ST. LOUIS, Missouri, Mon. June 25, 2018– Dawn Wade, an administrative vice principal who has been working at St. Martin De Porres School for the past 26 years, recently returned to Belize after graduating with her Master’s Degree from St. Louis University.
Wade, who is a wife and mother of four boys, told Amandala that she decided to further her education after receiving a scholarship through the partnership of the Belize 2020 project and St. Louis University. According to the Belize 2020 website, it is a “non-profit volunteer organization focused on improving the quality of life in Belize by supporting Jesuit ministries in that country.”
Belize 2020 focuses heavily on education, which the organization believes can solve some of Belize’s problems such as gang violence and unemployment. The scholarships are one way that Belize 2020 and St. Louis University help the country, and schools like St. Martin De Porres and St. John’s College are recipients because they are Jesuit schools. The organizations realize that educating the educators is the first step toward making improvements.
Wade told us that when she had just started the university, she had very little knowledge of her major — Special Education: Learning Disabilities, and that made the whole experience new for her. Her lack of knowledge also made learning the content a struggle for her.
However, the university did a great job in delving thoroughly into the topic and Wade was not only able to learn the theoretical aspect of the coursework, but she was also able to go out into the field and see teachers of Special Education in action as well as the support that is available for the teachers and their students.
Wade overcame her struggle with consistent studying and the support she received from the staff and students of St. Louis University. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA, and also received the JJ O’Brien award for outstanding performance. The award was named in honor of a past professor of the school. Wade mentioned that she had not been expecting the award at all.
In order for Wade to travel abroad and receive her study leave, she had to sign a contract which would entail her returning to Belize and serving for 5 years before going abroad to study again. However, she says a doctorate degree is definitely in her future.
Other future goals for Wade include continuing to serve St. Martin De Porres School as best as she can. She also wants to work closely with the Ministry of Education and her district center to develop interventions to assist students with learning disabilities. She also hopes to provide teachers with strategies to better educate students with these disabilities.
Her advice for people going back to school is to stay focused and to set your goals by deciding what you want to accomplish, then “go for it.”
To sum up her experience, Wade said she has to give thanks to God for all that she was able to achieve. She also said she wants to be the best she can possibly be, and although it was difficult to ignore distractions, she set her eye on the prize and remained focused.