With the continuous growth of development in San Pedro comes the need for high levels of education on the island. In preparation for the new millennium, even persons that were neglected an education in the past are striving to maximize their academic skills. A person in San Pedro that always strives for the betterment of children and adults to achieve their goals in education is Mr. Frank Nuñez of St. Peter's Elementary and St. Peter's College.
Frank was born in Belize City on November 2nd, 1939, but lived with his parents in San Pedro where he attended the R.C. School up to Standard V level. He then moved to Belize City to Holy Redeemer School and consequently enrolled and graduated from St. John's College. After graduation, at the young age of 16, he started teaching infant level at Holy Redeemer Primary School. After five years, Frank moved onto another field working for the Belize Gas Company as an accounting clerk. Three years later he went to work as a customs broker and this lasted for eight years.
His call to the teaching profession soon caught up with Frank and he left for Jamaica to attend Jamaica Mandiville College for one year while teaching at Kings College there. Upon completion of his teacher's course he came back to Belize to work as a Principal at Branson's Primary School Adventist School in Belize City for two years. Frank's dedication to the teaching profession earned him the privilege of becoming the first male teacher at Palotti High School (an all girl's school). Frank's next step was to move back to his hometown San Pedro to bring back to the community what he had learned throughout the years. In San Pedro he opened the first high school in 1971 - St. Peter's College. The name of the school was later changed to San Pedro High School under the recommendation of the first Prime Minister of Belize, George C. Price. The school started with a total of 52 students and two teachers.
Frank then moved to Belize City where he worked as the first meter inspector for the Belize Electricity Board for a period of six years. His willingness to learn paid off when BEB rewarded him with a scholarship to attend computer courses in Miami, Florida. Upon completion of the courses he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where he married Alba Martinez from Belize City. They resided in New Orleans for five years and then returned to Belize. Back in Belize he resumed his teaching profession at St. Joseph's School where he taught Standard VI students for ten years. Mr. Frank's work was done or that was what he thought. He retired at the age of 55 and once again moved to San Pedro.
Once a teacher always a teacher; this surely happened to Mr. Nuñez. Ms. Alida Nuñez, who at the time owned the Ambergris Preparatory School, offered Frank a chance to come back to the profession. She did not have to twist his arm much and he accepted. After a year with the school, he took over in 1996. Frank renamed the school St. Peter's Elementary; it consisted of classes from Infant I to Standard VI. Frank's teaching experience was well known. He soon received numerous requests, from adults who had not had an opportunity to finish high school, to open a night school where they could finish their studies. Frank was very receptive to their requests and talked it over with his teachers and government officials. His request was approved and in late 1996 the College was declared opened by the Minister of Education.
Presently St. Peter's Elementary consists of classes from Infant I to Standard VI with five teachers and a total of 83 students. St. Peter's College is equivalent to a high school with four forms and 42 students. In 1998 St. Peter's College graduated its first group consisting of 7 students and St. Peter's Elementary graduated 18. Recently St. Peter's good reputation was enhanced when Standard VI student, Candice Chavannes won the National Spelling Bee Contest held in Belize City. This is the first time that a student from San Pedro won this title.
The school is involved in many community events as well as sporting activities. The school is very conscious of the value of education and because of that Mr. Nuñez has 19 students in the elementary school who cannot afford to pay the fees. He supports their efforts to stay in school and says it keeps them off of the streets. He also provided 11 adults in the College with free tuition. Because of this Frank is doing the job of three teachers to cover the expenses. He hopes to get assistance from friends and the Area Representative, who have promised to assist the school. If this deal comes through, next year he hopes to become the administrator only. This he feels is essential to maintain the best interests of the students and the entire school.
By opening the first high school and college in San Pedro, Mr. Frank Nuñez has opened doors to many students and adults and led them in the right direction. In our community, this educator is admired for his hard work and dedication for striving to make San Pedro's children academically ready for our day to day challenges.
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