Literacy Day 2019 focuses on Multilingualism

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Under the theme “Literacy and Multilingualism,” International Literacy Day 2019 was celebrated in Belize by honoring literacy and multilingualism. Annually observed on September 8th, this year’s event was held on Friday, September 6th to ensure that schoolchildren were a part of the celebration.
The Ministry of Education, in conjunction with students San Pedro Roman Catholic School (SPRCS), New Horizons Seventh Day Adventist School and Holy Cross Anglican School (HCAS) met up at the San Pedro Town Library grounds for a short ceremony. Master of Ceremonies Philip Ramsey led the event by encouraging the gathered students to embrace the various languages spoken in tiny Belize. Students were reminded to take pride in being from a multicultural and multilingual country, highlighted by the National Prayer in Spanish, and a poem beautifully recited by HCAS student Zaasha Haulzes.
Two guests were tasked with sharing their experiences in multilingualism, focusing on the Garifuna and Maya. Eden Velasquez, the librarian, provided students with some fun games and even taught them to say a few Garinagu words! Associate Editor of The San Pedro Sun Mary Gonzalez shared her experiences in travel, writing, and the combination of both to provide travel writing that focuses on the beauty of Belize and her cultures. The students also had the chance to write quick short stories afterward.
Students were also taken to the San Pedro House of Culture, where they were able to witness a display of the Yucatec Maya and Garifuna cultures of Belize. Education Officer Odelia Caliz was pleased with the event, which annually serves as an opportunity to highlight improvements in literacy rates, and bringing to the forefront the need for literacy in a world where there are around 7,000 living languages. Reading and communicating means lifelong learning opportunities, and we must embrace and encourage it for everyone.

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