The day started will a health check-up for the approximately 90 students who attended the assembly. The Pop Wuj clinic was bursting with students who were weighed, measured, and given anti-parasitic and fluoride treatments. Any student that was ill also had a full consult with one of our doctors.
|Carmen Maria measures a scholarship student|
|Ashley handles the fluoride treatment.|
Next the students prepared cards and letters to send to their padrinos and madrinas (scholarship sponsors).
|Working on cards and letters|
Carmen de Alvarado, director of Pop Wuj's social projects, began the formal presentation by acknowledging the families' strength and effort in supporting their children's educations.
Next we honored the students who graduated from primary school (6th grade), basico (9th grade), and high school. This year seven girls and eight boys graduated from primary school (6th grade), twelve girls and one boy graduated from básico (equivalent to 9th grade), and two girls and four boys graduated from high school. In addition, two students continue to study in post-secondary programs.
|Some of the 2013 high school graduates|
|Some of the 2013 básico (9th grade) graduates|
|Some of the 2013 primary school graduates|
After a delicious lunch of tamales de arroz (rice tamales), each family met individually with Carmen to confirm educational plans for next year and receive their December scholarship payment. The day ended with "photo shoots" for each community group or family.
|Chirijkiak Scholarship Students|
|Costa Sur Scholarship Students|
|Llanos del Pinal Scholarship Students|
|San Juan Ostuncalco Scholarship Students|
|Pacaxoj (Momostenango) Scholarship Students|
|A small group of the Xeabaj Scholarship Students|
|Roney Alvarado, Pop Wuj Director, Doña Silvia, Carmen de Alvarado, and Juan Luis|
|Vasquez Vail siblings|
|López Calel siblings|
In 2013 the Pop Wuj Scholarship Program provided scholarships to 127 students, ranging from kindergarten to university level. Carmen de Alvarado, the Pop Wuj Social Projects Director, and Pop Wuj social work Spanish students met monthly with the scholarship families in Chirijkiak, San Juan Ostuncalco, and Llanos del Pinal. Carmen also met with the group in Xeabaj and with individual families who traveled to Xela to submit report cards and discuss educational challenges and school plans for 2014.
The 2014 school begins in mid-January so students are just now returning to class. We expect to have well over 130 students in the scholarship program in 2014.