Graduations are always poignant at EFTC. But in 2021 they were extra special. To graduate in a pandemic is an achievement for any student, but to graduate in a pandemic in rural Guatemala is quite another.
It cannot be overstated just how many hurdles these students had to overcome to stand up in front of their proud teachers, parents and peers to be congratulated: lack of online access, parents without skills to assist with home learning, worries about siblings and parents whose whole incomes disappeared overnight, claustrophobic housing with no personal space, let alone a desk to study at. Yet they made it.
Our 6th graders' shy smiles inspire us to take them to the next level as we celebrated them successfully completing Primary School. We reminded them that they are capable of more than they ever thought possible, having shown great courage and commitment over the last two years learning from home. We know they will continue to be successful in Middle School next year, with the support of their family, sponsors, teachers and all of the EFTC community.
Our 9th grade students graduated Middle School and will soon begin a new academic stage as they start various different high schools on EFTC scholarships. Since they walked through the doors of the Foundation their energy has been boundless. Once upon a time they were tiny kindergartners and we have had the privilege to watch them become wonderful young adults. A special mention to Luis Fernando for being our "Outstanding Student" of the Class of 2021.
Finally, our graduating High School and University students. We celebrated them all together, back where they came to their first school. It was an emotional ceremony as they have not only been studying at different schools but they have been doing so mainly from home, feeling totally isolated from their peers. As they graduated, together at last, they could finally relax and enjoy all that they have achieved in 2021.
One special mention must go to Franklin, one of our scholarship students, who received his High School Diploma in Science and Arts with a focus in Computer Science. Franklin has always stood out for his commitment and dedication to his education. We were delighted when he received the second highest grades in the graduating class.
Every day our students fight against the statistics of school dropout rates in Guatemala. There are many factors that push young people to leave their education and go out to the streets to work. This is the first step towards a professional life for Franklin, next year he will be studying System Engineering and we’ll be there for him every step of the way!
Our 2021 graduates are so resilient and we, with all our parents, families and supporters' help, are excited to see what the future holds for them.