The effect teachers have on the lives of students can last for an eternity. Years after graduating from school, one might remember that one quote a certain teacher made; that one quote that maybe changed your life. Teachers play an exceptional role, where would our doctors, lawyers, pilots, receptionists, etcetera be without someone who was there providing them with the necessary tools to get ahead in life. This week, we proudly introduce an individual who has always had a love for children and after years as an educator now helps readers imparting the love of books – San Pedro Town’s librarian Iracela Acosta.
On February 18th, 1966, San Pedro saw the birth of baby Iracela Nuñez. Along with parents, Teody and Alberto, Ira, as she is fondly known, grew up in a close knit and loving family with her three brothers (one deceased). “The freedom we experienced then was far greater than the one we have today,” she comments of the days she spent frolicking in the Caribbean beauty that Mother Nature offered.
Ira attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School and after graduating at the age of 13, she was enrolled at San Pedro High School. At that time, the school’s grounds were located where the San Pedro Town Council building is located today. Successfully passing her grades, Ira then moved on to her last two years of school, taking the Business Administration courses. Her last year was held where the Alijua Building is located today, “When a student moved up the grades, the fourth year or fourth form was located at that building.” Ira graduated from San Pedro High in June of 1984.
Shortly after graduating, Ira got a fulltime job at Maya Airways as the company’s receptionist. As such she would not only carry out her secretarial duties but would handle the reservations department as well. After a few months, Ira moved to the offices of Langdon Supply, a real estate office, where again she was the business’ secretary.
On December 14th, 1986, Ira joined her life in holy matrimony with her high school sweetheart, Mario Ricardo Acosta. The couple are now the proud parents of Alexa Ricela, a beautiful and bouncy one year five month old baby girl.
While at Langdon, Ira heard from a family friend that teachers were being sought by the San Pedro Roman Catholic School. She thought, as many youths think, that trying it out would not hurt. After applying, she got the job. It was Ira’s dream job, she worked with the younger classes and her love for children was apparent in her patient and fun manner of teaching her students. Ira loved her new position so much that she remained in the teaching profession for the following 15 years. During that time, she sat and passed the Teacher’s examinations and attended the various workshops required.
Unfortunately, the Nuñez family hit a bump in the road when Ira’s mother fell ill. After 15 years as an educator, Ira left San Pedro Roman Catholic School to tend to her mother. After a short period, her mother recovered and Ira opened a book and stationary store called Books and Dreams. Her own business allowed her the time to dabble into the arts and crafts field and soon she was creating beautiful handicrafts to sell from her store.
In 2003, Ira found out that the San Pedro Town’s librarian was about to resign and the library was looking for a replacement. She figured again, why not, and applied. After an interview, Ira proudly took over the reigns of the library.
Today, the library is in the best shape ever. Space has been expanded and now the library is divided into a Children’s and Adult’s section, the book collection has quadrupled, and their various programs assist the community each day. Programs now incorporated include computer and tutoring classes, reading and writing contests, summer programs and various arts and crafts workshops. “Although much has been accomplished there is still a whole lot that we want to fulfill. We receive minimal funding and with the many plans we have for the community, donations are always welcome,” she explains.
This past weekend on March 3rd, 2007, the San Pedro Library held the first ever Library Radiothon. Not only were pledges accepted but a bake and t-shirt sale was organized. The day was a fun filled event with great skits, entertaining monologues and delightful music. “That is one of the many activities we have planned for the year. 2007 is just beginning and we have many surprises for the children of the island. We want them to learn to love reading and that is our biggest campaign for this year,” Ira stated.
In her free time, Ira enjoys, what else, reading. She immerses herself in romantic, mystery and suspense filled books. Without hesitation she exclaims, “Children have always been my life and being able to help them is my goal. Being a teacher allowed me to see the importance of teachers and seeing their eyes light up when they learn is absolutely amazing,” she ended.
Always one to share her time with children, one to impart the wonderful world of books and one completely dedicated to her work, Iracela Acosta keeps brightening the minds of “Our Belize Community.”