Thursday, May 31, 2012

Seminario project

Tomorrow our 17yr old daughter, Zoe is finishing her Seminario project.
This is a project that I have heard many students talk about but until I have lived through this project I never realized the depth or importance of it.
Seminario is a project that the whole class of 12 th graders have to finish.  If you do  not finish it , you do not graduate from high school. It is a Guatemalan educational requirement. 
It has to be done, in co operation, with all of the class or small groups inside the class.
It basically starts as soon as 12 th grade starts.  I know that Zoe was anxious about it before school even started.
Her class is extremely small ....there are five students graduating and she is the only girl!
Zoe attends an International school here in Pana and that is why she is about to graduate. Her school follows the U.S. calendar... Guatemalan schools are from Jan. to October.
Tomorrow , she and the four other students, have to be formally dressed, the boys in suits and ties, Zoe in pants, white shirt and suit jacket.  They have to present their project to the Dept,. of Education. They have approx. 25 people invited to the presentation.  They will find  out at the end of the presentation whether they have passed . If they fail, they will not be able to graduate from high it is pretty stressful for them.  They have been in rehearsals now for three hours.  The presentation will take approx. 2 hours. 
Zoe and her friends all come from families that have been able  to send them to a private school.   They did not have any problems having the supplies that they needed for this project.
They were fortunate that the group from SAIT in Canada came down and wanted to work with them on the "Liter of Light" project which is what they chose to do for Seminario. 
The presentation is being held in the salon at Hotel Dos Mundos which happens to be owned by one of the parents.   None of them had to worry about not having shoes or the right clothes to wear for this presentation.
But my heart goes out to the students that we sponsor and all the other students who also have to do these projects.
They have to raise the money to buy their materials.  They have to have a lot of free time to be able to work on these projects.  It is months of work.  Most of these kids have to work part time to be able to pay for the needs of their schooling so it is a real hardship for them to have the free time, then they need the clothes to be able to go to the presentation, the families have to provide refreshments for the committee, the salon needs to be decorated. Then the families have to have the free time to come and watch the presentation.   Most cannot do that.  Then their are the costs for the graduation.    I sometimes feel that in some ways this is how the poor of Guatemala are kept down, they cannot afford to have higher education...and if by some stroke of good fortune, they do manage to make it through to 12 th grade ...after all the work they have done, this is like a huge obstacle course, many students drop out in 12 th grade because they just do not have the money to be able to pay these costs. 
Thank you to everyone who sponsors a student and makes it possible for them to continue  and overcome these obstacles.
Sharon Smart-Poage
registered 501.(c).(3) Non Profit Charity

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