Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scholarship Roundup: The 2014 Year-End Assembly

By Amy Scheuren
Photos by Jeff Leventhal

Pop Wuj held its Annual Scholarship Assembly on Wednesday November 26, 2014, inviting over 140 scholarship students and their family members to the Pop Wuj for a day full of activities.

It all started at 8am with medical checkups for the scholarship students.  All students were weighed, measured, and given preventive anti-parasitic medication, a fluoride treatment, and month's supply of vitamins.  If any student was sick, they also had a full consult with one of the Pop Wuj staff doctors.

Ingrid, being weighed and measured

Vitaminas para todos!
The next stop was upstairs at Pop Wuj where the students began writing letters to their padrinos and madrinas--their scholarship sponsors.  As students from Xela, Llanos del Pinal, Xeabaj II, Chirijquiac, San Juan Ostuncalco, the Southern Pacific Coast, Solola, Momostenango, and other nearby villages worked on their letters, their family members found seats and waited for the formal assembly to begin. Michael, a Pop Wuj student, helped keep the kids entertained with his fine guitar skills!

Michael and Oscar playing guitar
Carmen de Alvarado, the Pop Wuj Director of Social Projects, spoke first, acknowledging the hard work and consistent effort of the scholarship students and their families.

Carmen honored the thirteen high school graduates.  Eight young women and five young men graduated from high school this year.  Some of these graduates expect to continue studying part-time next year.  Others will begin working full time.

High school graduates
Carmen then honored the basico graduates, the students who have completed middle school (9th grade).  This year six boys and ten girls graduated from basico.  We anticipate that all of these students will continue their studies next year.

Basico (middle school) graduates
Finally, Carmen called the primary school graduates to the front, recognizing the two boys and eight girls who have completed 6th grade. Graduates of all levels received a book as a graduation present.

Primary school graduates

Next, piping hot paches de arroz (rice tamales) and hot fruit punch were served.  Doña Delfina and the mothers of the Family Support Center children and youth prepared 400 paches!

Serving the paches

After lunch Adam and Jeff corralled the students for pictures on the roof.  Carmen and Amy met with community leaders and individual families to receive last-minute grades, distribute the December scholarship payment, and provide school supplies for the 2015 school year.

Students from the Llanos del Pinal group

Students from Momostenango

Students from the Xeabj II group

Students from the Chiriquiac group

Students from the San Juan Ostuncalco group

Students from Xela

The very last stop of the day was the "paca."  We offered clothing, shoes, and various other items for sale at very low prices.  The approximately $50 that we made from the sale went directly back into the Scholarship Program Fund at Pop Wuj.  

La paca!

Craziness ensued in the paca

It was a long and tiring day, but it was fantastic to see so many students together, recognized for their academic achievements and their families' perseverance in the face of countless obstacles.  The 2015 school year begins in mid-January and we're hoping for an even better year for our students!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much to the staff at Pop Wuj, especially Carmen and Amy, for the work that you do with these young people. You are giving them a chance that their parents probably never had to escape poverty. God bless you for the work that you do.