Michael J. Levitt, founder of The Michaels Organization and an IGFA world-record holder, has a special place in his heart for the children in Guatemala. For the past seven years, Levitt has hosted a billfish tournament at Casa Vieja Lodge, and during a recent trip he visited the school where many of the lodge’s employees, captains and mates send their kids.
The Santa Cecelia School serves some 300 children and was in urgent need of repair. It needed more classrooms, ceiling fans, furniture and computers. The children had been asked to bring one cinder block per month to school so the blocks could be used to build classroom walls.
Levitt challenged his fellow anglers to help raise funds for the school. The group, with a large donation from Mike personally, raised over $55,000, more than enough to not only fund repairs but to build a whole new school.
On their return trip for the 2017 tournament, the work had been completed and the changes were amazing. Improvements included new roofing, walls and flooring and a bathroom with running water, something they never had before. There was also enough money for new desks and textbooks. Most importantly, enrollment has doubled since the school’s renovations.
Aside from his work with The Michaels Organization, Levitt is a 2017 inductee into the IGFA’s Fishing Hall of Fame.