The NFE November 2017 Impact Team consisted of Jan Snyder, Ruthie and Gerry Cravens, Linda Brewer, Bea Morrison, Stephanie Filipiuk and Kathy Riper. The primary purpose of our Ixil visit was to attend the Nicolás Christian School graduation of Junior High and Senior High students. It was a lovely ceremony and a joy to witness these young people receiving their diplomas and stand with their proud parents for photos. María Castro, the honor student of the Senior High class, delivered a moving speech. She was articulate, spoke with confidence and spoke without using notes.
The parents are proud of their children’s achievements. However, having one or more of their children attending the full day school program Monday through Friday means that these children are not available to help around the house or in the fields. Most parents have had little or no education but they understand the value of educating their children.
Other trip highlights were the village visits to La Bendición, Belén, San Nicolás, La Esperanza, Los Angeles and Villa Hortencia Uno. Regina, a graduated sixth grader from San Nicolás, got permission from her parents to greet our team when we arrived. She had changed out of her work clothes and was dressed in a lovely huipil and corté (blouse and skirt). The San Nicolás tutor, Tabita, shared with us that when Regina started the tutoring program this past January she could not read. Regina worked very hard all year and is now reading and eager to start 7th grade at Nicolás Christian School in January.
Pedro, the Belén primary school teacher, greeted us when we arrived. Two students who will be 7th graders at Nicolás Christian School in January also greeted us with their parents. One boy has an older brother who attends NCS and just graduated from 9th grade. I let Pedro know that Nicolás Fund for Education had a generous donor who provided a new LED projector for his Belén classroom. Pedro was ecstatic! He has spent a lot of time drawing posters for his students throughout the school year. He had shared his desire for a LED projector with the July 2017 NFE team, hoping that he could use PowerPoint presentations with his students, which would be more effective and a huge time saver.
I enjoyed my first visit to Villa Hortencia Uno. We were warmly greeted by the 7th and 8th grade students and their parents. The students had prepared a song to sing for us. This is only the second year that “VH1” has had junior high classes available in their village. The students and parents are very grateful for this opportunity to continue beyond the 6th grade.