“Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace” – Confucius

RESTORE Belize is proud to announce that our three 4th form I AM BELIZE Scholarship students have completed their high school degrees and are moving forward into futures filled with the promise of success.

Louise Wagner, age 17, Dion Cacho, age 16, and Shemar Rowland, age 18, sat down with us for an interview over lunch and a celebration of their accomplishments.

Louise Wagner, a fresh graduate of Wesley College, aspires to be a nurse and will pursue her degree at the University of Belize after she completes her internship which was arranged through the scholarship program.  

“I learned a lot. [The scholarship programme] opened me up to new surroundings and teaches me to never give up.” She recounted a time when her program officer, Roger Bradley, and school liaison officer, Judith Enriquez, stepped in to help her stay on track. “One spell I felt like giving up, and they showed me I shouldn’t – despite the circumstances.”

When asked about the scholarship club, a bi-weekly meet-up for life skills sessions and bonding among the scholarship students, she admitted that she was originally looking forward to it as an after-school class to help with her academic workload, but upon realizing that the focus was on personal development, she acknowledged that “it is a good activity to get close to people, a good thing for youths.”

And another of those beneficiary youths, Dion Cacho, recently graduated from St. John’s College where he was an active member of the football team. Dion aspires to be an accountant as, in his observation, “the lack of accountants in the city creates an opportunity.” Plus, he is good in Math.

Dion, like the other two graduates, is in our internship programme for the summer, and he says he will continue working over the break to build up finances for 6th Form. The future accountant described his experiences with the scholarship programme as beneficial both “mentally and financially because if [my program officer] didn’t talk to me about things, I’d keep it in and not say anything.” When asked to elaborate he added that “in third form I was failing literature and Mr. Roger, being the mentor, spoke to me about it and encouraged me to stay in school.”

During lunch Dion kept sneaking glances at the World Cup match showing on a nearby TV and elaborated on his time on the football team. He spoke on the camaraderie that being in a team like that builds and drew comparisons to the bonds forged in the scholarship club after school. “Scholarship club was very helpful in building friends. Without the scholarship club, I wouldn’t have known any of [the other recipients].”

Shemar Rowland, graduate of Anglican Cathedral College, like Dion, wants to enter into the field of accounting. He reasoned that “I want to be an accountant because I am good in Math, so I’d like to hone my skills more to deal with business.”

Shemar has been with RESTORE Belize from he was a Standard 6 student in our first cohort of Metamorphosis children. The Metamorphosis project, funded by UNICEF Belize, is intended to build resiliency in young socially vulnerable boys. When reflecting on his time through our programme, Shemar shared his appreciation of his social worker who helped see him to high school.

“When I graduated from primary school, I didn’t go to high school. I had to do a preparatory school first. Miss Stephanie helped me.” He continued “It helped because when I was in primary school my mom died, and we couldn’t afford it… then I got a scholarship, graduated from primary school and then high school, and I made my grandmother proud.”

Shemar, Dion, and Louise made us all at RESTORE Belize proud, too. We extend our warmest, most heartfelt congratulations to these budding professionals and are looking forward to welcoming our next group of students for this incoming year!