A person in San Pedro that has built a career from scratch and lives every day making education a priority is Mrs. Pinita Gomez Verde. Education and determination are two words she feels strongly about and tries to implement them into her daily life as much as she can. Everyone has deep respect for this lady who has touched their lives through education.
Pinita Gomez was born in San Pedro to Eloysa and Priciliano Gomez and attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School. She proved to be more than an average student and by the age of ten had completed her elementary school education. She was awarded a scholarship to attend Palotti High School in Belize City, but due to a lack of funding, had to decline the offer. Pinita' s parents realized that the gift of education bestowed upon her should not be wasted. Pinita's mom was determined to give her daughter an educational chance in life. She spoke to the principal of the elementary school and arranged to have her daughter assist the teachers during class. Pinita had already demonstrated great academic skills and ambition, so her mom's request was granted. Miss Pinita lived up to the expectations of her mother and more. She quickly adapted to the position and did well. Soon she was being absorbed into the teaching field and started classes to achieve a Teacher's Degree. She enrolled in a correspondence course to obtain high school training from Rapid Results College in England. Following this she pursued a second-class certificate, followed by six months of training in Belize City for her First Class Teacher's Certificate. Ms. Pinita kept climbing the education ladder as she taught. In the late 1960's she attended Belize Teacher's College where she completed a two-year course making her the first Sanpedrana to achieve this. Out of the hundred plus teachers that sat the exam she was one of the eight that graduated with honors and was recognized by the University of the West Indies as a trained teacher throughout the Caribbean. She completed her first year of practice teaching at Holy Redeemer Elementary and her second year at St. Mary's Elementary, both in Belize City. Ms. Pinita returned to San Pedro to perform her one-year required internship before graduation. She taught at San Pedro R.C. School for two years and returned to Belize City, teaching for three years at St. Catherine's Elementary. Pinita once again came home to San Pedro where she taught for 21 years. By this time, Ms. Gomez had the responsibility of her growing family, so she resigned from the profession.
Ms. Pinita Gomez married Francisco Verde in 1976. They have four children; Eloysita, Patty, Ricardo and Emily. From the time her children were young, she has instilled in them the value of education. As a result of this, all four children have graduated with honors.
Mrs. Verde never stopped being a teacher. She was called upon to help neighbors, family or anyone who needed educating. She would hold evening classes in different subjects for students of various age groups. There was a time when she held a three-month training program for approximately fifteen kids to prepare them for elementary school. She was always looking out for the welfare of the children of San Pedro as well as her own and became actively involved in Parent's Teacher's Associations for many years. Mrs. Verde also taught at Lydia's Institute of Fine Education. She commented, "I am a firm believer in education. Everyone should have one, and achieve its maximum. Education is part of life." Mrs. Verde's loyal and friendly disposition awarded her the privilege of being named Justice of the Peace in 1993.
Mrs. Verde has recently ventured into a similar profession. She is presently the person in charge of the Ambergris Historical Society Museum and Tourist Information Center. Since the initial research for the museum commenced, Mrs. Verde's expertise was required. She was invited to join the committee, which she did. She was given the team task of speaking to the senior citizens, gathering information about San Pedro's past. When the Museum opened, Mrs. Verde was asked to be the attendant. Even though the museum is self-informative, Mrs. Verde happily gives visitors a personalized tour. She told the San Pedro Sun, "I hope this project never dies. I would like the community to help and support it. Our children should know our history. I don't do this for the money, but because of the great value it symbolizes."
Mrs. Pinita Verde is a true example of strong will power and determination. She started in the teaching profession out of necessity and it became a natural part of her. She is a person who strives to preserve our traditions. For this, she has the utmost respect of her past students and of "Our Community".
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