At the end of October, over 200 students and family members attended LHI’s third annual graduation ceremony to honor the eleven LHI students graduating from middle school and all of the 76 sponsored students completing their academic year (71 of whom will continue their education through LHI in 2011). This is a major accomplishment in a region where only around 10% of the population graduates from middle school. Many of LHI’s students are the first in their families to reach this point, and would never have been here if it were not for LHI’s support. Students received diplomas, and awards were presented for achievements like maintaining high grades and most-involved parents.
The festivities continued the next day at a recreation park called Boxbolandia (named after the Ixil region’s favorite food!). Everyone enjoyed a beautiful sunny day swimming, playing soccer and basketball, and eating delicious snacks like fresh fruit salad and chuchitos (corn tamales filled with chicken and tomato sauce). It was a perfect way for the scholarship students from more than six different schools to celebrate the end of the academic year and share each other’s company. Usually busy with school or work, they found a rare opportunity to just be kids. With all the hardships that many of our students face daily in their lives, it was refreshing to see them smiling and carefree.