Preparing Boys for Life.
Learning through giving: first grade partners with school in Belize
Learning through giving: first grade partners with school in Belize

First graders kicked off their annual service project with Sacred Heart Elementary School in Belize by exchanging thoughts about the values of our respective communities. Haverford School boys went on a tour of campus to help define what it means to exhibit the School's core virtues. They stopped at the Walk of Virtues, admired plaques in the Field House about what it means to be a champion, marveled at the older boys' names on the Honor Council Chairman plaque, and met with Headmaster John Nagl beneath the headmaster portraits in the Upper School for a brief history of the School's leadership.

"This project includes diverse activities that teach the boys to celebrate the differences in all people," says Mary Lou Gallagher, first-grade teacher. "Reflecting on Haverford's values allows the boys to look inward, exploring how our school supports a community that demonstrates respect and inclusivity."

The boys have learned about the culture and hobbies of their Belize peers; they enjoy playing with balls and skipping rope, and they speak many different languages at home, including Garifuna, Spanish, English, Chinese, Kriol, and Kekchi. Students at Sacred Heart Elementary School also enjoy treats of popcorn, Johnnycakes, bread pudding, sweet rolls, the occasional orange, and ideals (frozen juice bars).

I feel like the kids could have a better life with our help. It makes me feel really good when I help other people. My heart goes "boom!" – it just goes crazy! Elliot McCurdy, first grade

Haverford's first-graders will also raise money to help build shaded areas for Sacred Heart students, something they said would allow them to play and eat outside when it is 90 degrees or hotter – a common occurrence in this area of Central America.

"I feel like the kids could have a better life with our help," says first-grader Elliot McCurdy. "It makes me feel really good when I help other people. My heart goes "boom!" – it just goes crazy!"

Last year, Haverford's first graders helped fund 90 handmade desks for Sacred Heart. The partnership is facilitated by Dr. Geoffrey Dillon, founding Director of Project Learn Belize and Director of Field Placements for Teacher Education Department at the University of San Francisco.