Teachers of Joy

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.                             By Albert Einstein

Okay…Now let’s all stand up and cheer! We have some of the best news yet for this year and I am encouraging each of you reading this Post to enjoy the moment and grasp the significance of this achievement.

Good NewsMariana…our Learning Center student and an AGB Scholarship recipient, was successful at the semi-finals for the “Impromptu Speech” contest. Next, she is competing for a national title at the National Spelling Bee contest being held in a couple of weeks. This is such really great news and we all are very proud of Mariana.  We thank everyone for the support and assistance she has been given to make it to the highest level of the competition.

This is a huge accomplishment becamariana-5use she will represent the small community of Copey and the Learning Center. There will be many talented and highly competitive students to defeat.

Several other Learning Center students have reached the second level but have yet to win at the third level to my knowledge. The competition is tough and it is very difficult for a rural student to make it to Nationals.

So Mariana, parents, teachers, and all, please know that “Friends of Copey” is extremely proud of you and will keep our eyes on you.  We would love for you to bring back a championship trophy for all of us.

Just making it to Nationals is an inspiration to other students at the Learning Center and the Copey community. These achievements provide outstanding role models and leaders that other students can follow. I am certain others can do this also and I look forward to seeing more and more students from Copey making it all the way to the Finals one day.

In other news, you are reminded that I am in Tennessee and Virginia. I have attended my meetings at Emory & Henry College and will spend the rest of my time with kids and grandkids who live nearby. I am joyful and optimistic about the present and future of our college. There is much going on with many positive things in the works for students. I can not say enough “good” about the college staff, faculty, and students I encounter during my time on and around campus. The college President and the Board of Trustees which I am a member, work very hard to make this one of the most outstanding small liberal arts colleges in America. It is an honor to be part of this college.  EH college

Speaking of being honored, there were present at the meetings, about nine E&H college staff and Trustees among others, who were the generous donors who funded the travel costs for Noelia, Celeste, and Angela during their trip to the USA and the E&H College campus last June. I personally thanked each one again for their extraordinary generosity and support.

And guess what! Each said they were ready to support another couple of Learning Center students to our campus next June.

Dr. Gaia, Director of International Education at E&H College, is credited for setting up the “Pathway” for two EH College students to travel to Copey and for our guests to travel from Copey to the college. She has assured me that we will do the “Pathway” project again in 2017.

Therefore, when I get home in a couple of days, I will know there are strong and willing supporters affiliated with E&H College ready and committed to work together as “Partners” again to help make a real difference in the lives of many young students.  Amazing! Simply Amazing!

And there is much more to celebrate! I also met others who are learning about “Friends” for the first time and seem very willing to support us. I was introduced to the Vice-Principal where my grandkids attend school and we spoke briefly about setting up a Pen Pal project for their students. We will follow-up and will get this initiated.Balloons

So in summary, it is not just Mariana heading to Nationals, or just planning for new students going to and coming from Copey in 2017, or the ongoing donor support among E&H College folks, or the opportunity to set up a new Pen Pal program, it is always much more than all this. It is knowing that when you commit to doing even just a little, we all as “Friends” can make BIG differences in the lives of others.

So, do not just be a “Friend”…be a proud and connected “Friend”. In about a month, this Blog will celebrate its 3rd birthday. Over 150 Posts have been issued covering almost one Post per week. It has been a real joy. Several of you have been on board since the first Post you received in December 2013. Others have come along afterwards. Most of you have been involved long enough to find something to feel very proud of as a “Friend”. I encourage you to stay connected/involved because we still have lots to do including a couple of surprises being worked on.

I am totally unaware of any group or organization that does what we do, the way we do it, and has so many achievements. All of it is because we work together as “Friends”.

 

Will You Make a Difference?

“When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”                                         By  Zig Ziglar

Friends, we continue to get very positive feedback from the presentation made on October 14th to my Kiwanis Club. I have been told there are likely more invites forthcoming which will allow me to share the story of the Learning Center and “Friends of Copey” with many more people.

We also continue to try to have a Skype session with the Learning Center students. Today, was our latest attempt. Prior to today we have had our share of missed opportunities mostly having to do with electronic problems. Evencopey-students the weather has been a major problem for us lately since it interferes with the Wi-Fi reception.

On Thursday last week, I spent time at Jefferson Elementary School here locally working out all of the bugs we have identified preventing us from having a successful Skype session. The problems were solved and I successfully connected with Ana Yancy via Skype. We both agreed to set the new time with the kids for this Monday (today). Kids from both the Learning Center and Jefferson Elementary were to be assembled to participate in this long-awaited Skype session.

Unfortunately, the tablet used by the Learning Center failed/broke and the Skype session did not take place. So, today represents one more failed try…but we do not get discouraged…only disappointed. We have been so close to success a few times and we cannot even think of giving up. The kids are all excited and are depending on us to work out these electronic problems. We now must wait on the verdict of the tablet to see if and when it can be repaired. In the meantime, I see this as a great “teachable moment”.copey-students  We should not lose sight of the fact that we represent two countries working together and not always on equal terms. Cell phones, laptops, Wi-Fi capabilities, and other means of electronic advancements are generally at our fingertips in the USA. Not so in Copey and other rural areas of Costa Rica. This points out even more how special our involvement is in this community. Just give it some thought. How many in this vast world of ours is even trying to speak to kids in Copey? We have been true and consistent and not easily discouraged regardless of the commitments and challenges we undertake.Things tend to be wonderful when all is going well but the true measure of our devotion and dedication is determined by our willingness to stay the course when both large and small setbacks are experienced. Sooner or later…we will Skype!
Spelling Bee

With all that has gone on over the past few days trying to hook up with the Learning Center, I have forgotten to follow-up on the Spelling Bee contest. I will find out the status and let you know.

Finally, I am leaving tomorrow to travel back east to Emory & Henry College to attend my Board meetings. I am looking forward to this trip as it will afford me the first opportunity to speak to many of the donors who supported the travel cost for our Copey guests last June. I am very excited about this and proud to represent both the Learning Center and “Friends” while I am there. I am also anticipating discussions on our next year’s plans for E&H students going to Copey and Learning Center students traveling to Virginia. I will inform this year’s donors of the need to continue their support in 2017. I will report back to you when I return.

Learning Center Closes for Summer Break on November 19th, 2016. Will resume in early February, 2017.

 

 

Doing Things…You Think You Cannot Do!

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.                                  By Aesop
Last week, several friends and family attended the dedication service in recognition of our 6th great grandfather, John Broddy…”the Patriot”.  The location was the Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. The National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration dedication included the placement of an official marker recognizing John and two other Afro-Americans who were present during the famous American Revolutionary War battle known as the “Battle of Kings Mountain”. The event was a wonderful experience although we had to battle heavy rainfall due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew not too far away.

kings-mountain-5

Loretta Cozart, Regent of Colonel Frederick Hambright Chapter Daughter of the American Revolution,  Calvin Lee, Rita Lee, Anthony Lee, Gwen Huckstep, Brigadier General Gorham, John Slaughter, Patricia Wright and Arthur Broady are pictured at the dedication of the marker honoring African American Patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain Friday. Family members, above, participated in the impressive ceremonies.

Now Back to the Learning Center

We  plan to set up a Skype session tomorrow (Tuesday) with the Jefferson Elementary School’s K-Kids. With some good fortune there will be some students from both Jefferson and the Learning Center speaking to one another.Jefferson Elementary Pen PalFriday, I had the pleasure of updating my Kiwanis Club on the “Friends of Copey’s” accomplishments and progress in 2016. These presentations always provide me a

zzzKiwanismajor sense of pride. Several members in the audience have been and continue to be direct and active “Friends”. This made the presentation even more satisfying. I am looking for additional opportunities to present to other local Kiwanis Clubs.

Autumn Leaves…Colors of Life!

October…we are here! In American football terms, we are now into the fourth quarter of our school year and eager to have this final stage be as wonderful and great as the rest of the year.

I have two updates for you in this Post. First, I spoke well of Roberto a couple Posts ago. He was one of the two volunteer teachers at the Learning Center on board to help up get to the end of the school year. I have been informed that he had to return to Canada due to some personal illness he began encountering. This is unfortunate but we wish Roberto quick and complete improvement and possibly he may return to Copey one day to resume his work. Jessica, our other volunteer teacher continues and is being supported by Joe, a local Peace Corps volunteer along with Ana Yancy helping with the teaching duties as well.

Spelling Bee Candidates

Mariana in the Middle

My second update is actually a correction. I posted the photo of Mariana last week and the photo was not Mariana. So this week, I present to you the real Mariana who is waiting eagerly to get back into the Spelling Bee Competition scheduled later this month.

Special Note to Mariana:

“Mariana, you are in our prayers! Win or lose, we are proud of your achievements!”
Dr. Lin Church, MD

In other news, I will be attending with family and friends the dedication of a Marker commemorating the service of my grandfather (sixth removed) who was the Battle ofIMG_0831 (2)

Kings Mountain in South Carolina later this week. As part of the National Parks Service’s 100 year anniversary, grandfather John Broady together with two other known Afro-Americans. Several un-identified Afro-Americans will also be memorialized for their service and contributions to the American Patriots’ success at the battle of Kings Mountain.