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Adventures in Roatan!

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The summer proved memorable for Ms. Sherry Howey, Principal at Oscar Adolphson Primary School in Valleyview, and her daughter Sharley. The mother-daughter team visited Roatan this summer after Sharley visited the country last year with the Valleyview Teen Mission, "Sharley fell in love with the island and the people and wanted me to meet them and experience the island life."

During their stay, Sharley and Ms. Howey visited 6 rural schools and a boy's orphanage, where they were able to talk and play with the children and discuss the educational challenges teachers and schools in Roatan face.

"Teacher education is very difficult because once students have completed whatever level of education is available in their community they must travel to the bigger centres to get High School, and then to the mainland to attend University."

Differences in communities in terms of wealth, language and housing were evident. Some students spoke English very well which meant Sharley and her mom could talk to them about staying in school and following their dreams. Housing could be everything from a mud hut to concrete. Small farm animals occupied their yards.

They experienced a private school in Sandy Bay that uses curriculum from the United States and individual student programming. This school had more money because of the private school status and also had volunteers from the USA to help them.

In their final days the duo visited Crow Fish Rock where the students (and the teachers) were extremely excited to get backpacks and school supplies that Ms. Howey and Sharley had brought with them from Canada.

The rulers were most welcomed - most children had not had their own before. Teachers were happy to have class sets of scissors, glue and extra paper. Upon learning that the school did not have a printer, the mother-daughter team quickly took it upon themselves to secure 2 printers (no easy feat, one had to be ordered from the mainland and shipped to Roatan by ferry) - one for Crow Fish Rock and one for Pandy Town.

"There were countless memories of this experience that I hold dear," commented Ms. Howey. "I loved visiting the schools and talking to the teachers and students about the differences between the 2 countries both educationally and through everyday life. We have learned so many things. The world is different when the climate is warm all the time. Being close to the ocean provides for a beautiful place to live but does not always provide for the people the way we are used to."

Oh, the places you'll go! Whitecourt Career & Education Expo