On May 20th Enlace Project staff members Bethany Nelson, and Enrique Corrales, visited the site of the Casa de Zinc schoolhouse that was built last year with the participation of Enlace Project and volunteers from New York. It was a great opportunity to see the educational progress the community is making in the rural area of San Cayetano.
The school director couldn’t express enough, her gratitude and appreciation for the school and the supplies that have bettered the education of the local youth tenfold. She shared with us that as professors there is nothing more rewarding for them than to be able to provide more for their students and to witness the positive changes they have over the course of the last year.
The academic performance and interest in studying, by part of the students, as well as the enrollment percentages have seen a steady increase since the building was completed. The headcounts have gone from around 21 to almost 30 students in the primary level, and from about 5 to 11 in the preschool. The professors believe that the schoolhouse speaks for itself as an attraction for the students to want to attend classes. Student’s punctuality, attendance, participation and development have been some of the best things the teachers have taken from the experience of receiving the new school. As teachers, they see the space and the security of the building as a big help to better the ability to manage a multi-grade classroom.
The space that was once lacking now provides her with the ability to separate the different age groups and hold classes with helper students who lead the group through lessons. The students now don’t have to worry about pre-existing issues such as insects and small reptiles falling from the ceiling, or the weather affecting the dirt floors that once served as the base of the schoolhouse. Aside from the building and its sturdy floor, the community is appreciative beyond words for the materials that were donated to the school. The teacher’s desk, the bookshelf, and the books daily make life at the school easier.
The teachers aren’t the only ones who have felt the positive changes of the project however, the students have too, and they proudly shared with us with more than just their words how much they love their school. Upon arrival the students welcomed us with a large hello and lots of smiles. They shared their excitement to be able to show us how they study and learn.
Fifth grader Jaosca, told us that she feels comfortable in the new school because “before [they] studied in their homes and it never felt like school. Now when [we] come to class, we can safely study happily with our friends.” Twelve year old Angel saying “I love Mathematics, but I would probably not like it as much if I couldn’t come here to study with my teachers and classmates.” Elven year old Angie shared in the beliefs of her classmates and told us that because of her experience with the new school she now aspires to one day return to teach elementary education.
Without a doubt the community is benefiting from the construction of the school house and on their behalf they are very grateful and appreciative for this gift that keeps on giving. Education starts in our schools but has no end; learning happens every day in every way.