The Michaels Organization Funds Repairs of Guatemalan School

A charitable gesture impacts future generations

Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
A group of tournament anglers, fishing out of Casa Vieja Lodge, helped The Michaels Organization fund the repairs to the Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala.Courtesy The Michaels Organization

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.

Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
These were the classrooms prior to the start of the repairs.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
The finished project, complete with new roof.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
Repairs included paint and even a new name.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
A typical school classroom with new desks.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
Another look at the classrooms. Schools in Central America are usually open-air and lack air-conditioning.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
The new bathrooms, now with running water.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
A new roof was a major step forward as the rainy season approaches.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
While it may not seem like much, having running water in the school is a huge step forward for the children.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
The completed project.Courtesy The Michaels Organization
Santa Cecelia School in Guatemala
A thank-you banner for The Michaels Organization.Courtesy The Michaels Organization