Our History

Our History

Mazapan School was established in 1928 as a measure adopted by the Honduran division of Dole to reduce the turnover in La Ceiba of dependable foreign employees with families.
Years of academic excellence!
Mazapan School is a worthwhile place for children to spend their days.”

The school of English language was opened in the Mazapan Yard, in building No. 105, formerly a bakery near La Ceiba Commissary, and offered an opportunity for education of company children while living at home.

The implementation of the school was approved by the Federal Board of Education and was at once met with popular approval from the company and community of La Ceiba. Residents of La Ceiba, other than the Company employees, also applied for admission of their children into the school. Mazapan School opened on March 12 with Miss Margaret Snowden, a teacher from Louisiana Public School System and with thirty-eight pupils in attendance.

All other written information concerning Mazapan from 1929-1960 was destroyed during a reshuffling of offices within the company. Except for scattered pieces of information gathering from alumni who still live in La Ceiba, the story has been interrupted.

In 1960 Sister Mary Agnes Perez, superior of the sisters of Mercy Convent, accepted the administration of Mazapan School with Principal Sister Mary Annella, Sister Maria Dolores, Mrs. Margaret Beckman, a teacher and company employee’s wife, and teachers, Miss Sally Hanlon, and Miss Carmen Laffite . There were nine grades (1-9). On March 4, 1963, Mrs. Finda de Valle began teaching Spanish classes three days a week at Mazapan.


A History of Mazapan School, written by the Sisters from 1960-1966, includes the following points of interest.

  1. In 1963 students from grade nine took scholarship exams for entrance into the American School, Tegucigalpa. Hector Fernandez won the scholarship to continue his high school studies.

  1. In 1964 the faculty consisted of four Sisters, Sister Mary de Montfort, Sister Kevin Mary, Sister Mary Reginald, Sister Margarita, principal and Mrs. Valle.

  1. In May 1966, achievement and intelligence testing was introduced by Sister Margarita as an effort to measure the program against those in the U.S.  

In 1967, it was decided by Standard Fruit Company to open grades ten and eleven to better serve the needs of the local and the transient community who felt that students were too young to leave home after grade nine. Mr. William Fascitelli, who had had many years of experience in high schools in Tegucigalpa and in the U.S., was hired as a high school principal. The University of Nebraska correspondence course was adopted, under the direction of Mr. Fascitelli, because of the high school program was not accredited. The Theresin’s home was converted into classrooms.
In 1969, the Joplin plan of reading was introduced as a temporary measure to reach children at their success level. Also, a former Peace Corps volunteer who lived in La Ceiba was hired for grades three and four. This began the effort to hire teachers with knowledge of Spanish and Honduras. Mazapan School joined the Association of Bilingual Schools of Honduras made up of Escuela Internacional Sampedrana, Academia Americana of San Pedro Sula, The American School of Tela and La Lima, and the American School of Tegucigalpa. This association was formed to increase understanding among schools and to provide inter school activities within which students would travel to various parts of Honduras. Sister Christina Martin, director of Mazapan School, was elected vice president of the association for two years and president there after two years.
In 1972, in San José, Costa Rica, initial steps were taken toward accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. A team of Southern Association members, Dr. Joseph Johnston, Dr. Guy Burchfiel, and Dr. Burtler James arrived in September of the same year to assist in the self-evaluation of Mazapan School. After two days evaluation, they rated the school as a “worthwhile place for children to spend their days.” The day of days came in December 1972 when Mazapan School was accredited at the SACS convention in New Orleans, after only 3 months preparation instead of the usual two years. Sister Christina Martin, director of Mazapan School for fourteen years until 1981, developed Mazapan into a highly respected English-speaking school.
Computer Science and band were added to the curriculum during the three years Mr. Frederick Thompson was Director. An additional company house, an all-purpose room, and a new classroom were also added. In 1985, under the direction of Dr. Raymond Marshall, Mazapan School was incorporated into the Honduran Ministry of Education. Mr. Lee Borne was superintendent of Mazapan School from 1986 to 1991. During that time an additional company house and significant expansion of present buildings took place. The Mazapan road which had run between the buildings was closed, the covered walkways were added, and the Mess Hall was annexed. Additional playground equipment was purchased and playground space was added. The school began accepting up to 35 students per grade.
Dr. Thompson’s second term at Mazapan began in the fall of 1991. This time he and Mrs. Thompson stayed with the school until June of 1996, when they accepted another position in Turkey. Dr. Thompson took the school through its ten years self-study with Southern Association of colleges and Schools. He also concentrated his efforts on a focus in technology and introduced learning styles and Lions Quest International into the curriculum. In the fall of 1996, Ms. Helen Austin accepted the position of superintendent of Mazapan School. Ms. Austin had lived for many years in Honduras and had worked as director of another bilingual school in Honduras before coming to Mazapan. Ms. Austin was originally from Liverpool, England. Under Ms. Austin’s leadership, the school refocused its efforts on the basics of responsibility, discipline, and values. Also, because of the changing conditions in the community, Ms. Austin upgraded the security in Mazapan by fencing in the entire area. Other major constructions were completed also during Ms. Austin’s administration. The covered waiting area by the high school was completed, the office was completely remodeled. The house in front of the office was converted to classrooms, a new outdoor gymnasium was built, a cafeteria was constructed, and the library was doubled size and remodeled. Also, the entire campus had a face lift with new adoquin sidewalks, decorations, plants and flowers. Besides the physical aspect of the school, Ms. Austin continued focusing on technology and was instrumental in acquiring many computers with internet and CD-ROM capability.
In 1998 Hurricane Mitch ravaged through Honduras leaving many homeless and dead. Mazapan students and teachers, under Ms. Austin’s leadership, helped to rebuild many houses, cleared the downed trees and brush from our campus, went out to rural areas to help translate for medical caravans, and aiding in the distribution of food to the impoverished. The hurricane taught a lesson in humility to even the most fortunate in Honduras.
In 2009, Mazapan began the Preschool program with Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. These classes began with fewer than 20 students in each grade, but the program such a success that interest grew to 28 students per grade. In 2010, Mazapan graduated the first Kindergarten class. The Pre-Kinder and Kindergarten classes where thriving in 2012, and Mazapan decided to open its doors to La Ceiba’s 3-year olds by opening the newest class – Nursery.
Mrs. Martha Counsil became Superintendent of Mazapan School in the year 2001. She had been a teacher at Mazapan for many years and had also held the position of Counselor. She successfully implemented many changes to the school and under her leadership the school built a new Cafeteria building with a healthy food program. She focused on continual improvement of the technology program; bringing computers into the classroom and acquiring Mimio Boards and projectors for all the classrooms. Mrs. Counsil continued her focus on the school’s improvement plan and development of a customized curriculum designed for Mazapan students’ needs and preparedness for higher education both locally and internationally.
In 2016, Courtney Cullum was appointed as the Superintendent of Mazapan School after the retirement of Mrs. Counsil. Ms. Cullum previously served as the school principal where she supported curriculum development and the implementation of the school’s technology expansion of students utilizing their own devices. Among the developments for the following years are the continuation of providing Advanced Placement (AP) courses, continued curriculum and assessment development, and the enhancement of facilities. As Mazapan looks toward the future, it follows the model of its past into continuous improvement to remain its best and representative of its pelican legacy.

About the School

Mazapan School is a Nursery-12 co-educational bilingual school Founded in 1928 and located in La Ceiba, Honduras, offers an U.S.-style college preparatory instruction program. The students attending Mazapan School become fluent in both English and Spanish and receive a U.S. High School diploma and a Honduran Baccalaureate degree.

Address and phone numbers

Mazapan School
6th Street, Beckman Avenue
Zona Mazapan
La Ceiba, Honduras
Phone: +(504) 2443-2716
+(504) 2443-1001 ext 2600