The mission of Puerto Aventuras Educators (PAE) is to further educational opportunities for children and young adults in the poblado community of Puerto Aventuras.
School Year 2009-10 Programs
4 After-School English Language classes (one hour per class Monday through Friday) for students in grades 1-6, serving on average 40 elementary school learners
16 hours per week of English Language instruction in the poblado middle school (grades 7-9), serving approximately 150 students
Summer English Language Enrichment Program (one hour per day Monday through Friday for each of the 2 levels, elementary and middle school) for students who want to improve their English Language skills, serving approximately 25 students
Summer English Language Development Program (one hour per day Monday through Friday) for middle school students who have to retake their grade-level English Proficiency Test, serving approximately 15 students
Scholarship Program for High School students whose grade level has not yet been introduced into the new poblado high school, serving 24 students
Post-Secondary Scholarship Program, serving 12 students
In 1996, 2 frequent visitors to Puerto Aventuras noticed that their cleaning lady brought her school-age children to work with her every day. When asked why, she explained that she couldn’t afford to send them to school, and so Puerto Aventuras Educators (PAE) was born, though the name (which has recently been changed from Puerto Aventuras/Akumal Educators [PAAE] due to the reality that we now have no classes in Akumal) was not used until a few years ago. Even today a more common appellation among supporters is just “The Mexico Project.”
PAE is an outgrowth of its sister organization, Friends of Puerto Aventuras (FOPA). The reason the organizations separated was not tension among warring do-gooders, but because FOPA had decided to move beyond the “primary through secondary levels” of English education, so PAE took responsibility for these programs while FOPA continued and continues to provide Adult English Education among its other activities.
PAE first tried to fulfill its Education Mission by “embedding” English teachers in the elementary school and later in the middle school when it was introduced in the poblado. An order of nuns, the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut, sent members of their order and lay volunteers for 2 years to teach English in the public school and offer some adult English classes for FOPA. Oscar Constandse, who also provided support for Patas, the animal welfare organization, generously provided housing to our teachers for 3 years. When he could no longer do so, PAE found in-country English teachers. With this change, the organization moved from being a public school embedded English Language program to being an after-school English Program. In 2009 we came full circle and are again teaching English in the public school as well as continuing our after-school English program.
When PAE started its work 11 years ago, schooling in the poblado only went through the 6th grade, but we had come to know students through our English Program whom we hoped would continue their education past elementary school; therefore, PAE decided to start a scholarship program to send students to Playa del Carmen for middle and high school. The first year we could not find one family that was willing to let their children go to Playa to school. The reasons cited were money and/or too many ideas in the head might make him/her (usually a reference to a “him”) more difficult to control. We realized that if we were to be successful we would have to work with/involve the parents. During the next year we did so and ended up giving 3 students scholarships for middle school in Playa. When the middle school was introduced in the poblado, we limited our scholarships to high school attendees. The scholarship program almost doubled every year until PAE was providing close to 40 scholarships. In August of 2005, we had our first high school graduates—2 girls and a boy. Much to our surprise, in light of the humble aspirations of PAE, 2 of the students asked if we would support them in their post-secondary studies. We agreed to, and in 2008 we had our first post-secondary graduate, Jose, from one of the technical colleges in Playa del Carmen.
The Puerto Aventuras poblado is now offering some high school classes, so PAE is not providing new scholarships to students if their grade level is being offered in Puerto. We currently have 16 students in the high school scholarship program. Once they graduate, within the next 2 years, we hope to have an all post-secondary scholarship program. In addition we have 12 scholarship students who are doing their post- secondary studies.
Our Vision for the future is that PAE will continue to provide English language classes for elementary and middle school students and perhaps at the high school level, and provide scholarships for study after high school.
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