I left Honduras after that school year, but Reina and I stayed in touch throughout the following years, and she continued to excel. From time to time I would speak with her current teachers and the comments were always the same: Reina is bright, hard-working, and kind. She received a scholarship every single year at San Jeronimo.
When it came time to move on to high school, Reina was at the top of her class, and the top of the list to receive a scholarship to continue studying at a bilingual school in a neighboring city. High school is a beast for most people, but Reina had challenges many will never face. In order to get to school every day, she had to wake up at 5 AM for a two-hour commute and then leave school immediately at the end of the day to take the two-hour commute back home. When that began to affect her studies, she moved in with a classmate who lived in the city where the high school was, leaving behind her mother and sister in her home town. I never heard her complain, but I knew she missed her family dearly.
Flash forward in what seems to be record time, and Reina is at the end of her high school career. Fortunately, and in large part due to her dedication and the many sacrifices of her mother and sister along the way, Reina has received a partial scholarship to attend the Universidad de Anahuac in Cancun, Mexico, where she'll be pursuing a degree in Tourism. 90% of her tuition will be covered, but as most of us know, there are many other costs associated with going to college. Her mother and sister are helping, as well as another former teacher and me, but there will still be gaps to fully cover the costs of room and board, books and supplies, healthcare and transportation.
To help try and raise some funds to fill the gap between the scholarship and the cost of books, supplies, transportation, and living expenses for four years of university. Reina plans on finding a job once she is settled into her new city and school, but she'll still need assistance.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Anything you are able to give would be enormously appreciated. To those who gave books and supplies back in 2007, thank you for getting this train started! Reina has so much promise, and she will not take her education for granted.
Based on information and estimates the Universidad de Anahuac provided, as well as known costs (for ex. we already know how much Reina's monthly living expenses will be), I've estimated a need of approximately $40,000 USD for four years. That number gave me some sticker shock, but I reviewed projected costs for these types of expenses in the U.S., and my estimates were far below those figures. I adjusted the goal to $30,000, taking into account things like earnings from whatever job Reina is able to find, and monetary help from her family, the other former teacher and me. Regardless, $30,000 is a big goal to aim for, and while it's totally possible we won't make that, anything raised will make a difference for Reina.
I will post updates of Reina's studies, and in the event that we raise more money than expected or there are leftover funds after paying for her school costs, I will donate the money to the school where I taught Reina in second grade: San Jeronimo Bilingual School in Cofradia, Honduras.
- Bonnie Erickson
- Vicki Shelton
- Jessica Gorelick
- Tim Carson
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