Nothing Like The First Day

In a way, summer is a like a wave pulled all the way out to sea, and the first day of school is like that wave released in an enormous gush, crashing unto the shore all at once.

That was what happened today at schools all across Belize as students returned with crisply creased uniforms, sparkling white socks, screechy sneakers and all the hopes that come with any renewal.

Monica Bodden found out how it was going at St. Joseph 's Primary.

Monica Bodden, Reporting
It's the first day of school and for the Principal of St Joseph Primary School, it should be one of the most important days of the new school year for her students.

Gloricila Torres - Principal of St Joseph School
"The first day of school should be a happy day for our students because what you put in for the first day the children will never forget so we encourage our teachers to ensure that they have a beautiful classroom to welcome our children especially newcomers coming in to the infants as well that they will never forget their first day of classes."

There was a plan set in place this morning which made things much easier for parents to find their child's classroom.

Gloricila Torres - Principal of St. Joseph School
"We had a school plan, it was a plan where the parents can look at the plan of the building and they knew exactly where the building were, where the classes were and every teacher was requires to put their list up so that when the parents come in they know exactly where to check for the names of the children so that they know which class the child belongs."

These are the students of Infant 1 - class 1 - at St Joseph Primary School - they have just graduated from kindergarten and now it's their first day at a big school.

Monica Bodden
"Now you care to tell me how is your first day at school?"

Edgwin Harry
"Good."

Monica Bodden
"What did you do today?"

Edgwin Harry, Student
"Color a book and play games."

Monica Bodden
"What kind of games you played today?"

Edgwin Harry
"Singing games."

Monica Bodden
"You learned any new song? I heard you singing just now, did you learn anything? Any new song?"

Edgwin Harry
"Yes ma'am."

Monica Bodden
"Wanna sing one for me?"

Edgwin Harry
"Yes ma'am."

Monica Bodden
"Which one you are going to sing?"

Edgwin Harry
"Humpty Dumpty."

Monica Bodden
"Let me hear you sing humpty dumpty."

Edgwin Harry
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, humpty dumpty had a great fall, all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put humpty dumpty back together again."

Even with 31 classrooms - the principal says they are fully enrolled.

Gloricila Torres - Principal of St. Joseph School
"The enrolment we had; we had children coming in this morning asking for a space. The space is very limited. It's a highly demanded school, we wish that we could help every parent that comes out of my office with a space but the spaces are not available."

Monica Bodden
"How many new students you guys have for this new school year?"

Gloricila Torres - Principal of St. Joseph School
"Roughly about 35 new ones who came in and some of them still coming in, we are waiting for their arrivals since they were away on trips."

Monica Bodden
"Well last year the enrolment was 917 and with 35 that should give us more, by Friday I should know more or less how many children we have in our school."

Here we are at a Standard 3 classroom -the students are all getting ready for a funeral. That's right - a funeral at school.

Class teacher Maria Pech - conducted an activity with her students called an "I Can't" Funeral.

Here's how it works: On a small piece of paper these youngsters each wrote down on thing they think they cannot do. When that was finished it was collected in this small box and then the students all set off into the schoolyard to bury them.

Monica Bodden
"Now Courtney tell me what you guys are actually doing at this time."

Courtney Matus - Student, St Joseph Primary School
"We are burying our 'I cant's'."

Monica Bodden
"Tell me a little bit about that? What did the class do to get all the "I can't" in that box."

Courtney Matus - Student, St Joseph Primary School
"Ok, well all we said about 'I can't' from last year what we couldn't do so we write it down on a piece of paper and we went to bury it."

Monica Bodden
"What was your 'I Can't?'"

Courtney Matus - Student, St Joseph Primary School
"I can't stop biting my nails."

And there is a new initiative on the agenda for St Joseph School. It's called Reach one - Teach one.

Gloricila Torres - Principal of St. Joseph School
"One thing we like to incorporate this coming school year; we want to ensure that our parents, our teachers, our students and the community at large be involve in a program that says 'reach one, teach one' whereby if you can read you can get somebody who maybe is not up to mark where you can help that child. So imagine if you reach one and you teach one, at the end of the year we'll have 100% literacy at St. Joseph School."

So far the school has 952 students.

Channel 7