Our Community - Mirla Ancona - "A 'sign' of success in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 46            November 28, 2002

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Mirla Ancona

Many times people who have handicaps are regarded as "special needs" and seen by society as people who must rely on others. This, of course, is not necessarily so. To prove this, The San Pedro Sun is honored to feature a young lady from our island who, in her short lifetime, has achieved what she has set out to do and keeps striving for more - Mirla Regina Ancona.

    On September 8th, 1980, Matilde and Marcelino Ancona Sr. (deceased) celebrated the birth of their youngest child - Mirla Regina. Mirla was the pride and joy of this San Pedro couple and her siblings: Alba, Marcelino Jr., Gladys and Martin. Tragically though, when Mirla was eight months old, she was diagnosed with meningitis and as a result of this malady, she lost her sense of hearing. Mirla's parents were determined to give their child the quality of life she deserved and vowed not to let her handicap interfere.

    On July 2nd, 1995, Mirla received a certificate from San Pedro Roman Catholic School for successfully completing eight years of elementary studies. Ms. Ancona then moved to Belize City where she attended the Belize Academy for the Deaf. Mirla excelled in her studies at this institution and in June of 1999, she graduated as valedictorian of her class. Mirla also participated in many national and international forums for hearing impaired children. In 1996, she attended the Children's Festival of Arts held at The Bliss Institute in Belize City. The following year she traveled to Spain for the Certamen Internacional de Danzas de Personas Sordas (an international dance competition for deaf people) hosted by the Agrupacion de Sordos de Zaragoza. In November 1998, Mirla Ancona became the first ever Miss Deaf Youth at a pageant held at the Government House in Belize City. Mirla and the other contestants were judged based on costume, sportswear, evening wear and a question and answer session.

    Determined to find a career for herself, Mirla enrolled in a one-year study program at The Center for Employment Training in Belize City. On July 9th, 2000, she completed the required courses and received Certificates of Proficiency in Catering, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality Management. In addition to this, Mirla also received a certificate from the Belize Deaf Youth Club for attending a three-day workshop on Leadership Training. 

    Confident that she was ready to enter the work force, Mirla returned to San Pedro and in 2001 was first employed as an assistant cook at Caliente Restaurant. She presently teaches hearing impaired children at La Isla Bonita Elementary School and also work as a cashier at Cathy's Store.

    Mirla, a very active young lady, still enjoys dancing and says she looks forward to meeting other deaf individuals and establishing friendships with them. Miss Ancona's advice to deaf children is, "You can do anything normal people can, except hear. Study hard and prove how very intelligent you are and, show people how Žnormal' you are, too!"

    Mirla Ancona hopes to continue her studies so she can better assist the hearing impaired population of San Pedro. She looks forward to one day fulfilling her dreams - owning a school for deaf children.

    Mirla Ancona has proven that determination is key to a persons' success. There is no doubt that her dreams will come true as she is ready to overcome any obstacle in her way. A very admirable individual, Miss Mirla Ancona is indeed a very "special," but definitely not "needy" person in "Our Community."

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