“Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
By Elizabeth Bibesco
This has been a really great week. I had the pleasure of attending my oldest grandson’s graduation in Las Vegas. I am very proud of Maliek and next week’s Post will include more about him, two of my other grandsons, and a little lesson taught to me by one of my grandfathers. This will be a Special Father’s Day message to all the “Friends”. I am looking forward to sharing this message with you.
Watching hundreds of young men and women at the graduation march across the stage to receive their high school diploma was very inspiring. All these young people are heading out into the world together with a variety of dreams and aspirations. Sure, some may not have specific plans for college or further training for employment but hopefully in a short time they will see a clearer path to follow as they move into adulthood. Many others have put in motion the next steps in their lives. They know where they are headed. I sat thinking about the unlimited opportunities students have in this country. You can start very early in life thinking about your future, work and prepare for what happens after high school, and then go forth and do it. As high school students, there are not many limits if any, on what you can dream to do or want. In most cases it is determination and hard work that matters the most in accomplishing your dreams. I speculate that most of the graduating students I saw had some plans in place to get to their next step in life. This is not the case in many countries because of a variety of reasons and many reasons have little to do with the students or their lack of determination. It is the lack of opportunities and choices.
One of the cornerstone’s of “Friends” involvement with the Learning Center is to help improve the options for future school or work for rural students going through the educational process in Costa Rica. Learning to speak, read, and write in English is critical to the improvement of these options. It would be ideal if the senior students in Copey could graduate at the end of the school year with a multitude of viable choices to continue towards achieving their full potential…academically and even athletically. We believe it is a worthy goal for the community of Copey and for “Friends of Copey” to work together to inspire a higher level of interest among students for college or more viable employment choices and the key is learning English.
The Learning Center has a Department of Languages established.
Currently 9 levels of English as a Foreign Language designed for students ranging from Kindergarten age through Adults, as well as a Beginning French class for students in primary and secondary school. There is a Department of Tourism with the mission to promote sustainable rural development through education. While Copey is located in the rural central highlands, the area has seen a growth in tourism particularly because of local coffee production, bird watching, trout fishing, and “voluntourism” with a few international organizations.
At the beginning of the year, the soccer field and surrounding areas in the center of Copey were adopted by the students and each class has taken a turn picking up litter, recycling discarded bottles, and making signs in English and Spanish to encourage locals to use proper trash receptacles.
These various departments all help to facilitate the learning of English. Angela is providing the essential leadership needed for these departments to function well and achieve their educational purposes. In her recent communication to the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund donors, she said, “Words cannot express our gratitude for your support of the Learning Center.”
Yes, this is what “Friends” do. We support the Learning Center and the opportunities and options are plenty. The Learning Center has a call out for volunteer teachers for example. I know there are many teachers including “retired” teachers who could spend a few months in Copey. Our previous volunteer Hailey will certainly attest to the challenge and the personal satisfaction volunteers experience at the Learning Center. There are opportunities for additional “Pen Pals” to get involved. The list is long to consider how you can personally and directly make a significant difference in the life and the future of a student in need.
Race has been ended due to several rain delays. Jeff Gordon finished on the rain shortened race in 21st place. My expectations for Gordon on this particular track were very high since he won this race last year and three or four times more in the past. Although it hurts to see the lack of wins, color scheme madness with old #24, and a less than memorable final year of racing, I am still a loyal fan. God…I still need strength!