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Las Morochas


Jimmy Hollowell, Photography

Over 48 years ago, with the development of the oil industry in the Maracaibo Lake, region of Venezuela, and a need arose to provide an education for expatriate children. Thus, Escuela las Morochas came into being.


Starting out with just a handful of students, elm evolved into a school of over 100 students and was known as one of the top American-international schools in South America. Shareholders of the school were, and continue to be, multi-national companies in the oil-related industries.

A change in the economic climate during the late nineties discouraged many of the multi-national companies so they left the area and the school population started to decline. At present, we have approximately 60 students enrolled from our early childhood education program (2yk program) through upper school.

DIRECTOR Carolyn Talbott Gary Indiana B.B.A., University of Michigan

Mary K. Ulch Principal Grade Kindergarten–4 Levels 1-4 St. Paul, Minnesota B.S., Austin State University M.A., Austin State University

Eileen B. Foley Principal Grades 5-9 Mathematics Nahant, Massachusetts B.A., University of Michigan

Since this school year 2019-2020 we have changed our name from Escuela Las Morochas (ELM) to Centro Educativo Las Morochas (CELM) due to de administrative paperwork done in front of the ministry on Venezuelan education (MPPE) to register our institution under the number R-01162318.

Centro Educativo Las Morochas is a modern air-conditioned facility that, in the future, could once again enroll over 100 students. Presently, there is ample classroom space for all of our students. In addition to the main school building, our facilities include a library, computer lab, basketball court, tennis court, and a soccer/baseball field.

The curriculum is North American, the medium of instruction is English, and the student/teacher ratio is 5.7/1. CELM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). We have recently completed the next generation of accreditation with our 2016 SACS school improvement plan, which resulted in a visit from educational experts from around the world, and resulted in renewed U.S. Certification for the next five years. (2021).

We are placed in las Morochas next to Ciudad Ojeda that is located one hour south of Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second largest city. Although we are surrounded by oil fields and wells we enjoy a basic existence. You will find nice restaurants, adequate shopping close at hand, fitness gyms, and high-quality housing with central air conditioning.

On long weekends and vacations there is a diversity of environments to explore. Picturesque Caribbean beaches, the mountains of the Andes, and rain forests are all within driving distance.

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