It’s awesome to see people eager to learn. Della Sullivan works with volunteers to teach others English in The English School of La Cruz that she created. This year 125 students and 37 teachers engaged with many others teaching while on vacation here. Della says, “We’re like a great big family, the students and the teachers get along and work together so well. They are my Mexican family; it’s beautiful! My students are all Mexicans from La Cruz ranging in ages from four to sixty plus. The saying “it takes a village” is so true.”
When deciding to buy a home in Mexico she began looking for something less touristy. Della said, “I wanted true Mexico. When I found La Cruz, it was Love at First Sight. I bought my condo in 2006, preconstruction and pre-marina. This was definitely a leap of faith. I found what I was looking for with the friendly people of La Cruz and the wonderful ocean just outside my window.”
In 2010 when her condo was finally ready she decided to try teaching a bit of English to any children interested. “I was offered the use of a table at Octopus Garden twice a week and I began this adventure with two ten-year old girls. By the end of the first year, we were filling two tables with many sitting around the fountain. I loved it. The second year, I was allowed more tables and at the end of that year, Sandy Baker and I requisitioned a bus and took all of the students to the zoo. None of them had been before and it was such fun.
Each year there were more and more students and the third year I began getting teachers who wanted to volunteer. Before the fourth year, I decided to better understand what I was doing and I went back to St Louis University and by the end of that fall semester, I was certified in ESL, TESOL, TESL, TEFL. With that, I began formally breaking students into classes and supplying teaching aides, books, lesson plans, and worksheets for all of the various ages and abilities. This helped me as well as all of my teachers.
I supply all of the teachers with lesson plans written in both Spanish and English for all ages and abilities each week. In this way as my teachers teach English, they learn a bit of Spanish. We change our topic for teaching on a weekly basis. I supply everything needed both for teachers and students including a three ring binder for each student to keep so that they can study what we have learned, and forty-two soccer balls given for perfect attendance and the A+ students on our final day. Each student receives a backpack with supplies. Fortunately, my husband has a broad range of computer skills and keeps everything flowing smoothly. He has been my partner in this effort. Anyone wishing to donate to this cause would be greatly appreciated.
The school continues to grow, blessed by excellent teachers, many of who plan their vacation to La Cruz around this teaching experience. These men and women so generously give of their time and energy and they do it with a smile. Della told me “I love them.”
Also, a true blessing is the continued support of Aruna, Wayland, Marichuy and Alfredo, in allowing Della the continued use of the Octopus Garden. In nine years, they went from using one table to using every square inch of the first floor and part of the upstairs; essentially it’s a one-room schoolhouse.
“This is one of the most cherished efforts I have done. This is the ninth year of an adventure I hope to continue for many more. I live by one thought ‘Leave beauty in your path’.”