P ersons who grew up in the 1940's and 1950's will have fond memories of this building. It was the first elementary school in San Pedro and the one and only school at the time.
'The San Pedro R.C. School was situated on a large beach lot located immediately in front of the police station. In the 1930's it was a 2-story building, but knocked down by the hurricane in 1942. The villagers, with the assistance, of the government, rebuilt the school using parts of the destroyed building and putting a new roof over it. It was an asbestos roof that filled 2 large wooden water tanks called "curbatos" or vats.
There was no fence around the building. Neither were there partitions to divide the building into classrooms. Large blackboards served as partitions to divide the school into 3 or 4 pans. Standards 4 and 5 and 6 were in the same room and taught by one single teacher. At the end of the building there was a large 3-foot high stage with a rolled up canvas curtain. Variety shows with acting and singing were held there and when an entertainer like a magician visited the island, the building became an auditorium. When the nuns visited the island annually, it was transformed into a church using an improvised altar and the school benched for pews.
The building was 3 to 4 feet high and on hot muggy days, our teachers would take us downstairs for reading or bible knowledge classes. Between the school and the sea there was at least 150 feet of beach, where we played softball using a tennis ball, and other beach games like El Lobo, Alza y pica la Zorra, Tun Tun de la Calavera, Azules y Amarillos, Campanita de Oro, Arranca Cebolla, Huracan, and my favorite, site agarro te beso. The beach was so wide that if anyone hit the ball into the sea, it would be considered a home run.
There were no cameras on the island then, so there are very few photographs of the villagers, the boys and girls at the school. In 1957 a Canadian couple visited the Island and became a great friend of several families on the island. The photo shown on right is the primary school facing the beach. The children on the steps could not be identified.
Four years later in 1961 Hurricane Hattie totally destroyed our beach school and we were temporarily housed at the church building and scout room, which served as our school for 2 years. In 1963 the new concrete Roman Catholic school was completed where it presently strands. It was a 1-story building then.
Twenty-five years ago salutes all persons who have played an active role in education throughout the history of Ambergris Caye. Education is indeed a noble task and one for giants.