Greetings from San Ignacio, Belize from me and Stephanie, who I am happy to report that Stephanie is maintaining almost a 3.4 grade point average!

She received a report card last week and had only one bad grade in English II (comprehension).  In English 1, however, she raised up to a 94! 

Her highest grade was a 98 in math (a subject she loves) , making her the second best student in her math class. 

When the school year started in early September I asked for $1,200 to help me finance Stephanie's education -- WITH THE CAVEAT that I might need more early next year. Expenses get higher with every year and Belizean government grant monies she received in her first two years aren't available. 

However, at this point only two months into school, I'm still a bit short at $925 for the calendar year.

Any donations that contributors can give at this point would be much appreciated.

And for those newcomers who may be unfamiliar with Stephanie's story and her needs for school, feel free to email me for more information at [email redacted]  or contact me on Facebook (Paul David McKay). 

And once again I must note that because some donors don't like gofundme because of the fees, donations can be made directly to me at PayPal (again, [email redacted]).

Many thanks for your consideration.

Paul & Stephanie.


Greetings from San Ignacio, Belize from me and Stephanie, who I am happy to report is making all As and Bs in her 3rd year at St. Ignatius High School.

When the school year started in early September I asked for $1,200 to help me finance Stephanie's education, with the caveat that I might need more early next year.

However, at this point only two months into school, I've raised only $575, well short of the $1,200 target.

Any donations that contributors can give at this point would be much appreciated.

And for those newcomers who may be unfamiliar with Stephanie's story and her needs for school, feel free to email me for more information at, or contact me on Facebook.

Many thanks for your consideration.

Paul & Stephanie.


To update donors on Stephanie's educational journey...

Stephanie remains on holiday from school until Monday, Jan. 7.  She will finish the first term of her second  school year soon and should finish with at least a 3.3 GPA.

For this current school year I had a fundraising goal of $1,100 and rather quickly raised  $600, which has all been spent at this point.

Thanks to a $100 donation from my friend Janis Beck and her family in Texas last week, I'm hoping to raise another $400 to meet the goal -- or as much as I can.

Donors will recall that I paid Stephanie's tuition of $660 out of my own pocket this year, but high school in Central America is more like a college in terms of expense. Almost all the schools are private church schools and require a lot of expense.

Many of the costs for the second term will be for new supplies, major projects including science, a number of field trips that will include one overnight, tee-shirts and costumes for special events and, of course, daily meals and snacks. 

Any donations for the remainder of Stephanie's current school-year costs will be much appreciated.

And, again, many donors prefer to donate via PayPal, where I have an account set up at [email redacted].

Newcomers to my blog or Facebook page (at Paul David McKay in San Ignacio Belize) may want to email or message me on Facebook to learn more about financing of this Belizean high school student. She is the big sister of my adopted 5-year-old Belizean daughter Ludy Paulita McKay.

My blog is 

Grace & Peace & many thanks for continued support
Paul & Stephanie


Greetings from San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Belize, where Stephanie Garcia will begin her second year of high school at St. Ignatius in Santa Elena.

Actually, she started back to school two weeks ago for "review classes."

AS FOR THE $1,100  (U.S currency) goal for her second-year expenses, I've raised $600 -- more than half!

Of that amount I spent just north of $100 shopping in Guatemala, where things are cheaper at the markets, for items like her school bag, supplies like pens and pencils and pads and such, new dress shoes to go with the uniform and other shoes and socks needed for casual or special needs like the dance troupe she'll participate in.

I also spent $75 on three hefty new books and another $60 or so on workbooks and study guides. One of the nice things about the second year is that she has books I bought last year that she can use again this year or throughout the four years of high school.

Also, friends who are a grade ahead or two ahead of her gave her gave her books they won't be using anymore.

As I noted before, I paid $275 out of my pocket on her tuition back July. Between that and a government grant she'll receive and a little money held over from last year, the remaining balance for the school year is only $30 which I will pay next week.

So I've expended only $235 so far.

But, again, school doesn't officially start until the coming week. And as I've noted, it's the extracurricular expenses, field trips, meals, snacks and misc. costs that take big bites out of the budget -- some of which I cover out of my own pocket here and there.

So I do have a monetary stake in funding her education myself.

But I couldn't possibly put Stephanie through school without the continuing, generous donations of people like the following:

Kay Anderson, Carol Lusk Rowdoskas, Babe Watts, Cathy Gordon, Freda Marie Brown, Burke and Sarah Watson, Kevin and Marie Moran.

Also, Kevin Dietrich, Janis Beck, Sharon Miller, Cherie Nienstedt, Diane Flannery, Susan Leddy, Jered Cady, and Linda Novak.



I am Paul McKay, a retired United Methodist Church deacon and writer who has been living in the twin cities San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Belize, for six years.

Last year, I raised money here at gofundme for funds to  educate 16-year-old Stephanie Garcia in her first year of high school.

Stephanie completed her first year at the Catholic St. Ignatius High School in Santa Elena with a 3.34 grade point average (84). 

That's especially impressive for a young lady who could barely read, write and speak English in her primary school years!

I've tutored Stephanie and her brother Felix, 13, for five years, and also paid all the costs of their educations, including tuitions, books, supplies, uniforms, meals -- everything.

However, high school in BZ is extremely expensive; not many kids are able to go to high school or complete the four years, much less advance to college. 

Last year, my many friends, loved ones and acquaintances helped me to raise more than $800 ($1600 BELIZE) for Stephanie's first year of high school.

I had guess-timated the $800 would cover the all the costs that I didn't pay and I had budgeted that amount. But I was woefully off!

Costs ran close to $1,300 with the many expenses I was unaware of popping up throughout the year (including 2 weeks of required summer school "review" for all!).

I recently paid $275 US ($550) Belize out of my pocket as a down payment for Stephanie's tuition for the second year, which covers all but the $40US balance I can pay anytime between now and mid-December.

Stephanie's school will also receive $150 in grant money from the government that reduces her tuition cost.

In short, ... tuition for Year 2 is covered.

But tuition, as I learned the hard way in the first year, is one of least of the expenses; other costs include:

-- material for uniforms (which Stephanie's mom is making)

-- dress shoes, casual shoes, special shoes for things like dance lessons for a parade dance troupe; also, I paid $100 for her to take dance lessons for the extracurricular dance troupe -- plus the costs of $20 t-shirts for three different annual parades and appearances at special events!

I vastly underestimated costs for extracurricular activities and field trips!

Other costs of course include the basics:

-- books, work books, supplies, lab fees
-- lunches and snacks 
-- all kinds of fees for exams and extra workbooks I was unaware of

-- and costs for special projects (Oh my--the bill for the Science Fair Project took a hit on my wallet)

-- special expenses for uniforms and projects for Cultural Week

-- and so much miscellaneous more

And so, I'm hoping to raise $1,100 (which is $2,200 in BZ currency) for the coming year.

Any amount of financial help I can get in educating Stephanie -- the big sister of my beloved adoptive daughter Paulita McKay  who is 5 and starting primary school soon at an Anglican school, will help.

AND NOW, a word about an alternative means of donating that, unlike gofundme, if free of gofundme's 5 percent fee for every donation! 

I learned last year that many people would rather send me a donation by my PayPal account to avoid those hefty fees. 

Via PayPal, which is easy to use, donations can be deposited directly to my Bank of America checking account. Every penny of dollar donated through PayPal goes to educating Stephanie -- with no fees deducted.

So please!!! If you are interested in donated directly into my bank account, email me at [email redacted] -- or contact me on Facebook at Paul David McKay in Belize.

Whether through this gofundme account or PayPal, I want to offer thanks for your continued support or any donations from you--and for support from those who haven't donated and would like to this year!

Grace & Peace,

Paul & Stephanie


  • Kevin Moran 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
  • Cherie Nienstedt 
    • $75 
    • 7 mos
    • $150 
    • 8 mos
  • Carolyn Rodowskas 
    • $100 
    • 8 mos
  • James Barlow 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
See all


Paul David McKay 
College Station, TX
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