Principal Braulio hired our first preschool teacher, Rosa Maria, this week after a unanimous decision from the hiring committee. She’s spending this month being acclimated to Nicolás Christian School and training to support the specific needs of our villages. She speaks the native Mayan languages of Ixil (the native language of most of our villages) and Quiche (the native language of San Nicolás village). Praise God that we found such a wonderful and qualified teacher!
Nicolás Fund for Education is excited about the early childhood education pilot project that will be launching in July 2019 in the village of San Nicolás! This program is being funded through a special grant. We feel investing in early childhood education is critical to building strong foundations that will benefit children throughout their academic experience. Students learn important social skills such as listening, sharing and cooperating, and become accustomed to a structured environment. Early childhood education has been shown to increase a student’s attention span, expand their vocabulary and learn preliminary math skills. Scientific studies consistently show the benefit of early childhood education in terms of enhanced language development, increased reading and math academic scores and cognitive and emotional benefits. These students will have an opportunity to learn some Spanish language. The pilot program will take place in the San Nicolás Early Childhood Development Center, located near the San Nicolás primary school. Nicolás Fund for Education is partnering with a Guatemalan organization called Crecer. Crecer is providing equipment and training for our programs. Beatriz Ruano de Dominguez from Crecer held a two-day training session in May for Nicolás Fund for Education graduates interested in education, and those students will have an opportunity to work in the Early Childhood Development Center as Teaching Assistants. Bellevue Presbyterian Church Early Childhood Development Director Lisa Phelps organized a book drive for the preschool and parents contributed books that our July 2019 team will be delivered to the school. This pilot program will benefit 14 village families and 26 children between the ages of 0 and 6 years old. Three separate programs will be offered. Parents and children 0-2 years old will gather to learn …
A critical part of the education at Nicolas Christian School is the carpentry program. Started by our country director Ivan Espan, students learn practical carpentry skills to help make them employable after graduating from high school. Unexpected and even more important benefits are the problem solving and teamwork skills it takes to complete a project. While working with their hands is not a new concept for our students who help out in their families’ fields, the task of making desks and chairs for Nicolas Christian School and the new preschool programs was the perfect challenge for our students. Check out the beautiful results!
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
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 …
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!