“Friends…like teachers affect the future!

“A life is not important, except the impact it has on other lives…”  by Jackie Robinson

As Angela says…”school is in full swing!” It is a time of joy for us “Friends” when the Learning Center is in session. We are excited when the young folks of Copey are in school busy learning.

Maria, the new volunteer, is already busy helping the students learn their ABCs. If I am not mistaken, at least one of the students pictured is an AGB Scholarship recipient. Wonderful!

The Learning Center has provided me a movie version of their instruction to share with you. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzpmwmN9XnfNejc4akxkNDJMdkk/view?usp=drive_web.

Maria teaching ABC'sClick on the link above, then click on the arrow on the picture that comes up and wait about ten seconds for the link to load. It works for me and should work for you. You will be very pleased to see this short tape of the students learning their alphabet and on their way to learning to speak, read, and write English. I have mentioned before how happy these students always seem to be. The joy of learning, which many of you current and past teachers can easily relate to, is priceless. When students are excited and happy about what is going on in the classroom setting, learning really takes place. I have seen a lot of photos from the Learning Center and never do I see students who appear to be unpleasant. They are some great looking students and I look forward to meeting many of them one day.

Students learning numbersI am adding another photo of students working on learning their numbers in English. I invite any of the “Friends” to travel to Costa Rica and see first hand the energy and excitement both staff and students have for education. In a future Post, I will try to highlight two of the volunteers whom I think come from the US.

Other News

Lisa Baldwin is one of our biggest supporters and “Friend of Copey”. She has been our leader in the Pen Pal Program. We all want to congratulate her for the new teaching assignment she now has. She will be leaving her classroom at High Point Elementary School in Bristol, Virginia, to become the traveling music teacher for five schools in her district.

Lisa Baldwin                Leader of Pen Pal Program

Lisa Baldwin

She is elated to have this opportunity to work with kids through music full time. As you know, Lisa is an accomplished singer and composer along with her husband Dave. This must be a dream come true for Lisa as she will now have the opportunity to combine her passion for teaching and her passion for music. We hope she will continue to find the time to work with the Pen Pal Program and find ways to include the students at the Learning Center with her music and students. For more information about Lisa Baldwin and husband Dave, check out http://www.baldwinhaney.com/?page_id=33

NASCAR UPDATE

Jeff Gordon started today with serious aspirations of winning at the Indy Track. He has five wins at this track, the most among the NASCAR drivers. Before halfway through the race, he was unfortunately involved in a fender bender that resulted in the loss of any hopes Jeff had of winning today’s race. As the race winds down, he currently holds on to next to last place. This is a big disappointment for him and of course his fans. We are now worried about him having any chance of making it into the final cut for the championship later in the year. We just keep hoping for better days….!

To Succeed…Believe!

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”  by Booker T. Washington

I have been off my normal schedule for a week and if you did not notice, there was not a weekly Post prepared last weekend. I was part of a host group for a conference held in town and my schedule was extremely busy. The conference lasted until late Wednesday and it required a few days for me to recover.

I am back on track now and my engines are roaring. The news from the Learning Center confirms that classes will resume tomorrow. However, this has not been much of a break for the Learning Center staff. Angela has been extremely busy during the break with a variety of activities. She has been developing formal presentations to be given to their local business community requesting support as sponsors for their educational efforts. Other work has been preparing the curriculum and course content for the second half of the school year.  The Learning Center has also been the focal point during the break for local high school students who are doing comSWOT PHOTO ANGELAmunity service work to help develop their business and professional skills.

Volunteers have completed their assignment at the Learning Center and have departed the small community. The new volunteer replacements are now arriving. As I frequently indicate, the Learning Center is a hotbed of activity most of the time even when the regular students are on break. I am looking forward to much more news coming soon about the progress the students are making and keeping you updated.

Recall that I raised some questions about the apparent lack of classroom equipment to support the educational effort. Some of us are working on this issue. I will provide more details in next week’s Post on our progress.

Other News

In my June 29th Post I mentioned the passing of my dear friend Betty Jean Ganaway. I should have also pointed out that she was the step-daughter of the late Mr. Lee. My “Friends” from Emory & Henry College may recall Mr. Lee. He was a very well-loved and respected employee in the college’s Food Service area for many many years.

Also, in my November 9th, 2014 Post, I highlighted Curtis (Duck) Montgomery in my Veteran’s Day message.

Curtis MontgomeryThis week, “Duck” will celebrate his 100th birthday. For the record “Duck” was also employed in the college’s Food Service area along with Mr. Lee for many years. I am proud to say that I worked with both of these men in the dining room kitchen to help pay for my college education.

Both Mr. Lee and “Duck” took great care of me while I attended college. They were both like honorary uncles in my life. Needless to say, I ate very well each day and the advice and guidance they both provided me proved as important as the great education I received in those college classrooms. “Duck”…Happy 100th Birthday from all the “Friends of Copey“.

NASCAR UPDATE

Jeff Gordon finishes 9th in the NASCAR race in New Hampshire. Some may wonder if I had abandoned my favorite driver.  I have not reported on his progress over the past few Posts. No…I have not. But I have had to lower my expectations for Jeff and his final year of racing. I thought, as many others, this would be a memorable year of racing for him. The reality has not been fun. He has finished in the top 10 several times but no winner yet.  We still have half a season to go.

America! America!

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

America The Beautiful…!

A HAPPY 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND TO ALL…!   A special thanks to all the men and women throughout our history who have bravely fought to obtain and retain our independence. Keeping our independence is a never-ending struggle and generation after generation has given many of its best to fight and die for the “red…white…and blue.

US Flag.2I love this flag. For me it symbolizes the  independence I enjoy. As I get older, the more I seem to understand and appreciate what it means to have this independence. I earned my status as a veteran over 40 years ago. Like many veterans during my era, we wore the uniform, came home, and moved on with our lives. There were very few television ads or promotions about veterans, if any. Back in the day as a veteran, many of us were given the address to the closest VA hospital (if you needed medical assistance). If you did not need assistance, you just went home and picked up where you left off. Fortunately, today it is much different. I probably average five calls a month from organizations requesting money to support veteran causes and I do what I can because many need help. America could do better with our treatment of veterans but this is part of the greatness of America. We have the opportunity to make things better and to get it right sooner or later.

As I said, I love this flag. Driving down one of my streets, a car dealer has the biggest flag you have ever seen. It is huge! There are times I want to pull over and just watch it play with the wind and the sun. This is what it is all about I think. This is Independence Day standing tall and large for us all to see. This is the 4th of July in America…!

When I consider my independence, I think about my freedom of mobility, my freedom as a consumer of goods and services, my freedom to worship as I prefer, my freedom to live where I choose to live, my freedom to associate with others regardless of any differences, and many more freedoms that are all part of my everyday experiences.

These freedoms have a heartbeat and I can hear it beating loud and clear every time I hear Ray Charles sing “America the Beautiful”. His soulful rendition is very special. His voice sounds like I feel inside. He brings life and meaning to the words and it touches that spot where my patriotism likes to hide out at times. This is America and if we are completely honest, there is not another place most of us would prefer to be. Case in point, all the talk about improved border security north or south is not to keep anyone from leaving America. So on this weekend, this very special weekend, putting all politics aside, let’s sing along with Ray as we did last year… !

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL…!

GREAT NEWS!!!

I promised some special news for this week so let’s get the band fired up to play because this week we reached another major Blogging milestone with “Friends of Copey”.

Balloons

This past week, the Blog website has passed the 5,000 hit mark. ASTOUNDING!!!

It was only March 23rd when I announced hitting the 4,000 hit mark.

This Blog is only about 18 months old and we are now heading to the 6,000 hit milestone. The “hits” indicate the number of visits to my Blog and that means only you can impact this count. The number is significant because of the type of Blog it is. It is not a commercial blog or a site for recipes, home remedies, or other “How To Do’s”. Our site is about an ongoing interest in a small rural town in Costa Rica, a very small learning center, and some of the coolest kids on earth. The site also is a place I can share some personal information, but the children of Copey is the main centerpiece for this Blog, Costa Rica and about the great supporters that make up the “Friends of Copey”.

I mentioned in the past that Brazil is a heavy hitter. Over the past six months alone, Brazil accounted for about 20% of the visits to the Blog. Costa Rica accounted for approximately 15% but is constantly growing. Over 60% of the visits are from the USA. The rest of the visits cover the globe but in very small numbers. Brazil!  I do not know anyone in Brazil and I do not hear from anyone in Brazil. However, they represent the second largest country visiting the Blog each month. If anyone listening has an explanation, let me know. Regardless, I am very happy to have both Brazil and Costa Rican readers staying connected.

The milestone is ongoing proof that the interest in the Learning Center continues. Several of you “Friends” I know are fully committed and represent the bulk of the support. Some “Friends” come and go and that is expected and okay. It is always encouraging to know that every day offers a new opportunity for a new person to join in and who knows what an impact this will eventually have.

The Banner says it all!

I thank you all…current “Friends”, past “Friends”, and the “Friends” of the future. The flags of Costa Rica and America are joined in this project. These flags symbolize the partnership and the possibilities for a better future. This is “independence” on display!