Last Friday, the Mission School hosted the graduation ceremony for students. It was the first time they have been able to host an in-person celebration in two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony celebrated 107 graduates, 20 of whom received full scholarships to attend school thanks to your generosity.
In Ecuador, it is common that students elect a ‘padrino’ or godparent for graduation from high school. The godparent is someone influential in their life that has helped them reach the milestone of graduation, and someone they see as a positive influence into the future. Usually, the godparent is a close family friend or extended relative. Students are accompanied to the graduation ceremony by their godparents, the students sit with their godparents, and at the appropriate time, godparents help the students move their tassels from one side of their cap to another, signifying that they are graduates. It is a sweet tradition and an example of how strong community life is here.
You may recognize some of the graduates this year. Michelle is one of our scholarship recipients that was featured in a video last year with her mom. You can view the video here. The past year has been extremely hard for Michelle and her family, as they were forced to move from their already inadequate home. Her mom continues to work in informal farm labor. Michelle had to stay home to watch her siblings for a while, even when classes returned to in-person learning since her siblings’ classes remained virtual. But despite these circumstances, Michelle was able to complete her studies with excellent grades. And there was no one with a bigger smile on Friday than her mom. Her pride in her daughter’s accomplishment was palpable. Michelle will take the university entrance exam this week and continues to hope to study medicine. Congratulations to Michelle, and all the other Mission School graduates! And thank you to all of you, who helped support so many students in reaching this accomplishment!