Our Belize Community - Emil Vasquez

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 13            March 27, 2008

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Mr. Emil Vasquez is currently the acting Principal at San Pedro High School.

Education is key and it is now a necessity when thinking of applying for a job. What qualifications one may possess comes in great part from the institution attended. Institutions worldwide strive to make their students achieve their utmost potential. As in all businesses, professors usually excel in their careers and have the opportunity to move forward. One such professor began as the Science teacher at the San Pedro High School and, through his love for his job, has now achieved the post of Acting Principal. The San Pedro Sun proudly introduces Emil Roy Vasquez.

    On July 6th, 1967, Lydia and Marcial Vasquez welcomed their first born to this world. Born at San Felipe Village in the Orange Walk District, Emil truly remembers the carefree lifestyle that he, along with his two younger brothers, enjoyed. Emil was enrolled at the San Felipe Roman Catholic School but at the tender age of seven, he was uprooted from his San Felipe home and sent to live with his grandparents in Trinidad Village, Orange Walk. There he began his studies at the local elementary school and, unfortunately, a few years later, his grandfather suffered a stroke and Emil was sent to live with his mother in Orange Walk Town. There he continued his studies at St. Peter’s Anglican School and that, too, was tainted by tragedy again, when his stepfather suffered an accident. Emil had to be transferred once more to Trinidad Government School which is where he successfully completed his elementary schooling.

    Emil decided to continue his education, and through a government scholarship, received funding to get schooling at Muffles College. There he majored in the Academic program and fell in love with Biology and Chemistry. From a young age, his mother had instilled in him her hope of his becoming a doctor. This was the educational course that Emil wanted to continue. So, once he completed Muffles in June of 1984, and once again, through a government scholarship, he got accepted to Saint John’s College Junior College (SJCJC) in Belize City.

    At SJCJC, Emil continued in his Science venture and majored in the pertinent fields. In 1986, he graduated with honors and received his much deserved Associate’s Degree in Science. Prior to graduating, the Science faculty at SJCJC and Saint John’s High School, offered Emil a job as a Laboratory Assistant. After graduating, and after much consideration, he decided to take up the post. “I realized that because of my financial constraints, to become a doctor was not possible.” He enjoyed and worked hard at his position for the following two years. “I think that the work ethics that I received from my supervisor are the ones that I use now. He always had something to do, he would always keep me busy and work got done. I follow this now in my profession and even though at first I resented it, now I can not do without being always busy,” he explains.

    SJCJC is always looking for means and ways to help their staff, faculty and students to excel. Always offering new and better opportunities, SJCJC had a great one for Emil, one that he certainly could not deny, one that came with assistance from the United States Agency for International Development. On August of 1988, Emil traveled to Iowa where he attended the University of Northern Iowa, where he worked arduously to receive his Bachelor’s in Biology. At the University, he had the opportunity to get acquainted with fellow students from Nepal, Egypt, Japan and Latin America as Special Events Coordinator for the Foreign Students’ Association. Not only did he receive his education but the relationships that he formed were memories that he keeps to this day.

    Returning to Belize, Emil found himself at a standstill. “I thought that the job offers would be pouring in and they were not,” he explained, “and for the next year, I remained jobless.” Being jobless changed when he got a position at the Ministry of Health as a Primary Health Coordinator. His responsibility was to coordinate the health education efforts with the community health care workers. Shortly after he went to work as a Research Assistant for Hershey Food Limited at the Hummingbird Highway. There his duties included conducting tests for the production of the chocolate. He had to ensure that the production and final product was up to par to world standards and would be able to compete in the market. Emil had to research everything from the soil where the cacao trees were planted to harvesting to roasting and all the steps in between or after. Unfortunately, this, his dream job was cut short after eight months when the factory closed down.

    Emil, at the end of his education, had a game plan as to the possible jobs that he would be interested in carrying on. Teaching was not one of them, “I had seen my colleagues and the trouble they gave our professors along with the hours, the patience required, I just figured that that profession was not for me.” But, finding himself without a job, Emil ventured in the teaching profession and was instantly accepted by San Pedro High School who also offered him housing. How could he say no to that opportunity?

    In 1992, Emil stepped foot on San Pedro Town for the first time and has not left the island or San Pedro High School since. He began as teacher of General Sciences and Biology and throughout the years incorporated himself in other aspects of the school, including Sports Coordinator. Today, after 15 years, Emil is the Acting Principal, “I learned so much from Mr. Angel Nuñez and me, being offered this new post, was a surprise.” Not only has Emil instilled his love for the Sciences to his students but he has taught them to love sports and has given them the opportunities to excel in those extracurricular activities. “Extracurricular activities are highly important,” he stated, “it is key in giving youth a way to express themselves. It helps in their education tremendously. I would wish, though, that our town officials would understand that space is required to conduct these sports. The more avenues for the youth, the better off a community we can have.”

    Emil also found love in San Pedro Town. He was joined in matrimony to Zulma, on April 29th, 2002 and the couple are the loving parents to Emily (9), Camila (6) and Tatiana (5). In his free time, aside from enjoying quality time with his favorite women, Emil loves reading books on Food and Nutrition as well as Psychology.

    Being the Acting Principal at San Pedro High has demanded more time from Emil but it has also given him insight into a student’s life. Students come to me with their personal problems, you become in tune with them, not as students but as kids growing up. Considerate, understanding, loving but also a disciplinarian, Emil Vasquez has helped to mold the young adults in “Our Belize Community.”



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