December 26, 2016
Happy holidays everyone, I hope you are all enjoying the season whether celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or simply spending time with your friends and family.
I’m writing from Guatemala where exactly a month ago a special celebration was held for the graduation of the high school class in the school in the community of El Triunfo.
It was a wonderful privilege to be able to attend and share in the excitement and joy with our six graduates, Carmen, Marcela, Silvia, Delfina, Carlos and, Miguel, along with their families which included parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters as well as their friends.
The events of the morning began with a mass which was followed by the ceremony. As usual, the proceedings were a touch too formal for me and included a flag procession, the playing of the national anthem, words of greetings from community leaders, teachers, the school director Antonio, the middle school director, a representative of the Ministry of Education (in Kaqchiquel and Spanish) and the guest from Canada (in his version of Spanish), which was all interspersed with musical segments courtesy of the Municipal band from Sololá (which has previously made other appearances at the school.)
But eventually the fun started with the presentation of the diplomas. As the name of each graduate was announced, there was a rush to the stage by their family with cellphones ready to capture the moment. This was followed by Marcela who spoke on behalf of the class who thanked the school director, their teachers, their parents as well as the school’s friends in Canada for their support.
This year, which was new to me, there was also a ring ceremony where each father presented a ring to their daughter or son. For me this was the highlight of the day as you could see how happy everyone was. You can see additional photos from the day on my Flickr page.
As you know from my previous updates, we’ve decided to stop funding the high school in 2017 due to enrollment issues as well as the lagging donations here in Canada. But I hope you will continue to support the project as in a few weeks, teachers and students will return to the start of another year in the middle school, which we will continue to support.
As I walk around the towns and villages around Sololá I’m running into current and former students from the middle school and high school. Current students want to know about my next visit to the school. Past students want to say hello and tell me what they are doing such as Alex. He graduated from the middle school a few years ago and was able to find work in a store in the tourist centre of Panajachel. He is very grateful for the opportunity to be working.
Without your financial support over the past ten years on this project, our six most recent graduates would likely have not had the opportunity to complete high school. I hope you can support the school in your year-end giving which will help me cover our expenses in 2016 and put us into a good financial position for 2017.
(If you are donating online please follow: under “Donate To This Charity Now”, please select option #2 “El Triunfo School Project.” You may also wish to indicate that your donation is for Ken’s School in the note.)
You can also mail a cheque payable to Casa Pueblito (please note this is a new address).
107A 2238 Dundas St. W
Toronto, ON M6R 3A9
ATTN: El Triunfo School Project
Thank you everyone!