October ends the school year in Guatemala. This year, the Kateri Fund has four graduates. Silvia Sian Quiej, Blanca Surec, Barabara Tartan, and Francisca Cutzal Sian.
Silvia Sian Quiej and Blanc Surec Umul will receive their degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. They have spent their practicum learning the skills they will need to work in the kitchen, manage events, and the reception desk. They are eager to find work and continue their studies weekends at the university level.
Barabara Tarton did her secretarial practicum in the Coordinacion Tecnica de Educacion. She had to stay away from home during the week and missed her family, but it all went well
Francisca Cutzal Sirin finished her practicum with fourth graders in elementary school. She enjoyed teaching the students although it was a challenge planning and working with the students in the morning and attending her own classes in the afternoon.
The new challenge for them all will be to find work. It can take up to a year. The young women stay connected to the Kateri Fund by doing volunteer projects with the Fund to repay their scholarships. Through this connection, we are able to keep them from getting discouraged and to motivate them to keep looking. We also are seeking funds for our work experience program which places them in community jobs with a stipend. This provides the experince which many employers require and gives them some income to keep them going. Consider donating to this project at #9862 Work Experience for 10 indigenous women to support the job search of these young women.
The rest of the young women will continue next year in the program. In November we will be deciding on how many scholarships we will be able to award. We have more than 20 applicants. To be able to serve all who have a need, we will need to have this project fully funded by Dec 1. 2013. Please get the word out to your family and friends and solicit their support.
At our July meeting, we tried a new technique. Mishel Cutzal, interning with the Kateri Fund to get some work experience, presented an entertainig way to share learning. The theme was Personal Hygiene. The young women were divided into groups. Each group was given part of an article on Personal Hygiene to read. The group was asked to report on what they had read using their creativity. Two groups reported with a song. Another presented a funny skit that was very entertaining. Mishel awarded points according to a scale that had been explained to the group at the beginning. They included smiles, level of participation, initiative, and creativity. There was a tie for first place with 95 points, so the two groups were declared the winners and will receive a prize at the meeting next month. Everyone enjoyed participating in a new way. In their individual interviews they shared the new things that they learned about personal hygiene and its importance in daily life.
Francisca Sirin is finishing up her student teaching and will graduate in October. She is very busy as she does her student teaching in the morning and is attending her own classes in the afternoon.
Silvia Sian Quiej also will graduate this year as a teacher. She is preparing her seminar presentation and then will do her student teaching. The last year of studies is always very demanding, but she expects all to go well.
Blanca Surec, Aura Curruchiche, Lily Garcia Alvarado, Reina Cuxil, Sandra Lopez Cotji, and Paula del Carmen Cali all have averages in the 80's. They are good students working hard to succeed.
Adela Surec is doing even better with an average of 91%. She wants to keep it above 90%. Her parents are very proud of her and are giving her the support that she needs to do well
Clara Ecomac To, Glenda Tum To, Barbara Tarton, and Marilena Patzan are all working hard to maintain their average of 70%.
The young women appreciate the confidence that you show in them with your support. They often say that they do not want to let their supporters down and that it gives them an extra incentive to keep at their studies. Thank you for your support.
This month, the young women created a mural from newspaper pictures using all the knowledge they have gained so far this year about vocations and careers. It was a way to review what they have learned while having fun. They can see their creation each time they attend a meeting.
Lily Garcia Alvarado was welcomed as a new scholar moving us closer to our goal of 20 young women on scholarship for the year. She is studying for a career in computer use in an office. She is in first year of this high school level career. She is from San Pedro Yepocapa in the state of Chimaltenango. She studies weekends and helps her mother selling refrescos during the week. She is enthusiastic about her studies and finds it interesting to explore and investigate with the computer.
The other students are all taking exams right now. Their studies move along and they are all working hard to keep their grades up.
In Francisca Sirin's village, they celebrated their annual fair. They had religious activiites and a cultural night with many traditional songs, dances, etc. The last day, they had a parade and all the schools participated. They also had a soccer game and the young people, both boys and girls, took part.
Francisca and Sandra Lopez Cojti are both doing their student teaching. Francisca is really enjoying working with the 4th graders, but she says that you need to pay attention to the mischievous children who don't want to work. Sandra is working with two grades, 3rd and 4th. It appears to her that the 3rd graders are more responsible than the 4th graders.
Barabara Tartan's parents are very pleased because this is the last year of her career training. They are busy in the fields sowing corn to harvest at the end of the year. Barbara is a little worried because her grades have gone done so she plans to work harder to bring them up.
Reina Cuxil's school celebrated Mothers' Day in the municipal gymnasium in Chimaltenango. They presented a dance dressed up us little children and they sang songs. She enjoyed making marionettes in her Art Expression course during the month.
Marilena Patzan is busy studying to be a bi-lingual secretary weekends and during the week she works with her family harvesting peas. This year's crop was a good one. Some they will sell for export and the rest they will sell in the local market.
The girls as always are busy and working hard to fulfill all their responsibilities.
At the March Kateri Tekakwitha Fund scholarship meeting, Juana Cun, 2009 graduate and Candelaria Sut, 2010 graduate shared their work experience.
Juana advised the students to have a goal and be persistent-not give up until they reach it. It is necessary to organize your time and put other things aside in order to succeed. As a wife and mother, she has many responsibilities, but she finds a way to fulfill her obligations to both, even though she often must stay up late to accomplish all her work. She has found it worth the effort. One thing that has motiviated her is that she discovered that with more academic training she was able to command a higher salary. She might do the same work without the degree, but she was paid less. She felt they would not regret the time they devoted to their studies.
Candelaria told them that the most important thing was not to be afraid of new things or undervalue yourself. She had found that everything is possible, but it oftens takes sacrifice and hard work. Her greatest day was when she received her first salary. She never had that experience. Before she finished her studies, she had worked as a domestic. In that situation, she never was free. She received a small salary, but was mainly paid with room and board. It is not the same as having your own salary and making your own decisions about how to use it.
The students has many opinions about the presentations. Sandra Lopez, Blanca Surec, Reina Cuxil, Aura Curruchiche, and Paula Cali said that the two former Kateri scholars were examples that helped them understand that you can accomplish all that you propose for yourself. Adela Surec took away the idea that to get started you need to take whatever job is offered even if it is not what you have studied and with some work experience you can find a job in your career. Silvia saw that these two women had a positive outlook and were not afraid of new things. They had struggled to accomplish what they wanted. Glenda Tum and Clara Ecomac received advise on how to keep a job- to be punctual, responsible, and disciplined. Marilena Patzan was encouraged to move forward in her studies and to organize and use her time well. All of the students felt that the life lessons of Juana and Candelaria were helpful for them as they struggled with their studies and obstacles to meeting their goals.
On Jan. 13th, the Guatemalan Scholarship Team, Carmela Paz Bal and Emilsa Peren, met with the 2013 Kateri scholars in the first meeting of the new school year. Carmela and Emilsa oriented them for the year, assigned their sponsors, and began the new workshop series. The themes of the workshops for 2013 all relate to leadership and vocations in Guatemala. For the first meeting, they presented ideas about how a leader makes decisions. The young women also signed their committment statements for 2013.
Adela Surec and Aura Curruchiche joined the group this year. Aldea is in the 10th grade studying to be a bookkeeper. Aura is beginning junior high.
Adela finished elementary school in 2007 and was unable to continue her studies. She was needed at home. She dedicated herself to weaving and selling her products for a year. Her parents then encouraged her to return to school. She continued to weave to support herself and with the help of her parents finished junior high and her first year of high school. She comes highly recommended with an 86% average for 2012. She had the honor of carrying the flag in the Independence Day parade, an honor given to outstanding students.
Aura. left school after 5th grade. For six years, she worked to support herself and contribute to the family income. At 18 years old, she returned to finish elementary school. This year, she is continuing in junior high school. Although she is older than the other students, because of her enthusiasm and lively personality, she is able to fit in. She continues to work in a bakery to support herself and her education. She earned an average of 93% in 2012. She was overjoyed to receive a scholarship. It encourages her to continue and will mean she can dedicate herself more to her studies.
We would like to spread the word about these young women struggling to get an education. Pass this report onto your friends and family. Those who you think would be interested. One of them may be interested in investing in these young women.
Everything is possible with a little help from a friend!
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