Our Community - Wil Alamilla - "Instilling the ABC's of education"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 9, No. 50            December 30, 1999

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Wil Alamilla Jr.

This week we invite you to travel back in time to the young days when you were learning your first words, phrases, recognizing colors, etc. Young children are said to be like sponges, absorbing almost everything that is taught to them. Younger generations are more fortunate today. With the development of San Pedro, came improvements in education. Today children begin pre-school classes at an early age in preparation for the long educational journey ahead of them. This week's personality is a familiar face to many and one of San Pedro's most respected educators-Mr. Wilfredo "Wil" Alamilla Jr.

    Since his birth on February 2nd, 1971, Wilfredo was a born leader. As an infant, compared to other children, he would cry louder and during his childhood days, he would designate different tasks to his young friends while playing. Coming from a close knit family of three, Wil led the typical life of a San Pedro kid; looking for almonds and sea grapes, canoeing and playing on the thick sandy streets of the island. He attended San Pedro R. C. School and High School graduating with honors in 1988. During his time in high school he exercised his leadership skills organizing various strategic competitions among classes and was chosen Senior Class President. Consequently he was also recruited by the San Pedro Leo Club, and served as its president.

    At that time, Wil was not quite sure what profession he would venture into but knew that it would have to be something that would require challenge and motivation. In 1989 he got the opportunity of a lifetime. He was offered and accepted a teaching/administrative post at the ABC Pre-School in San Pedro. Little did he know this would be exactly what he was looking for. Wil started out teaching his first group of 28 pre-schoolers and after the first day, knew this was his calling. He also knew he needed to learn the various techniques needed to work with children. Luck was on Wil's side and he soon received an offer from American educator Caroline Frye to train him in pre-school education. He willingly accepted and trained with her for a period of one year. In the meantime Wil had taken over ownership of ABC Pre-School.  He also attended pre-school seminars and workshops with the Belize Pre-School Unit every three months. Wil's reputation as a good teacher soon spread around town. Wil found that for his children to enjoy themselves while learning they would need to have a lot of community interaction. They accomplished this by participating in a variety of town functions, every time surpassing their previous presentation. Today enrollment at ABC Pre-school has risen to twice the original amount.

    More than just locally, word of his great teaching techniques has spread countrywide. At the first and only Teacher's Awards held in June of 1994, Mr. Alamilla was awarded for his Outstanding Performance and Most Outstanding Performance as a Principal at the Pre-School Level. Since then he has received a number of awards from the Ministry of Education and was voted the "Best Pre-School" during the San Pedro High School Awards.

    Wil's leadership skills have also taken him to Switzerland where he served as one of Belize's Ambassadors for the 700th Anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, joining youths from around the globe. He has also been given the privilege of addressing the 1995 graduating class of San Pedro High School and made a variety of presentations to the youths and schools of San Pedro.

    These days Wil Alamilla and ABC Pre-school are well known and admired. He now requires the assistance of two additional teachers to take care of the children. Wil told the San Pedro Sun, "I feel recognized as a teacher. At first I was not sure if this was the right move but today I cannot see myself doing anything else. My students are an important part of me. Each group is special to me. I am proud to have graduated ten classes and hope for many more. All the children are different and my reward is hearing them call ėTeacher Wil, Teacher Wil' even when we are not in school or long after they have graduated from my school."

    Teachers have the difficult task of instilling values and share with parents the responsibility of molding the children of tomorrow. With teachers like Mr. Wil Alamilla Jr. the future looks bright for Our Community.

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