Members of the St. Peters All Saints Catholic Church Donate Dictionaries to Students in Belize

Just a short while ago, members of the All Saints Catholic Church in St. Peters, Missouri returned from Belize after presenting 120 dictionaries along with other school supplies to students attending four Mayan village schools. As part of their Belize Mission Project, Church members taught lessons to the students on how to use their new dictionaries and helped familiarize them with the content that is included in the back of each book. All Saints Catholic Church member Mary DiMercurio shared with us an enlightening note, excerpts from which are shown below, documenting the experiences that she and other members of the Church had while on their fascinating trip to the beautiful country of Belize. “The teachers and students were thrilled to receive the dictionaries! We had teaching teams present dictionaries to four Mayan village schools: San Lucas, Corazon, Blue Creek and Otaxha. I was teaching in San Lucas, a Mayan village in the Toledo district of Belize, where there is no electricity, but lots of wonderful sunshine for school days. Last year we aided the village in renovating their school. This year we brought many school supplies to put in their school; including cloth maps and dictionaries. In each school we taught several lessons on how to use the dictionary and became familiar with parts of the Gazetteer in the back of the dictionary.” Mary notes of the associated photographs taken from the trip, “You will see students researching a country and sharing the information with their class. We chose words from their word wall and wrote definitions, citations and guide words from the page. We used the dictionaries to create a poem using describing words that began with the letters of their name. We had printed pictures of animals and the students had to identify the region’s location and share facts about the animal.” Mary further adds, “One of the most exciting, unexpected uses of the dictionary was the discovery of the Sign Language page. It was upon a student’s prompting that we explored that page, practiced as a class and then each student spelled their name in sign language for the class. This led to a wonderful discussion on the many ways communication occurs.” It is most gratifying to learn that the All Saints Catholic Church members’ trip to the villages in Belize was a resounding success and that the students were both appreciative and excited to make use of their dictionaries right away. The effort to provide students outside of the United States with dictionaries of their own is most valuable as this grants even more students access to an essential learning tool that can help assist them through their educational journeys.