“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing….!” American Hymn Author Anonymous
THANKSGIVING DAY is not a recognized holiday in Costa Rica. However, we all can pause and be thankful for all of the wonderful blessings we experience each day. To all of my U.S. “Friends” and others, I wish everyone well and please know that I am forever thankful for the support and encouragement embodied in this “Friends of Copey” journey.
Let’s face it..! We are clearly on a roll with ongoing and continuous good news. Last week, you were informed that we had begun the process of setting up the “pathway” for one or two young high school students in Copey to travel to Emory & Henry College next summer. We are currently working on the second of three key elements needed to make this a major success. This element involves the selection process. The Learning Center is responsible for identifying the two students who will represent the Learning Center, the community of Copey, and their country. We hope to have all of this completely in place early next year. For the full story on this project, check out last week’s Post.
“YES”… I promised you news on a second initiative involving Emory & Henry College. In partnership with the college, we are developing a second “pathway” for sending a couple E&H college students to Copey in the late Spring of 2016 to work as volunteers in the Learning Center. The college faculty, college students, the Learning Center, and of course “Friends” are all strongly interested and are now developing the criteria/requirements students must meet to be eligible for this volunteer assignment.
WHY are both initiatives important? We want to open doors and produce opportunities for Copey students in greater numbers to consider higher education in their future. We want these students to return home to Copey as new ambassadors for higher education and student role models and student community leaders promoting the value and importance of secondary and higher education. These students will also have the benefit of spending time on a college campus and will have the forum to educate and inform others about student life and education in Costa Rica.
The E&H college students will benefit by satisfying a volunteer service requirement as a Bonner Scholar student. These students will spend about 6 weeks in the Copey community living with host families, learning about the language and culture, assisting the Learning Center, and gathering information about the education system within a rural community setting. Both sets of students will experience much more than this and this will also serve to set up future opportunities for both local high school students and college students. We are still in the infancy stages of development for both pathways but there is a commitment of time, energy, and resources to get this put together.
PEN PAL students from the Learning Center are featured in a short presentation singing a song learned from a CD provided by Lisa Baldwin, our traveling music teacher in Virginia. The Learning Center students demonstrate their English-speaking/singing skills and also demonstrate how one teacher by sharing can provide an important teaching tool. Click on the link and sing along with the students. https://youtu.be/VKim1IP4YXk.
Last week, I shared the Pen Pal letter sent from Lisa’s music class in the Sugar Grove, Virginia elementary school to the Learning Center. This week, I am providing you the Learning Center students’ response. Please read and observe how the students inform and educate their new Pen Pals about their home, school, and community. This is one of the key drivers behind Pen Pal letters. New relationships are being formed and students learn from each other. We can foresee topics pertaining to geography, life styles, similarities and differences in communities among many other topics being exchanged among the students. As “Friends” we can also learn too by keeping close watch on the kinds of information being passed back and forth. One other key feature of the Pen Pal program is the involvement of teachers on each end. Teachers can easily see the educational benefits Pen Pals offer students.
I invite you as “Friends” to look closely at what we are doing with Pen Pals and K-Kids building bridges of learning and communication. Look around and if you find a teacher, a school class or Sunday school group, the scouts or some other organization involving young students, let them know about this or put me into contact. We are doing something very unique and there are no limitations on how much students can learn using this process.
Learning Center Closure for the Costa Rican summer is now in effect.
I expect to receive graduation photos soon and will send them out with the next Post. I will also provide a summary of what “Friends” and the Learning Center accomplished this year and what we are planning for in 2016. I am making a “Special Request” for you to send a short note directed to the Learning Center and students congratulating them on having a successful year. We did this last year and Posted several of them (see December 28, 2014 Post). It was a big hit and very much appreciated by students and staff.
Pre-Announcement! We have on the horizon our annual funding campaign for the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund and the financial assistance in 2016 for the Executive Director’s position. An official Post will be issued in mid-December announcing our financial goals, the start-up of our funding campaign, and guidance provided on how to donate if you have plans to.
NASCAR FINAL UPDATE
The NASCAR season is officially over and the end of the Hall of Fame career for Jeff Gordon is now at an end. The race yesterday for
the Championship resulted in Gordon coming in 3rd among the 4 eligible Championship chasers. He finished overall in 6th place. In both cases, he did very well although we wanted to see him end his 23 year career as the Champion. It was emotional for me and other #24 fans as we witnessed the pre-race ceremony honoring Gordon with an outpouring of praise and appreciation for his driving career. Fans and foes alike
demonstrated their respect and admiration for his achievements and clean driving reputation. I became a Gordon fan about two years after his rookie year and have been a loyal fan throughout the years. I have attended 4 NASCAR races and once stood in his Pit and spoke to a crew member…but never met Gordon. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Hendrick museum and been in the presence of his cars and trophies representing 90 plus NASCAR wins. That is as close as I got and with honor and respect…it was close enough. Go #24!!!