excuse used by many for not getting involved more in this community has been "I
really don't have the time." This week, the San
Pedro Sun brings to you a young resident of the
island that, although he has a full time job, has also MADE time for others and
to do the things he enjoys most - Hermojenes "Moncho" Acosta.
Moncho was born in the peaceful village of San Pedro on
August 5th, 1966. He enjoyed
a very happy childhood with his five brothers and two sisters. Moncho attended
San Pedro Roman Catholic School and San Pedro High School graduating in 1984.
Immediately after graduation, Moncho went to work as a cashier at the Ice House
and then as an insurance salesperson. One year later, Moncho was given the
opportunity to teach at the Roman Catholic School. At first he was skeptical but
ended up giving it a try. His first class, Teacher Moncho recalls, was Standard
III. He was immediately inspired and developed a great liking for his students
and for the teaching profession. Starting out as a "pupil" teacher, Moncho knew
he had room for improvement and began studying for his First Class Teacher's
Degree. Mr. Acosta spent thirteen years as a pupil teacher, in actuality-a
student himself, learning more every day. After taking the required exams which
included child psychology, practice teaching, methodology and various other
subjects, he was certified as a First Class Teacher in 1998. Sixteen years
later, Teacher Moncho still works with the children of San Pedro Primary School
as if it were his very first day. He continues to expand his knowledge of
teaching through study and is presently enrolled in a "distant" education
program at the University of Belize. In addition to his day job, Mr. Acosta also
tutors English as a second language to adults in the evenings.
Moncho is also known as the "Chef Pepin" of San Pedro.
During his high school days, he was the main "chef" for the school's fundraiser.
Barbecuing became a hobby for him and so many of his friends enjoyed his cooking
that they suggested he share his delectable cuisine with the residents and
tourists. He took their advice and started selling chicken barbecue every
Saturday and Sunday from outside his father's grocery store on Caribeña Street.
This finger-licking enterprise soon became a great success and shortly after,
Moncho increased his menu to include pork chops, ribs and lobster. Now, even
more people have the opportunity to sample Chef Moncho's creations as he
provides his savory barbecue at many traditional functions such as the Costa
Maya Festival and Dia de San Pedro festivities. His proudest culinary moment
came though, when he was awarded second prize in Belize's Kraft Cooking
Competition for his succulent lobster and chicken barbecue. Moncho's food was
well received at this event as chefs from around the country presented their
creations using Kraft products. Today, Moncho's fine barbecue can also be
contracted for private parties.
Most recently, Mr. Acosta
has taken on yet another project. Earlier this year he was approached by the
principal of the elementary school to head the Scouts Association of San Pedro.
Full of energy and being a true leader, Moncho was deemed the perfect candidate
for this position. Mr. Acosta was willing to oblige. He felt that by instilling
leadership skills and values in the children they would be encouraged to engage
in healthier activities. In order to prepare for this new task, Moncho traveled
to Belize City and completed the courses required by the Scouts Association.
Already his group is active with 23 very eager members. Through this medium,
Moncho invites children between the ages of 10 and 15 who are interested in
joining the Scouts to contact him. "The more, the merrier," commented Mr.
Hermojenes Acosta is determined and has shown
that, indeed, one can accomplish anything they set their mind to. He is an
exemplary educator, loved and respected by the many children and adults of this
island. Chef Moncho is a wonderful cook, dedicated to his "hobby," and assures
that his clients are satisfied. He is also a leader who hopes to make a
difference in the lives of many young people of this island. All in all,
whatever role you see him in, Moncho Acosta is a fine example of the leadership
spirit that keeps the people of "Our Community" cookin'!