Our students on the Further Education programme, the majority of whom are first generation learners, are balancing the normal struggles of being a teenager with completing their education and the added complication of doing this from home during Guatemala's lockdown.
34 of our high school students are in their final year. With exams looming and graduation on the horizon, studying in lockdown has been a huge challenge. Even though our further education staff have been working tirelessly to support them remotely they haven’t had the chance to be in class together for months. Graduating from high school is the biggest achievement of their life so far, but under current circumstances they will celebrate at home.
So what is it like to complete your final year of school from home. We got the chance to speak to two of our students, on their path to graduation, about this experience.
Alejandra and Pedro both attended The School of Hope before graduating on to EFTC’s Further Education programme. They will graduate high school in only a few months' time. Alejandra studies Technical Drawing and Design whilst Pedro is finishing his diploma in Marketing. They are stand out examples of students full of passion and dedication, even with masks on you can still see the smiles and excitement in their eyes.
Although Pedro and Alejandra both express the difficulties they have faced during lockdown, these statements are swiftly followed by what they have learnt during this time. They are incredibly resilient and always find ways to balance difficulties with positive experiences.
“It is difficult because we do not have access to everything we need to learn like normal. However, I have learnt how to use different platforms, different technological skills which will help me in my future. And we are all going through this experience, every student in the world.” - Pedro
“I feel a little stressed, it is difficult to be shut inside, but the positive side is I get to spend more time with my family. But, at least I know how to use Zoom now :) ” - Alejandra
They have both recently taken their university entrance exams from our empty school computer room. Alejandra said that these tests, which are normally a cause of stress for students, were something she looked forward to this year. “Getting to come into the school and take the test knowing that Miss Patty and my friends were nearby was so important. It felt like normal life.”
Pedro feels that the lockdown is particularly hard for himself and his fellow classmates about to graduate on to the next step. “We are limiting ourselves to learning only what we need the most, what is applicable, because we have to remember that we are only steps away from becoming professionals.”
Despite the challenges and obstacles that they face, their positive tone and outlook for the future remains bright, a testament to their character and resilience.