BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 7, 2024
One-time Amandala columnist Apolinar Tzul yesterday shared his Facebook post announcing his birthday and retirement after 35 years in the teaching profession. Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Brother Apolinar! Below is his post:
FINALLY 55! TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY!
Sun. Jan. 7 at 6:23 AM
I was born on 7th January, 1969 in Orange Walk and raised in a family of twelve siblings – 7 females and 5 males. My father, now deceased, was a canero, and my mother a housewife. They were blessed with 50 years in marriage and celebrated the occasion with great splendor.
Today, I also retire from the teaching profession, having rendered almost 35 years of service. I began teaching at the age of 19, immediately after graduating from SJC 6th Form in 1988. Since then, I have taught at 10 different high schools in all districts of the country except Toledo, and escaped the wrath of 5 vindictive School Boards, mainly in the Belize District, due to my straightforwardness, stubbornness and, yes, shortcomings.
I began my teaching career as a subject teacher, and quickly moved up to becoming a class teacher, head of department, member on the school boards, staff representative to the BNTU, then as Principal of a school in the city. During this exciting teaching journey, I upgraded my qualifications by earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts (English) and a Master’s Degree in Education. My studies were made possible thanks to scholarships granted to me by Education Ministers, Hon. Elodio Aragon and Hon. Francis Fonseca, respectively.
It was in the early 1990s that I began writing investigative stories for the AMANDALA and became acquainted with the late Glenn Tillett (RIP) as the Editor. I also free-lanced controversial articles to the BELIZE TIMES, which soon landed the newspaper in more than one libel suit.
I find it befitting to publicly express my gratitude to two outstanding administrators, namely Mr. Michael Price (RIP, Belmopan Comprehensive School) and Mr. Ervin Casimiro (Georgetown Technical High School) who offered me much inspiration and pertinent guidance as I continued climbing the echelons of life and work. Likewise, I thank profoundly St. Michael’s College, renamed Maud Williams High School, for always believing in my competency. I left the fledging institution to try out new teaching adventures on 3 different occasions (2001, 2003 & 2014) and the school accepted me back into their staff on my re-applying. It was as if I was entreated to an ‘open-door’ admission policy by the school.
As I celebrate my stellar accomplishments in the face of adversity, including a legal separation which was short-lived and 3 surgeries, I thank my wife and daughter for their palpable tolerance and unwavering support in helping me to forge the true significance of this day. I also extend warmest gratitude to my mother, siblings, relatives, co-workers, friends and well-wishers for their unparalleled love and motivation throughout my life journey.
Leroy Brownlow reminds us that, “A birthday is a time to count our blessings.” The late US President Abraham Lincoln pointed out that, “It’s not the years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years.” The Book of Psalms exalts us with the words: “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
So, let us celebrate my story of TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY. I now embark on another chapter of my life.
(AMANDALA Ed. Note: Apolinar also informed us by email that he forgot to mention that, “1. When I began my teaching career fresh from SJC 6th Form in 1988, that same year in June I was duly elected as Village Council Chairman of my home village of Chan Pine Ridge; and 2. Two schools, Georgetown Technical High School & Belize Rural High School conferred on me the award of Teacher of the Year.” Congratulations again, Brother Apolinar!)