"Oscar" at First Term 2017 Scholarship Awards
I am happy to report that six more of CAA's young scholarship students graduated from elementary school at the end of 2017 and were eligible to enroll into high school in 2017. In our last report, we highlighted the academic success of 4 young women who earned straight A's for the 2016 school year. But for every success story, we understand that there will be some disappointments and this report reflects that reality.
This report highlights the plight of one very bright December, 2016 elementary school graduate, a young man that I will call "Oscar". As the eldest of four children, Oscar is at a very difficult crossroad right now. Oscar and his siblings lost their father to a drug gang killing a few years back, and Oscar's mother served prison time for dealing drugs only to be released on a witness protection arrangement with relocation to San Ramon. Oscar has been in the CAA scholarship program for 2 years, and despite his excellent elementary school grades, he must leave the program.
Under Costa Rican law, educational attendance is no longer required after completion of elementary school. So, between 6th and 7th grades, many young students are pushed to go to the fields to work to help the family. And, the spector of drug dealing in their barrios is a real barrier to education for many of these students - especially for 12-13 year old young men who are quickly recruited by drug dealers knowing that these young "runners" are treated lightly if caught.
Oscar was awarded scholarship vouchers for first term 2017, but he was not able to use them. Oscar was not able to get into high school first term because Oscar's mother has refused to sign his 2017 high school registration papers despite numerous attempts by CAA and other social agencies to get this done. Was the mother just being irresponsible, or is there some other reason this very capable student is being kept out of school? We recently learned that because of persistent association with and threats from drug dealers, Oscar's mother is moving the family to Nicaragua to find a home away from a particularly vengeful gang. Whether Oscar can return to school after his relocation is an open question; and this development represents a disappointment for those that have supported Oscar for the past two years.
Although CAA's supporters through GlobalGiving have helped Oscar get through elementary school; now, we can only stand in solidarity with him and hope that he finds a path to continue his education. Even more importantly, we hope his family finds safety in a new location.
Although the futures of some of these children are filled with uncertainty, your donations are an intrical part of these children's successes. And, despite some disappointments, we continue to support education for these children in poverty. Now, we must hand over the reins to a higher power to continue to support and watch over Oscar and his family. Buenas suerte, Oscar.