Saturday, February 11, 2012

BELIZEAN SPOTLIGHT- FEBRUARY 2012

This is a segment to honor and recognize outstanding Belizeans and their descendants for their accomplishment and contributions to life.  As a proud Belizean, I believe it is imperative that we support and promote Belizeans both at home and abroad. You are an important part of our community. We hope we can inspire our children to reach for the stars.


You can nominate a candidate for Belizean Spotlight that you believe has excelled or contributed to our life. 


Previous “Spotlight of the Month” can be found in the archives.
FRANK PALACIO, M.Ed.
I am a Garifuna from beautiful Belize by the sea. I migrated to Los Angeles in my late teens and, along the way, met my beautiful wife. I am also the proud parent of two college aged young people, a son and a daughter. I teach middle school and I am a third generation teacher.

I am a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles. I obtained a teaching credential and a master's degree in education from Chapman University. In 2005, I was one of a select group of teachers chosen to attend the UCLA Writing Project as a fellow.

I have always had a love and appreciation for the English language even at a young age in elementary school. I guess this is what led me down the path of becoming a published author and poet. I also enjoy reading for pleasure; this helped me acquire an extensive vocabulary and so it gave me another excuse to begin writing stories.

I remember telling a friend who was a Caucasian American about twenty-five years ago that I wanted to write a book one day. His response was, “Why would you want to do that, what do you have to write about?” These words along with his look of disbelief hurt at the time because it seemed he had judged me as not being writer material. Now, twenty years later, I have achieved my dream as a result of hard work and lots of sacrifice. I learned a valuable lesson from that friend. We must not let others determine what we can and cannot accomplish in life.

The road that led to me becoming a writer has been a long one filled with co- incidences that I would prefer to label as divine intervention. When I enrolled in college, I was set on majoring in criminal justice with an eye toward going to law school. I took an English class in my second year of college and the professor did such a fine job that I decided to change my major to English. I didn’t know then, but God had steered me into becoming an English major so that I could become a writer.

I enrolled in law school after receiving my bachelors in English. I found that Law School although rigorous and exciting was probably not the best career for me. I decided to become a teacher instead, like my father and grandfather. My first five years as a teacher were very rocky. I felt like quitting several times, especially after working at one of the most challenging inner city schools in the City of Los Angeles. Unbeknown to me, teaching was a career with a high turn over and burn out rate. I was unhappy because I was not used to the lack of discipline that I encountered in some of my students.

It was around this time that I met a fellow teacher, Paul Rallion, and we became great friends. I shared with Paul my desire to write a book, and he told me that he had the same dream! What amazing timing! We decided to pool resources and write a book about education. Notice that I had been led to change careers. As a result of some of my experiences in the classroom, which scarred me first then inspired me, I decided to write to inform people and to encourage and support teachers. I was able to tap into my unforgettable experiences in the classroom to launch my first book, “Middle Schoolin': 50 Stories About the Challenges, Humor and Rewards of Teaching.” Paul and I were able to share the work as well as the cost of this project.

My career as an English teacher helped my writing skills tremendously. I had to teach grammar, punctuation, writing and literature etc. In the process I learned from reading the works of writers like Maya Angelou, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and James Baldwin to mention a few, etc. I attended dozens of workshops and seminars over a 10 year career, so all of this was serving as preparation for me to write my own material. This had to be more than co-incidence!

What I like about writing is that it is a great way to relieve stress! It is a way to express what is on your mind and in your heart. About a year ago, I lost a cousin rather unexpectedly. I had seen this young lady grow up from a baby, to a teenager, to marriage and to motherhood. To express my sorrow over her death, I wrote a poem and titled it “Arlene Sleep Sleep Sleep.” Like many people today, I am shocked by the large numbers of today’s youths who wear their pants sagging down to below waist level many times exposing their underpants for the world to see. I wrote a poem about this pathetic societal problem and called it, “Young Man Don’t Let Your Pants Sag.”

My new book, “Facebook Education: From Middle School to Old School and From the USA to Belize” chronicles the time that I spend on Facebook, the people that I have met, and their thoughts and perspectives. This book is a solo effort and tells of the impact and influence of this new social medium. I believe if you are on Facebook you will like this book. If you are not on Facebook, you will still like this book because you will get a better idea about the love and obsession that some people have for it.

When I am not writing, I am involved with the Garifuna Choir of Los Angeles. In addition to singing at mass every Sunday, we are committed to helping the Belizean community by doing fundraising and singing at weddings, funerals and other special occasions. Our mission is to help our Belize and Garifuna communities to draw closer to God.

I would like to thank Ms. Linda Crawford, a dear friend, for the opportunity to share my story about the path I took to realize my dream of becoming an author. I am a big fan of the work that Linda does in promoting Belize and in doing fund raisers to help Belizeans. I admire her compassion, dedication, and love for our beloved Belize.

I would also like to thank the people in my life, especially my wife of twenty-five years, Glendarice, who has stuck by my side and encouraged me to follow my dreams. I am also thankful to the almighty who has planned my life better than I could have imagined it. Finally, I believe that we are here on this earth for a reason and a purpose. It is our job to use our gifts and talents and our time, like Linda has discovered, to leave this place a better world than how we found it.


Great reading for parents with children in elementary school. You will learn about the challenges, humor, and rewards of teaching, as well as classroom tragedies and successes, that take place in inner city public schools. These 50 vignettes describe human-interest, and middle school events. 

For a personalized autographed copy of Frank's books and delivery within a week, please E-mail him at fpalacio51@hotmail.co or visit his Website at http://www.middleschoolin.com/
And both can be purchased at www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, and also at Angulus Press locations in Belize.

7 comments:

Gee said...

Congratulations Frank, you deserve it!!!

Sloan Def said...

That is wonderful Frank. What an honor to be recognized for your work and contribution! Congrats!

Tiffany Mangum Cooke said...

I am so proud of you, Frank! That was a wonderful article. Congratulations for inspiring even more people all over the world.

Leslie Allen said...

Congratulations Frank Palacio!! I'm So Proud Of you Been Such An Intelligent Man, Singer, & Writer; U Make Me Feel So Special & Uplifted. I'm So Thankful 4 Ur Friendship. I Know you Cousin Andy Palacio (rip) Is Lookin Down From Heaven Very Proud Of you & you Making Our Belizean Country & Association So Proud!!

paulrallion said...

Congratulations Frank, for being Spotlight of the Month! Nice job Linda, for nominating Frank for such honor. He certainly deserves this recognition.
Paul
PaulRallion.com

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Frank, for being Spotlight of the Month! Nice job Linda, for nominating Frank for such honor. He certainly deserves this recognition.
Paul
PaulRallion.com

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You are an outstanding example of what a person can achieve when they truly want to accomplish their goals and desire to become to a positive representative of not only your culture, but your country. I applaude your work and appreciate your sacrificies..Blessings
Joan Castillo