The Tropic of Cancer is the most northern latitude on the earth, where the sun can appear directly overhead. It is currently positioned at 23.5 degrees north of the equator and runs through The Bahamas as well as Mexico, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, India and southern China. The Tropic of Cancer and what it is, is a topic of discussion that Valerie Rolle, a fourth-grade teacher at Saints Francis & Joseph School, addresses with her students during the academic year, and now that she’s visited the Tropic of Cancer in Exuma and experienced it for herself, she can give her students a first-hand account of her experience, and not just book facts.
“The Tropic of Cancer is a topic discussed in class, and I can now bring it to life as I have been to Exuma and experienced it for myself. I can give my students another interesting fact about the Tropic of Cancer – that one side is cold, and the other hot,” said Rolle, who was among a group of teachers from the school that ended the school year with a visit to Exuma.
The Sts. Francis & Joseph School Teacher’s Social Committee thought it necessary to do something different for the teachers’ annual year-end activity, which are held at the end of the school year and give the educators a chance to unwind after a long school year and get together with outside of the classroom.
In planning this year’s activities, the committee got information from Experiential Education, a company in Exuma, for an island tour. Joan Rolle and Antoinette Nesbitt put together an affordable overnight, yet exciting tour package, for the teachers.
According to school officials, trips of that nature that allow the teachers to come together outside of the classroom and school setting are important. With the focus always on the bond between teacher and student, they say the bond between teachers and their peers is also important and should not be overlooked, as school health and teacher well-being are critical aspects that can often be overlooked.
“Any profession is bound to have its stresses, and teaching is no different. We can better shape healthy schools for teachers and students by cultivating environments that promote teacher wellness. Ultimately, more attention could lead to healthier, more supportive school communities and more positive outcomes for students. When teacher wellness becomes a norm, so too will student success,” according to information from Child Trends 40 Years, a research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives of children and youth, especially those who are most vulnerable.
“This trip speaks to our motto of unity is strength as it has allowed us to bond and connect on a more personal level outside of the educational realm,” said Vanta Culmer, Sts. Francis & Joseph School vice principal.
Janet Miller, a pre-K teacher, found the Exumians friendly and knowledgeable about their culture and island.
“We learnt about the rich history of the island. I will share with my new students the types of architecture seen on the island, and share stories of my experience of viewing the different settlements throughout my visit.”
Meanwhile Rickeya Lewis, an aide, noted that she learnt a fun fact – that there are 365 cays, one for every day.
Sts. Francis and Joseph Principal Tiffany Glass said she enjoyed the trip to the White Bay Cay, where they experienced the swimming pigs.
“It was a thrilling experience,” said Glass.
“The teachers have thoroughly enjoyed themselves; the trip has been an adventure,” said Shantal McKenzie, a teacher.
Of the school body, 33 staff members traveled to Exuma and 30 staff members overnighted; only five teachers, two custodians and one of the administration assistants did not.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.