By Barb Martin – Friends of Villa Hortencia Uno Luciano Castro Tum begins the morning at 4:30 am weaving cloth to be sold as part of the family business. He is a 9th grader in Villa Hortencia 1 where he receives his lessons via distance learning from the Nicolas Christian School in Nebaj. Luciano, a 20-year-old has been waiting for an opportunity to attend school past 6th grade. He is a member of the first graduating class of 9th graders in Villa Hortencia 1. It takes approximately 4 hours to weave one section of cloth which will be sold in San Juan del Quiche, a 2-hour walk over the top of the mountain and then a 4 hours bus ride to the market. In November, Luciano graduated from 9th grade at the ceremony in Nebaj. He is now excited about completing the first ever 10th and 11th grades. His goal is to graduate from University with a degree in engineering. He is the top student in his class with a promising future thanks to the donors who support education in the Ixil area.
Villa Hortencia Uno – Gail Hall, Chapel Hill Church When I first traveled to Guatemala in 2009 I thought I was going on a beach mission trip – how fun! Instead, I landed on top of a mountain at the end of a road, in an area largely forgotten by the world and their country. Despite the death and destruction all around them from the civil war, the Maya people survived with their faith intact. I fell in love with these people and the land, now coming here 1 to 2 times a year. In fact, I told the villagers once that my husband thinks I have a boyfriend here as I go so often to visit them! The more I came to know the people in this village, the more I realized that despite all our differences we share the same dreams for our children and for their futures. Dreams of health, education and a better life. I now have watched the children of VH1 grow up, from crazy kids running around the fields to well-behaved students excited to be a part of the new future. I am so thankful and excited that through the Nicolás Fund for Education, middle and high school is now a reality for those families willing to take a scary step and encourage their children to be a part of a new future. The villagers of VH1 all give their thanks to us and pray that God will bless us for our help. One of our students summed it up beautifully: “The goal that I have is like a dream, and now I can reach that dream so my goal becomes a reality. ” …
We have 35 new incoming students for the class of 2025 at Nicolás Christian School: From Los Angeles: 13From La Bendición and San Felipe: 7From VH1: 6From La Esperanza: 5From El Paríso: 3From Belén: 1
New year, new seventh graders, and new partnerships! Nicolás Christian School starts their new school year in mid-January and we already have an eager batch of seventh graders ready for middle school. Would you, your church, or your small group be interested in sponsoring the new students from a village this year through eWAVE’s “education with a village”? This program gives you the opportunity to support a small batch of students from a village on their educational journey. Get to know them personally through mission trips, video conferencing and personalized communication. Supporting them through donations, visits, communication and prayer shows our students how much they are valued and cared for. This partnership can be scaled for any budget – check out our website for more info and contact us with any questions!
We are hoping to offer virtual attendance at our Nicolás Christian School graduation ceremonies on November 15, 2017. [spacer height=”20px”]We are still working out details to make sure this will be feasible, but if we can arrange it, you would click a specific link which would be e-mailed prior to the ceremony. If this is something that you would be interested in, please contact Becci Merritt via the form below.
Thank you so much to our wonderful and faithful donors! We are in good shape to face the challenges of another academic year now and start to envision what 2018 might look like for these children and the Ixil community. We thank God for the way that you stand up for these children in the Ixil so that their hopes and dreams can be realized!
Friends, thank you so much for investing in the young lives of Guatemala’s Ixil region! Through your generosity, students from this desperately impoverished region are looking forward to a future free from poverty—through a high-quality secondary education! Because you care deeply about the students we serve together, I want to celebrate with you some of the great accomplishments of the Nicolás Christian School. I also want to share with you an urgent request as the new school year gets underway in January 2017. I am so blessed to report that, still in its first year, the Nicolás Christian School has already become known throughout the Ixil region as a center of educational excellence! Our science and computer labs are one-of-a kind, and our library/resource center is the envy of other schools. The leadership is excellent. And, most important, the school is openly and unapologetically rooted in the Christian faith. No wonder our students are so proud of their school! These amazing blessings are due to donors just like you—along with other faithful friends—who have stepped up to support and pray for the school and NFE students. This January, a new class of seventh-graders from Agros Ixil villages will start their first year at the Nicolás Christian School. We have begun work with three additional Agros villages, and those children are anxious to begin attending Nicolás Christian School. Three students from San Nicolás, seven students from Cajixay and other students are praying that they will be able to continue their education beyond the sixth grade. We won’t be able to accommodate these additional students unless we can increase our budget. We haven’t yet raised sufficient funding to cover their scholarship …
Help us celebrate the graduation of our 9th and 11th -grade students this November! Juanita from La Bendición will also be graduating from 11th grade in her distance learning program. This achievement is a miracle! Juanita’s education stopped after 6th grade because her significant physical disabilities made it impossible for her to travel to another village for 7th grade. Juanita is very bright, and she has flourished through the distance learning program. Her stated goals are to help her parents learn to read and write, to write a book about her life and to help the youth in her village. All of these students have achieved an important milestone. Being able to graduate from high school is not common in the Ixil. Many students in other schools drop out to work in the fields or help at home, or because they are unable to afford the cost of uniforms, books, supplies and transportation required for secondary school education in Guatemala. Drop out rates are high, particularly for girls. Many girls get married at age 14-15 and begin raising their own families. Nicolás Fund for Education has been extremely successful in retaining our students year to year. This is evidence of how God, through donations made to NFE, is literally changing the trajectory of these student’s lives. They are completing high school, getting married later, having children later, and are more likely to have children who are immunized, have better nutrition and are read to by their parents. It is considered quite an honor to have North American guests at graduation ceremonies, and isn’t it an important part of our relationship-focused program to celebrate what these hard-working students and their …
Four Nicolás Christian School ninth grade students were named as Honor Students for their July grades. Isabela Elda, Isabel Rebeca, María Yat and Pedro Isaías all received top scores! Isabela Elda had the highest score at 87%! The ninth grade as a whole averaged 85%, which is exciting! The grades for Nicolás Christian School 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th -grade students averaged between 75-77%. In Guatemala, a minimum score of 60% is needed to pass a class. NFE has established our own minimum score as 70%. In years past when our students attended a different school, a great deal of tutoring was required to help our students achieve 70%. These recent scores confirm what a great job Professor Braulio is doing as our Nicolás Christian School Principal, and that his educational strategies are succeeding. Our teachers are also to be congratulated for their fine work!
Through your generosity, Nicolás Fund for Education is now able to serve students from five Agros villages: La Esperanza, La Bendición, Belén, Villa Hortencia Uno and now San Nicolás! NFE is strategically planning for the future. We have a four-year lease on our current school campus. We have three more years on our lease at this location but we can already see that we might outgrow that facility by the end of our lease. We realize that we should allow lots of time to build any infrastructure improvements we would need to make for a different leased property. We are evaluating where that school should be located to serve our students best. The Cotzal area is more central to many of our villages, and having the school closer to our students will reduce NFE transportation costs. However, we also need to be thoughtful about the locations of other Agros villages that might be sending students to our school with the help of donors. By planning now, we hope to have the new school ready to step into when our current lease is up. NFE encourages you to consider whether or not you or your family would like to be one of those future donors and make a five-year commitment to sponsor one student from an Agros village from 7th through 11th grade. We can only add these students to our school as we engage new donors who support them. Might your church small group or business like to sponsor 2-3 students? The cost for a full scholarship for one student is $3000/year. Half scholarships are also available.