Ocean Academy was selected out of 350 applicants from more than 70 countries for UNICEF’s Sport in Education Award from Beyond Sport. Heidi Curry and Joni Miller traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa, to represent the Aquatic Tourism Program as a finalist among prestigious development organizations from around the world.
UNICEF Sport in Education Award
Heidi describes her experience: “It was humbling to join a speaking panel with one of the other finalists in our category who represents an organization with 15 year’s experience and 700 employees serving hundreds of thousands of young people in India . . . and then for little Ocean Academy to win! It took going across the globe to realize that we are doing truly unique work right here in Belize.”
The award recognizes Ocean Academy’s innovative approach to developing entrepreneurial and life skills through fly-fishing, scuba diving, and kayaking “physical education” classes. On weekends and holidays, students accompany visitors on kayak excursions and teach about the ecology and history of the island. They earn money for their families, their school fees, and the school. Ocean Academy develops workshops based on visitors’ evaluation forms. Skills are transferable to any future profession. Ocean Academy’s Aquatic Tourism Program is sponsored by a grant from the U.S. State Department.
UNICEF Sport in Education Award
Ocean Academy’s Environmental Club competed with high schools from across Belize in the National Sagicor Visionaries S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Competition. Ocean Academy’s certificate-winning project, entitled Caye Caulker Mangrove Action Plan, utilizes GPS and mobile phone app technology to educate and engage people in the protection of the fragile mangrove ecosystem connected to Belize’s Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Site located 1/4 mile from the island. Learn more.
National Youth Award for Environmentalism
Belize Department of Youth Services awarded Ocean Academy’s Aquatic Tourism program the National Youth Award for Environmentalism and Social Enterprise. Caye Caulker students are proud to be ecological ambassadors. This is the sixth national award received from Youth Services over the last five years.
Students, parents, teachers, Caye Caulker business leaders and villagers are proud to see their achievements and partnerships recognized by the media. See:
Belize’s Channel 5 Open Your Eyes: National television interview of Joni Miller and students Kevin Tzac and Johnny Cantun. The Ocean Academy segment begins at 1:06:52.
The San Pedro Sun: Ocean Academy receives two prestigious awards
Ambergris Today: Caye Caulker Ocean Academy Wins Awards for Aquatic Tourism
The San Pedro Sun: Caye Caulker’s Ocean Academy shortlisted for 2014 Beyond Sports Awards
The San Pedro Sun: Cayes well represented at the Belize Sagicor Visionary Challenge
A special thanks to:
- Ocean Academy Environmental Club Sponsor: Sarah Requena
- Forest and Marine Reserves of Caye Caulker: Ellen McRae and Tony Aguilar
- The businesses who give their time and equipment every week for the Aquatic Tourism Program:
- Toucan Canoe and Kayaks: Allie Ifield
- Belize Diving Services: Chip and Dani Petersen and instructors
- Anglers Abroad: Haywood Curry and alumni Kyle Requena
- KiteExplorer: Rodolphe MacKeene and instructors
International Aquatic Tourism sponsors:
- U.S. Embassy Belmopan
- Jackson Kayaks
If you want to help Ocean Academy School in Caye Caulker Belize with their amazing work, you can donate online. YOU can also show support by liking Ocean Academy facebook page and visiting Ocean Academy website.