Our Peace Corps Teachers

uring our third year as a high school, in 1974, we applied to the government for a volunteer teacher. This had two main advantages for us. First, it ensured us with a qualified teacher, and secondly, it saved us money as we did not have to pay that salary - the US government did.

At the time, Belize was receiving about 40 Peace Corps Volunteers every year. These were all American citizens who served underdeveloped countries like Belize for a 2 year program. Peace Corps volunteers came with qualifications in teaching, agriculture, health, the arts, etc. and were deployed all over Belize.

Our first Peace Corps teacher was Jerry Doetzer, who taught science, biology and chemistry. Past students remember him fondly as a workaholic. During his stay with us he taught well, coached basketball, tutored drams, drilled the choir, staged Christmas plays, constructed a science laboratory, chaperoned the graduates, arranged the church for graduation and even cooked for the prom, danced carnivals, sold books, wrote school rules, repaired typewriters, fixed broken doors, organized fairs and took time to dance with his students at any school function.

Thereafter, we had some 12 to 15 more volunteers, none like Jerry, of course. He was too much. It is difficult to ask any one teacher to be all of that, but he did serve as an example of a teacher who did much and enjoyed what he did. He had professional pride.

When his 2 years were over, he never told us the exact date of his departure. He did not want a farewell. Then one day he suddenly disappeared without giving us his address. Anyway, "Thanks Jerry." We love you and remember you for what you are worth. Many other volunteers we have forgotten, but you are truly outstanding.

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