On November 30, 2012, Orfe and I attended the graduation of 8 students from the Basico Telesecondary School in Purushila. In Guatemala, students attend Primary School for grades 1-6 and then Secondary School for six years, three years in Basico and then another three years where the students diversify into various fields and study them specifically. These 8 students graduated from Basico with a diploma. They each plan to continue their studies by working during the week and attending classes on the weekends (that's the way this level of education is done here.) For additional information on the structure of education and educational goals and realities, see the following articles. http://www.avivara.org/aboutguatemala/educationinguatemala.html
This was a very special event for the students and their families in this small village. I found it most touching when the parents of the students were invited to give their son or daughter the diploma. Only mothers were present and came forward, though some of the fathers may have been outside the gates. (I am not sure why the men gathered there.) Many tears were shed in these moments, especially by the graduates. I am guessing that for several of the families, this is the highest that any family member has achieved in education.
One family in Purushila seems to be the educational promoters. The mother of this family, Erelia, earned her teaching degree at the age of 39 and started the preschool in Purushila. She and two of her daughters and a few other women continue to educate the youth in this school. This family sponsored a dinner for the graduates at a restaurant about 25 minutes from the village. It was a delicious and grand affair.
The ceremony was held outside at the preschool not at the Secondary School (not sure why). Several persons spoke to the graduates including Erelia.
At this event, I met the director of the Telesecondary School as well as the instructor of these students. I sort of invited myself to visit their facility once school resumes from vacation in January. I am eager to see what happens in this school and to try to continue to forge bonds of collaboration and cooperation. SewHope is eager to share computers with this school, but we are not yet satisfied with the level of cooperation between the director and SewHope. The pre-school does have a computer program with SewHope computers and Ismael has also taught computer classes to some adults in the village.
Meet the graduates!
Amarylis, age 17, wants to study to be a secretary. She also graduated from the preschool.
Widman, age 14, appears to be the progidy and wants to be a counting expert. He also graduated from the preschool.
Josselyn, age 15, wants to study administration. Josselyn is the oldest child of Felicita, one of the health promoters in the village. Josselyn helps her mother to feed the children of the village Kids Against Hunger food twice a week at her home. Josselyn also graduated from the preschool.
Wilson, age 19, wants to study administration. He also graduated from the preschool.
Leticia, age 17, wants to be a preschool teacher.
Gregorio, age 19, wants to study administration.
Mario, age 16, wants to study administration. He attended the preschool.
Leticia, age 21, wants to study business administration. Leticia has an infant son. Her family, teachers and classmates encouraged her to complete her studies and will help to support her as she continues her education. She also graduated from the preschool.
Sr. Pam Buganski
Sr. Pam joined SewHope as our first American Project Coordinator in 2012