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.
The July NFE team spent two days with our Nicolás Christian School students, praying for and encouraging them. Our trips help us to really get to know these students through personal conversations. The students love to perform for teams and have prepared dramas using mime actors. Students also lead us in worship with songs and have recently added instruments such as guitars, keyboard, a trumpet and percussion. The July team was planning to put on the third annual all-day Teacher Professional Development Workshop for local Ixil teachers. This year we’re thrilled to have 80 Ixil teachers attending from a variety of villages! Nicolás Christian School has its own internet capacity, and one of the presenters at the workshop was a Spanish-speaking Seattle Pacific University professor who did a Livestream presentation on the topic of special needs students. The teachers received a certificate from SPU at the end of the day. One of the other real benefits of these workshops is for teachers to network with each other, to promote sharing of resources and information as well as supporting each other in the pursuit of educational excellence. The July team spent time meeting with parents and teachers in La Bendición, La Esperanza and Belén to answer their questions and obtain feedback. The team also spent time with primary school students in these villages. Be on the lookout for the date of the July Team Trip Report for details about how these plans unfolded!
Pedro David is the son of pea and fruit tree farmers. He has older twin brothers, Gaspar and Juan, and two younger brothers, Eduardo and Angel Gabriel. Pedro David’s mother has had to stop weaving due to eye problems. In 2006 Pedro David’s parents expressed the dream that their children would, “one day be able to attend and graduate from high school.” Pedro David is just about to fulfill their dream this November when he graduates from 11th grade, thanks to your donations! Pedro David recently volunteered to preach the word of God during student-led worship at Nicolás Christian School, and reportedly did a fantastic job! He is also making progress in both academics and in his spiritual growth, according to NFE Program Director Ivan España. Pedro David was the “Top Student” at Nicolás Christian School last month! Pedro David recently told us, “Before I began attending Nicolás Christian School, I was worried because I was not studying. Now that I have a scholarship to attend Nicolás Christian School, my life is happy and changing many things, and getting better every day. If I were not in school, my life would be different. I would maybe be doing other activities that do not benefit me personally. Please pray for me to do my activities better than before, to get good grades and to not go through bad times.” Pedro David’s mother requests prayer for employment opportunities for Pedro David after graduation in November.