Monday, July 22, 2024

ACES celebrate another successful gala fundraiser at Palapa Bar and Grill


Under the theme ‘A Taste of Belize,’ Ambergris Caye Elementary School (ACES) hosted its annual gala fundraiser at Palapa Bar and Grill on Saturday, March 9th raising over $40,000 in donations. The charity event is organized to assist the non-government school with its costs of operation and their Special Needs Program. The dinner gala included generous donations by local restaurants, several items up for auction and raffle along with live music.
Guests arrived as early as 5PM to the event and while they mingled, some placed bids on their choice of many items up for silent auction. They also purchased raffle tickets for an opportunity to win fabulous prizes. Some of these included sunset cruises, lodging at luxurious beach resorts, tours and even fine dining at an exclusive restaurant on the island. Attendees were also informed that later in the evening, there would be a live auction with even more great prizes.
During dinner, ACES’ administrator Denice Ryan thanked everyone for attending the event and spoke about the importance of the fundraiser. She shared that if it were not for some of the generous donations they receive, it would be difficult to continue operating and offering the best education possible to the island children. Principal Amanda Burgos also thanked everyone for their support and gave the attendees an overview of the activities at the school. Burgos guided everyone’s attention to a projector screen featuring images and videos of the many educational activities the school engages in with the students. The audience applauded loudly when Burgos shared details of certain activities, such as their ban on foam products and plastic water bottles. According to her, this makes their school and students more environmentally aware and as such, the issue of garbage is minuscule. “We recycle as much as we can, we do not believe in single-use plastic,” said Burgos. She also mentioned that ACES’ staff continues to be trained in special education from the University of Wisconsin USA to continue the efficient work in their Special Needs Program, where students are screened for learning disabilities and placed in normal classes.
Following a delicious dinner, it was time for the highlight of the evening; the live auction hosted by Robert Burrows of Crazy Canucks. His humorous style got the buyers going as he auctioned fabulous items like night stays at fancy hotels on the island, water adventures, private charters to the Blue Hole, snorkeling and sailing trips, among others. At the end of the night, between the live bidding and silent auctions, ACES was able to raise a good amount of funds that will go towards the operation of the school.
ACES was established in 2010 and has been operating as a non-profit community school that does not receive any assistance from the Government of Belize besides textbooks. The school began with 24 students and now hosts 106. In 2018, ACES inaugurated its new two-story building. The new facility is equipped with a classroom and conference space on the upper floor, along with two classrooms and a kitchen/cafeteria on the ground level.
Organizers of the event would like to thank everyone who attended and gave so generously to the cause. They thank the several businesses that provided the food: Gingers Garden, Aji Restaurant, Pur, Vieux Carre Cafe, Paradice Cream, Carlo & Ernies Runway, Marbucks, and The Chocolate Factory. Special thanks also go out to Jodie and Scott Harnish for hosting the event at Palapa Bar and Grill, Krista Agramonte, Robert Burrows, Dorette Pelotte, Carolyn Malham, Ann Thompson, Carlin Coherst, Rom Ryan and Amy Jenkins. ACES also acknowledge the different businesses that donated their goods and services to be auctioned. These include: Island Dream Tours (Yolo), Ginger’s Garden, ATM Cart Rental, Heaven’s Salon, Mesa Restaurant, Coco Locos, Sandy Toes, CG Esthetics, Seaduced, Aquarius, Elvi’s Kitchen, Palapa Bar and Grill, Carlo and Ernie’s Runway Bar, Sea Star Dive Shop, Transylvania Movie Rentals, Wayo’s, Portofino, Rojo Restaurant and Bar, Croc’s Bar and Grill, Vieux Carre Cafe, Castaway Caye, Ramon’s Divers, Tropic Air, Haydee Lu Studios, Just Relax, Searious, Carts Belize, Art of Touch Spa, Caye Coffee, Hidden Treasure, The Palms, Blue Water Grill, El Patio, Amigos Del Mar, C Jewels, Marbucks, Day-Dreamin’ Bed and Breakfast, The Nook, Connie and Bill Law, Sparadise, Belize Pro Divers, Artist Chuy, Victoria House, Paint and Splash from Melody Wolfe, Fast Cars, Pink, Maya Air, Marcel Tours, 12 Belize, Portofino, Xsite Belize, and Mirab.
Additionally, the school thanks their hard-working staff, who worked diligently in organizing the event.

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