Community Papers

John Spry puts his beliefs into action in Mexico

John Spry, left, presents school supplies to the principal of Rincon de Guayabitos’ elementary school which were collected in Campbell River. - Photo submitted
John Spry, left, presents school supplies to the principal of Rincon de Guayabitos’ elementary school which were collected in Campbell River.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Last year John Spry found an opportunity to put into action his beliefs about helping others.

But more importantly, by doing so you can open the doors for others to do the same.

After meeting Melena, the English teacher at the local elementary school in Rincon de Guayabitos he offered to assist her in teaching her various classes. She and the principal agreed and Spry discovered that students, whether in Campbell River or Rincon de Guayabitos, are all the same: bright, cheerful and full of life. What isn’t the same, however, is the lack of materials for the students to learn and practice their learning.

As a former Superintendent of Schools back in Canada Spry knew how well equipped each classroom is with computers, overhead projectors; not to say anything about the students’ consumable items. While assisting Melena he discovered how many of these items we take for granted back in Canada are so important and often lacking in the Mexican classroom.

Pencils are usually short stubby pieces that most golfers back home wouldn’t even consider using.  While at the same time, erasers are often small smatterings of rubber that more often than not leave a grey smudge.

And paper for students to draw on or to make notes on are always in short supply. The teachers use felt markers for the white boards that are so light it is at times impossible for the students to make out what it is written.

At first the effort to assist the local students was helped by giving each of the students a pencil. Later a fellow Canadian, Greg Abar, provided toothpaste for each student and Sherry Saunderson, a dental hygienist came to the school and provided a lesson on brushing their teeth and gave each student a toothbrush.

Before leaving for home last year, the money Spry had earned while teaching cooking at Casa Los Pelecanos was donated to the English program at the school. On returning to Canada there was little thought or effort put into doing any more for the school and its students.

Once home, however, several of his former colleagues, who had heard about the needs of the school in Rincon de Guayabitos offered to obtain pencils and other materials for his return this year. So in December, through the effort of Colleen Epp, Spry was given a box full of pencils, erasers, glue sticks, paper, pencil sharpeners, coloured pencils, crayons, rulers, and twelve calculators. As well, others from Campbell River gave more pencils, enough for every student to have two or three each for this school year.

The good news here is that if you make that little effort to share your knowledge and/or worldly goods, others too will assist you in helping the youth of this land.

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