Thursday, November 6, 2008

More than a diploma

A few days ago, Colegio Shalom held graduation services for kindergarten, sixth grade and tercero basico, which is the final year of high school. Casa Shalom had 7 graduates total - Victor from kindergarten, Hector and Maria from sixth grade, and Nixon, Juan, Cesar and Benjamin from high school. For these kids, especially the high school graduates, a diploma is so much more than a piece of paper. The odds have been against these children from the beginning, with an illiteracy rate of 31% in Guatemala. Many of them had little or no education before coming to live at Casa Shalom and some of them have to contend with learning disabilities. We are so proud of the Casa Shalom graduates, from kindergarten all the way to high school! So what's next for the students? In the next few days, Victor will be moving from the toddler house to the "big boy" house with slightly older boys. The sixth grade graduates will enter high school and the high school graduates will start career programs in everything from education to accounting to mechanical engineering!
Photo 1: The kindergarten graduates line up (Victor is front row, fourth from the left) Photo 2: High school graduates Juan, Benjamin, Nixon and Cesar - don't they clean up nicely? Photo 3: Victor shows off his diploma! Photo 4: Graduates Benjamin (high school), Nixon (high school), Juan (high school), Victor (kindergarten), Hector (sixth grade), Maria (sixth grade), her brother Cesar (high school). Photo 5: The graduates pose with their diplomas!

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