Alumni Banquet Tickets part 2–how to pay

One of my facebook friends asked how to send the $ for the alumni tickets.

Please send to Alumni Tickets, c/o Dale Graves, 6398 E Hendricks County Rd, Mooresville, IN, 46158.

No, I’m not there, but Sylvia will get the mail and bring the $ to Belize.

I was trying to think of something clever to say about the misuse of the address above for other purposes, but it escapes me right now. Sorry. So if you are one of those people scouring the internet for snail mail addresses, please send $15 for an alumni ticket.

Alumni Banquet

Alumni Banquet Ticket

Last spring we started the tradition of an annual Alumni Banquet for Friends School. We had a great meal and a wonderful time with the few people who were in attendance.

This year Ms Candi and Ms Maggie have designed things a little differently.  They think this event should be as much about raising money for the school as it is about having a great time together.  In that spirit they have printed 150 tickets and assigned the responsibility of selling them.

I, of course, thought that I could get off scott-free, but no, and I quote, “You can sell them to your friends, they don’t actually have to attend.” This statement was followed by a big smile.

Here’s the deal. You buy a ticket for $30 Bz ($15 US).  I send you the ticket. If you want to come, you get a flight to Belize for May 28 and come to the banquet. Don’t forget your ticket.  If you cannot come to Belize you have supported the Friends School with a donation and kept me out of the doghouse.

If you choose to participate, please get your $15 to Sylvia before she comes down on the 17th and I will put your ticket in an envelope that she will mail you when she gets home on the 24th.  For those of you who have gotten all excited and already purchased your airline tickets, just let me know and your ticket will be held for you at the entrance.

Oh, about the “cash bar.”  I saw the ticket and said to Ms Candi, “Cash bar? Are we selling booze?”  She said, “No, soft drinks, I just didn’t know any other way to say it on the ticket.”  So now you know.

In a more serious tone, we are concerned that some of our student’s parents, who are also invited, and some of our alumni cannot afford $30 Bz to come to the banquet. We have decided that we will sell some discounted tickets to folks who want to come and can’t afford it.  Your purchase will help cover the cost for one of those people. Thanks.


Field Day

Our athletic conference sponsors ‘sports day’ as its last event of the season.  It is mostly track and field events (100, 200, high jump, etc) with a few other events thrown in (egg toss, water balloon toss, and watermelon eating).  This year I let the students take photos with my camera.  I will offer no narrative, what follows is montage of photos taken by the students. Have fun.

Remember that you can see any photo full size by clicking on it.

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start of distance race

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Harrison and Cion prepared for 3 legged race.

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Gang Followup

I suspect the regular readers of this blog would like some followup to the last posting.

First of all, there has been no immediate revenge.  I can only assume that a whole lot of folks are working on this behind the scenes. Of course that includes us at Friends School.

All the students are back at school except Egbert, the boy who was threatened. It would probably be safe for him but his mom is still not comfortable sending him.  We will continue to be in touch with Egbert and with his mom.

I received more comments on this blog than on any other. I also received several emails. They fell into two categories: (1) we are praying for you and holding you up in the Light of Christ and (2) here’s what you need to do. Response #1 was super helpful.  Yes, I believe that “the fervent prayers of a righteous person availeth much.”

In response to the persons who offered suggestions:  We continually emphasize to our students that God does offer them a life beyond gangs-a life that is wonderful and fulfilling. We also, for 20 years, have established the school as a gang free zone.  Students from both red and blue ares have attended our school since it began. Ms Candi, our principal, is very emphatic at the beginning of the year that this school will not tolerate gang activity. She knows the gang symbols of dress, haircuts, hand signals, etc. and is consistent in addressing those issues. Thank God she grew up on the south side and is fully aware of the situation and has lots of people who love her and keep her in the loop when “stuff” is happening.


Each Friday morning we have “Friday worship.” I have very little to do with it.  I find the readings for the day and I am expected to give a 5 minute “message.” Ms Candi, Ms Darcel, and the students plan the rest of it, including picking out the songs for the day.

We have a standard order of worship: A group reading of a call to worship which is projected on the wall; a song, a scripture reading, a short meditation, and a prayer, all lead by students; a time of sharing of joys and concerns; another song, a short message by me, a time of quiet worship after the manner of Friends, and a closing by Ms Candi.

The gang issue was present but not prominent in the time of sharing of joys and concerns. My message was about a real, living, powerful God who loves us and who we can know personally.

I don’t know if Ms Candi or the students picked it out but the closing consisted of singing “Lean on Me” followed by the Lord’s Prayer.  The students participated with enthusiasm in both. It was perfect.

The Gangs

There are many gangs in Belize City (12 active at last count) mostly divided into two groups, blue and red.

For the past several months the violent activity in Belize city has been pretty dormant.

Last week we got word that Jaheim, one of our students, had been told by the George Street gang, where he lives, that in order to be initiated into the gang he would have to do bodily harm to Egbert. Egbert is another one of our students who happens to be from a “blue” area. The George Street gang is one of the “red” gangs.

Ms Candi confronted that situation head-on in class and we thought we had it under control.

Then on Saturday night four members of the George Street gang were down in Dangriga where gunfire erupted. The leader of the George Street gang was killed. I’m getting mixed signals about whether another of the gang was killed but at least one other of the group was injured, maybe more.  Immediately the word went out and all the night clubs and bars in Belize City were closed down for fear of immediate retaliation.

Yesterday morning Ms Candi was on the phone from 5:00 am talking with parents from our school.  Egbert had been threatened that if he showed up at school yesterday, it would be his last.  Ms Candi told him to stay home and he will probably stay home until we decide differently.

Harrison also stayed home.  He is from a ‘red’ area but he has to walk through a good bit of ‘blue’ territory to get to school.

Jahiem, mentioned above, who is trying to decide how badly he wants in the gang because his best friends are in it, also did not come to school yesterday.  I saw him riding his bicycle with a gang member.

At the end of the school day we were at athletic practice when Ms Candi got a call and went back to school. Persons from the Ministry of Education wanted to talk with her and gave her some free advice about how she should handle things. (She was a little miffed.)

After she returned, we took the half dozen students home from discus practice advising them to just go home and stay there for the evening.  Everyone is on pins and needles right now.  There will be retribution but no one knows who, when, where or how.

Prayers are welcome. I mean it.

What a Day

KREM (1 of 12)KREM (2 of 12)As many of you know, I have a cold and yesterday morning I woke up about 2:30 from my own coughing. I was unable to get back to sleep even though I knew it was going to be a very busy day. So I spent the next couple of hours working on paperwork for stuff at school. I had hoped I would get sleepy but that didn’t happen. At 5:00 I began my usual morning walk along the sea, all the time aware that I had to be ready to go a little earlier than usual.
KREM (3 of 12)Following the morning walk there was a quick shave and shower and at 7:20 Ms Candi and I were headed off to the KREM TV station.

We have been using a computer assisted language program provided by Restore Belize and we have had some pretty good success with it so Ms Candi was invited to the morning show to do an interview, along with three other people, about the program.

KREM (4 of 12)

Getting prepared

We waited only a few minutes KREM (5 of 12)before Ms Candi and the other interviewees were put at the desk and were “miked up.” The interview lasted about 15 minutes. Ms Candi handled herself like a real pro.



KREM (1 of 1)

Egbert in the computer lab

KREM (7 of 12)Luckily I had a few photos of our students working in the computer lab on the language program. The photos were on my computer and I was able to quickly transfer them to a flash drive so they could be shown on the screen at various times during the interview.

KREM (8 of 12)

World health day presentations

Immediately following the interview we proceeded to a presentation at the Biltmore Hotel for world health day. The conversation was about diabetes prevention. There were several people who presented. Most of them read their powerpoint presentations. I quickly get bored by people who put up powerpoint slides and them read them to the audience and my lack of sleep overnight was catching up with me.  I may have napped a little.

Ms Candi asked that we return to school for a little while before proceeding to the next meeting of the day.  We returned to school and she spent a little time changing her presentation for the afternoon workshop–so she would not be reading her powerpoint slides.

KREM (11 of 12)

Ms Candi was great in the afternoon presentation.

KREM (10 of 12) By 1:00 we were in a another meeting where Ms Candi was one of the presenters. It was also about the computer assisted language program.  Ms Candi did very well. She was scheduled for 10 minutes and used 9. She gave a good plug for Friends School and one of the people at the head table picked up an application for our Adult school to give to an acquaintance of hers.  (woohoo)

At this program a couple from Jamaica were the featured speakers. They had used the program successfully in Jamiaca (and were more than 50 miles from home–you know that old joke, right?), so they were brought in as the experts.  They were actually quite good.

At the end of that presentation, I had to know. I went up to speak with the Jamaican presenters and after a few other people finished speaking with them I asked, “Do you know any Quakers in Jamaica?”

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Mrs Norma and Mr Elroy Ricketts, the presenters

They both said “no” and then the wife, Ms Norma, said, “But my sister went to Highgate  to school.” I was pleased to hear that and we visited a bit about my visit to Jamaica with the FUM board.

By then it was 4:00.  I had promised the students that we would practice shot and disc after school but school lets out at 3:30 so I really didn’t expect any of them to still be there when we returned. But no, there were 6 young men just waiting for us to go to practice. We practiced for about an hour and then delivered the boys near their homes.

By the time I got home, made some dinner and had a chance to eat while watching the update on the Masters golf tournament, it was 8:15. Close enough. I went to bed–and slept until 4:50 this morning.

Blessings to you all.