center for two Years.         by Eve Solomon

The “Friends of Copey” extend our best wishes to all of the students who participated in all the Spelling Bee contests. Dayana, you are a rock star and congratulations on a job well done. We will be pulling for all the Learning Center students when they return to the Spelling Bee competition next year.