Our Community - John Thompson - "Keeping the beat in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 8            March 6, 2003

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John Thompson

It is refreshing to see young people taking the initiative to share their skills with the youths of the community. Teenagers are full of energy and are anxious to put their vitality to use, but there are few good role models available to them. Teenage ambition can easily be led in the wrong direction. The challenge is, to guide these young people and mold them into productive citizens. This week The San Pedro Sun salutes a young man who has been sharing his musical abilities with the youth of San Pedro by involving them in a community marching band - John Thompson.

    Thirty-one-year-old John hails from the picturesque town of San Ignacio in the Cayo District. As a young child, John developed a keen interest in drums and started playing on his own, eventually becoming a percussion "pro". Following his schooling at Mopan Technical College, John was employed for three years at the Lands & Survey Department in San Ignacio doing field work (surveying). At the age of 19, John joined the Belize Defense Force. After dedicating four years to the Force, John went to work as a messenger for the San Ignacio Town Council. Throughout this time, John continued playing the drums whenever possible, participating in parades and other town functions. His talent for playing the drums was noticed by the owner of Ms. Pitts Band, (a marching band made up of young children and teenagers). John gladly accepted her offer to lead the group, and began instructing many interested youths in his area. The band received much recognition livening up parades and participating in other festivities.

    In 1995, John received an opportunity to vacation in Ambergris Caye and fell in love with the island life. During his visit, John accepted an offer to work as a security guard for Tarzan's Night Club. A very outgoing, amiable and personable individual, John also held jobs as a bartender at the Belize Yacht Club and the Pier Lounge, before joining the staff of the Hangover Bar at the Holiday Hotel.

    While witnessing a parade in San Pedro, John realized that he could add much entertainment to the community by introducing a marching band to the festivities. He contacted the San Pedro High School and in October of last year began teaching a large number of students from this institution. "I feel that today's youth are eager to learn a talent but there are very few opportunities for them. I am happy to volunteer my time to teach my gift to others," Mr. Thompson told The San Pedro Sun

    Today, San Pedro's Marching Band/Cheerleading Group consists of 42 elementary and high school students. John devotes his time, free of cost, four-days-a-week, three-hours-a-day to the members of the band. Already, this group has entertained in Belize City and Orange Walk and are presently preparing to compete in the National Marching Band Competition to be held in Belmopan in the near future.

    John, a full-time mixologist at the Holiday Hotel and volunteer band leader, lives in San Pedro with his "better half" of many years, Patricia Funes. He is also the proud father of five lovely girls: Felicia (11), Andrea (9), Karina (8), Marisha (3) and Aaliyah (1). "I live a pretty busy life between work, the band and my family. Nevertheless, I get a lot of satisfaction from these three full-time jobs. I encourage the young people to get involved in healthy sports and activities such as the marching band and also urge others to become leaders in motivating our young people," ended Mr. Thompson.

    Certainly an admirable man, John Thompson serves as a source of inspiration to many of our young children who, through the marching band, have added to the lively beat of "Our Community."

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