A few months ago, the Puntacana Foundation uploaded a video to our YouTube channel that may have flown a bit under the radar, but it’s for a subject that is near and dear to our hearts, so we would like to explore it a bit more and discuss one of the most exciting projects the Foundation has ever undertaken.
(It’s okay if you missed the video the first time around. We won’t judge. We’ve even included it in this post so you can see it without even having to open a new tab.)
The Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic School was built by the Foundation in 2004 and has been enriching the lives of students in the Punta Cana area ever since.
If the names Ann and Ted Kheel sound familiar, it’s not just your imagination. Both Ann and Ted were involved in the civil rights movement in the USA in the 60’s and 70’s. Ann was also a dedicated environmentalist and civic leader, while Ted wrote multiple books on conflict resolution and mediation as well as books on labor law. Perhaps most importantly for us, Ted was a leading developer of the Puntacana Resort and Club. He was always looking for ways to put his philanthropic inclination to use, which is why the school honors his legacy by bearing his and his wife’s names.
The school is not just a monument to two remarkable people, though. In fact, the Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic School is the only public high school within 50 square miles of the Punta Cana International Airport and hosts 562 students from nearby towns including Verón, Bávaro, Cortecito, and Cabeza de Toro, all of whom have access to the wealth of resources the school has to offer. Perhaps chief among these resources is the computer lab that gives students hands on experience with the types of software that are commonly used in the workplace. In addition to the computer labs, students also have access to physics, chemistry, and biology labs.
This duality of the practical and the theoretical is at the heart of the curriculum at the Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic School. While students will learn the fundamental theories behind physics in their labs, they will also be able to put those theories to the test with hands on experience in their technical classes. As we saw in Claudia’s video above, there are technical workshops that foster students’ knowledge and abilities in areas such as plumbing, computer science, and refrigeration. On one hand we have the science that makes these professions possible, and on the other we have the practice that allows one to succeed in these professions. These students are given the knowledge and the practice to understand both.
In addition to the scientific and practical benefits of attending the school, students are also constantly improving their knowledge of English as the Polytechnic School is a bilingual institution. And, perhaps most important of all and in accordance with the beliefs of the Kheels themselves, admission to the school is 100% merit based and open to students from a variety of socioeconomic statuses. Tuition at the Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic School is nominal as the PUNTACANA Foundation believes in making education affordable and available to all who are chosen to attend.
The primary thing that the school provides is inspiration. As we see with Claudia in the video that started this blog off today, the school thrives on the smart, diligent students that pass through its doors every day. The school does not only provide knowledge and skills: it provides a second family. The school provides values that these students will take with them into the world and use to give back to their communities. Claudia’s is just one of 562 stories of passionate students being given an opportunity to thrive at the Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic School.
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