Our Community - Alex Noralez - "The Singing Scholar of San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 46            December 11, 2003

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Alex Noralez

Ambergris Caye is an island that possesses a vast amount of people of different ages, backgrounds, personalities, characters and hobbies. Everyone has their own unique ways and this makes for a variety of occupations and lifestyles. Some people do extraordinary things to make their lives exciting, striving to become dancers, musicians or singers while others prefer to just be calm and laid back. This week, The San Pedro Sun is pleased to introduce a man who has chosen to spend his life in San Pedro and has gone that extra mile to be an outstanding individual in our community - Teacher Alex Noralez.

    Alex Noralez was born on March 21st, 1978, in the Stann Creek District of southern Belize, to Yolanda Noralez and Emilio Cruz (deceased). He was raised with four brothers, which made for a very active childhood, full of play. At the age of four years, his family moved to San Pedro Town. Alex was immediately enrolled at San Pedro Roman Catholic School, where he joined the Cub Scouts. He moved steadily up the Scouting ranks, from Cub Scout to Boy Scout and then from Venture Scout to Patrol Leader. Alex was also very active in sports, especially football and recalls when his mother would whip him for ignoring certain chores for which he was responsible, all because of his love of the game. In 1992, Alex graduated from San Pedro Roman Catholic School still possessing a love for football and much devotion to the Scouts.

    Entering San Pedro High School, Alex continued his love affair with football. However over the next two years, he started to lose interest in the sport. Alex was also only a couple of merit badges away from achieving the highest rank in scouting - Queen Scout - but decided to leave the Scouts.

    At last, he finally had time to focus on the only other thing that inspired him, which was singing. Alex had always dreamed of following in his brother's footsteps. A famous recording artist in Honduras, Carlos Roberto Gutirres Noralez (now deceased), was known as "Carlos Colera" from his first hit song "La Colera". Alex was determined to become a musician and without delay, he approached his principal and pleaded for the school to implement a music program as an extracurricular activity for the students. During his third year of high school, his wish came true. The music program became operational and Alex was assigned the task of bandleader and vocalist. As the band grew better and stronger, they performed more and more. Establishing a type of high school band foreign exchange program with a high school in the US, the band traveled to Virginia, performing at different schools across the state.

    On June 16th, 1996, Alex graduated with honors from San Pedro High School, ranking third in his entire graduating classes. Although he was accepted at five other private colleges, due to financial challenges, Alex accepted an opportunity to attend Nelson County High School in Virginia. At Nelson he could "re-do" his senior year and thereby increase his chances of entering college on an athletic scholarship.

    As fate would have it, around this same time, Alex received word that his mother was very ill and had become bed ridden. Alex returned home, only to see his father suddenly pass away. Following these heartbreaking circumstances in his life, Alex resolved to remain in Belize and began looking for a job to support himself and his family.

    Alex landed his first job at the Belize Yacht Club, but soon decided that it was not the type of job he really wanted. Contacting his godfather Mr. Felix Ayuso Sr. for advice, the man offered him a job as a taxi driver, and Alex accepted without hesitation. He drove taxi for two years (1997/98) before purchasing his first vehicle. All that time though, Alex was still very much into his music and continued to practice with his fellow band members. The following year, his common- law-wife Silvia Cucul gave birth to a little baby girl named Vivian Noralez.

    Encouraged by his friend Collin Williams, Alex next made a decision to continue his education, so in August of 2000, he enrolled at San Pedro's newly formed junior college. Always at the top of his class, Alex worked tirelessly, giving his all so he could someday make a comfortable living and a nice life for his family. Two years later, Alex graduated second in his class and was also named San Pedro Junior College's first Salutatorian. Immediately after graduation, he was offered a job teaching English Language and Literature at San Pedro High School, and of course he was asked to be the Music Class instructor as well.

    Starting from scratch at the beginning of the semester, Alex had a wonderful band going by the end of his first year of teaching. He told The San Pedro Sun, "I really encourage all young people to open their eyes and to follow their hearts. The door you choose to open that will lead you to all life's opportunities will always be waiting for you. It is up to you to find it and work hard for what you want in life. Only if you work hard and appreciate what you have, will you see that door of endless dreams; embrace your life with confidence."

    Above all, Alex Noralez thanks God for his gifts in life. He also gives special thanks to a number of other people such as: Trish Carter (May she rest in peace), Collin Williams, Phil Rigby, Tim Budd and David Aguilar (for everything they taught me about music). He also credits his family for always being there when he needed them, and all his past band members for giving him the courage to make a band and for the happiness they have brought him. He expressed much appreciation for Principal Angel NuŅez for believing in him.

    Alex Noralez is indeed an example of a self-made young man who is living a good life, educating and inspiring others through teaching and singing; and who continues to make a difference in the lives of many young people in "Our Community."

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