Wikipedia explains that ” Education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual (e.g., the consciousness of an infant is educated by its environment through its interaction with its environment); and in its technical sense education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to another through institutions.”
My formal education started at age six at the Farm 8 School in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro in Panama. It was a small school of only sixty students administered by the former United Fruit Company for the children of its American employees and high level Panamanian employees as well. My father was Commissary Inspector of the Merchandise Department and had the opportunity of sending us to this special American school.
On June 1, 1961, I satisfactorily completed my primary education which consisted of eight years. I was then fourteen years old and was very happy to receive my first educational diploma. I will never forget my teachers there: Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Hubbard, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Alvarado and Mrs. Florence McLaughlin, who was the Principal of the school.
My next step of my formal education was at the Pan American Institute (IPA) in Panama City, Panama. It was–and still is—a bilingual school administered by the Methodist Church. In 1962, IPA was totally an English oriented institution. All my professors were Americans except my Spanish teacher of course.
I have very fond memories of my three years there. I would say, that in general terms, it made me what I am today. The education quality at IPA was one of the best as far as English is concerned. I hold in great esteem its Principal, Mr. William E. Eddy and the Deputy Principal, Mr. Kenneth Darg for the way they administered the institution. All my teachers were solid professionals in their fields. I say this with great sincerity.
In an effort to create a digital trail of my formal education, I took photographs of the buildings where I assisted to receive my formal education from high school to college. I couldn’t take a picture of the Farm 8 School because of distance restrictions. These are the pictures of IPA as it looked on Saturday, June 27, 2009. Here we go.
Photograph of my first diploma obtained at the Farm 8 School in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro in Panama. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of my high school diploma at the Pan-American Institute as an Accounting Technician received on February 15, 1965. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of the Instituto Pan-Americano in Panama City, Panama. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
A side view of the Pan-American Institute High School where I graduated in 1965. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Picture of IPA's logo embedded on a wall of the building. The motto of the school is "United by the Truth". (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of a metallic plate showing the years when the building was upgraded. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of IPA's gym. It was here where the graduation ceremony was held on February 15, 1965. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of the entrance of IPA's Primary School building. These are three security units who were waiting for their starting shift. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Picture of a large banner at the entrance of IPA's High School Building showing the different degrees at their Night Section (General Science, Letters, Commerce, Computer Science). (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This was the second stepping stone towards my formal educational goals. I can’t emphasize how much I cherish my experiences at this excellent learning center. It currently looks exactly the way it was 44 years ago. Tomorrow I will continue with my college education. Good Day.
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