Returning to school after many failures and, in some cases, at an age that does not correspond to "normal", is not an easy decision. In Súmate's schools, each student has different stories and motivations, but they are united by the desire to advance. These are the first-person accounts of students from the Padre Álvaro Lavín school in Maipú, where they tell why they decided to return to the classroom and why Súmate was their best opportunity.
Javiera, Felipe, Samanta and Mateo attend high school in two-for-one mode, daytime, free of charge, and like their classmates, each one brings different life experiences that once led them to give up their studies. Expulsions, failures in the classroom, economic problems, are some of the reasons they give.
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Javiera (20): "My goal is to finish high school".
I am in the first and second year of high school. Last year I wanted to finish first and second but I had many problems. In my adolescence I went through many things and the support the school has given me has been great. The Súmate school is a great support because the teachers are not only concerned about your homework, but also about how you are emotionally. They have always been a support for me. When I was a child I was very lonely and spent all day here because there were problems at home, and they were always aware of my situation.
It took me a while to go back to school, but here I am. I had to work, make money. But then I said, "Now, I'm going to start studying. I talked it over with my mother, I told her I was going to study because it's bad that everyone has finished fourth grade and I'm only in first grade. If tomorrow I have a son, a family, I want to tell him: "Son, I got my fourth year of high school”. Today, when I'm 20 and I'm in my first and second year of high school, I have a different mentality.
This is an integration school and the majority of us who come here is because in the other schools they did not receive us because of learning and attention problems, which is already a problem for that school. Second, if the child is bold, has problems and is a problem for that school, they will not receive him. But not here. They receive you. They level you up until you are on par with your grade.
Felipe (20): "An added stress".
The experience here is very different from a normal school because many say that it is very easy to be in a two by one, but it is an added stress because there are two classes in one.
I come from nothing. I don't remember who interviewed me, but that's when I realized that I hadn't learned anything and that it was better for me to be here. I didn't want to assimilate at first because I had suffered bullying and I didn't want more of the same.
The school has helped me not only academically, but also emotionally. Sometimes you arrive with problems and what the school tries to do is not to overwhelm you with subjects. They put themselves in your shoes.
Mateo (18): "I wanted to get out of my environment".
I'm doing third and fourth grade, high school. My experience has been good. The school helps me with whatever I need. They support me. They help me understand the subject better.
I want to continue studying. I also like programming, I like numbers. I used to study at home, that's why I went to school. I was bored, I wanted to get out of my environment, out of my circle and meet new people. My mom found this school through a friend. Without a doubt, I would recommend it because of the experience I have had.
Samanta (19): "They explain up to 10 times".
I came to this school in 2015. I came from a regular school and it wasn't the same. The support they give you here is not the same. Here they know you. They get to the bottom of you. Not like in the others, where they only care that you attend, nothing else. Here they care about how you are.
When I was a child, I was the problem child. I went through all the schools and this was the only one I made it from third to eighth grade. I left and then came back. I was kicked out of all the schools because I misbehaved. I used to go to school to do nothing but to do bad behavior, but not here. Here I come to learn. I didn't even know the tables. They took the time to explain to me, up to ten times if I didn't understand. I didn't know how to add, multiply, read in a row, and here they teach you all that.
Lately I've had a lot of problems at home and I tell my head teacher everything. And he's attentive, when I'm absent, he asks me if everything is okay. Javiera and I are the best in the class and despite everything that has happened to us, we want to get our studies, our high school education.