The public university system in Mexico is very competitive – across all schools, only 10% of applicants will be accepted. The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is ranked No. 1 in Mexico by the QK Top Universities. This year, Christel House Mexico (CHMX) is proud to announce a record-setting five grads from the Class of 2020 were accepted to UNAM.
While Dana C., Gustavo R., Luis C., Nayeli G. and Sergio M. were admitted to UNAM, another eight CHMX graduates will be attending the Instituto Politécnico Nacional de México or ‘IPN’. IPN is recognized as the best public university to study engineering. The accomplishments of these students are spectacular in any given year, but even more impressive given the challenges of 2020. “It’s been terribly difficult for everyone,” says Tania Alvarez, CHMX Head of Schools. “Some of our students found themselves going to work to support their families and others devoted themselves to studying overtime to achieve their admissions.” With the help of the CHMX College & Careers team, teachers and academic staff, the graduates received needed support. She says all the students live with stress and trauma but didn’t lose sight of their goals. “They are dedicated, responsible, but above all, they are hard workers.”
Continuity is critical during a crisis. The team at Christel House Mexico is focused on keeping kids learning from their homes – that includes communicating with students via WhatsApp, Facebook, video messages and Zoom calls. Staying connected is part of the continuity plan. According to María Fernanda Méndez Pérez, Director of Institutional Development, the school has contacted all families to track their status and any needs. In addition to daily schoolwork, Christel House has provided over 4,000 deliveries of food and supplies for CHMX families through the pandemic. College & Careers students are also being assisted with groceries and support. “It’s important that we monitor our students that are in the process of entering the university,” says María. “We stay connected with everyone through social media.”
When the bell rings at the end of the school day at Christel House Mexico (CHMX), the learning doesn’t stop. More than 360 kids (over half the school’s students) stay to participate in a variety of after-school programs.
The after-school hours give struggling kids a chance to get remedial support in English, Spanish or Math. For others, it’s a time toparticipate in soccer, basketball, yoga, music, dance,art, chessor robotics. Twelve teachers and staff supervisethe students. Macario Zamora, after-school coordinator, says the program keepskids off the streets and gives them the chance to develop new skills. “Students canlearn something they can’t accessin their communities, like playinga musical instrument.” Veronica A., a fifth grader, appreciates the after-school one-on-one lessons with teachers. “I learn and better understand the subjects,” she says. Veronica’s mom also approves. “I’m very grateful with the attention she receives after-school,” she says.
Cesar and Gustavo attended Christel House Mexico (CHMX). But after graduating from a public high school, the brothers struggled to find jobs that would allow them to be self-sufficient. They reconnected with Christel House. With the guidance of the College & Careers program, Cesar and Gustavo decided to enroll in vocational classes. The brothers discovered new digital careers.
Cesar and Gustavo credit Gina, CHMX College & Careers counselor, for introducing them to Code Room, a web development, education and employment program to assist young people with limited opportunities. Code Room was developed by Nativo, a social media strategy company. Over 8 months, Cesar and Gustavo learned how to program and create applications. With CHMX support, the brothers earned computer programming certifications. Gustavo was hired by Nativo. Cesar now works as a webmaster for WeDeliverMedia. “Christel House has always given me help when I needed it,” says Cesar. He returned the favor, teaching computer classes at CHMX. The brothers appreciate their new careers. “Christel House gave us this opportunity,” says Gustavo.
While there may be an age difference between Denise and Natalia H., these sisters are very close. Growing up, they learned to support and take care of each other. Denise is a first grader at Christel House Mexico (CHMX) and big sister Natalia is in seventh grade. Before coming to CHMX, the girls worked on street corners selling sweets to survive.
It wasn’t always like that. When they were very young, the girls lost their father in a tragic road accident. Living with their mother, the family struggled to get by. Enrolling at CHMX, Denise and Natalia are excelling in their classes. Their mother now has a job as a domestic worker. Inspired by her daughters, Mom is going to school on weekends to earn a high school diploma. For Denise and Natalia, Christel House Mexico offers security and a path to succeed.
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