At Escuela Ceiba in León, Nicaragua, we believe that all children should have access to an education that respects them as individuals, discovers their strengths, expands their minds, and helps them flourish as happy, healthy beings.
With your help we were able to bring this type of education to a special group of scholarship students for the 2018-2021 school years, and now we are looking ahead to the 2022 school year which begins in February. This year, we have decided to expand our scholarship program, based on the demand in our community. We have accepted three new scholarship students in preschool, and we also continue to have more students in need of at least partial scholarships due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are therefore planning for six full scholarships and five partial scholarships. So once again, we are opening up the Escuela Ceiba Scholarship Fund and asking for your support.
ESCUELA CEIBA’S JOURNEY - A STORY OF RESILIENCE
In 2022, Escuela Ceiba turns five years old! As we get ready to begin our sixth school year, we reflect on the journey we have had since that first meeting hosted in our garage in March of 2016. There have been many ups and downs and twists in the road. In only five years as a school, we have lived through two major crises!
2018, our second year of existence, brought a severe political crisis to Nicaragua, taking a huge toll on our school community as we lost about half of our families and several staff members. We managed to finish out the school year (thanks to donations from many of you!), but ended the year in a much worse state than we had started out - needing to rebuild our community and our staff, adjust our financial projections to the new reality of a poorer economy, and get our school back on track for growth.
In 2019, we rebuilt. We started up our robotics program, as well as extra-curricular English classes, summer camps during school vacations, and community events such as a children’s puppet theater, movie night and a Zumbathon. Our robotics club participated in the national Robotics Olympiad for the first time, and won all three places. It was a banner year - really our first smooth, normal year in our own space - and we were looking forward to continuing that momentum into the next year.
Then COVID-19 hit. We were only a month and a half into our 2020 school year when we had to close the school and shift our focus to figure out online learning. Once again, our resilience was put to the test. The pandemic's effect on the economy hit us hard - first, by affecting people's income, meaning some families could not continue paying tuition, and second, by forcing us to cancel our extracurricular robotics and English classes, which were a key source of income for us. We hustled at once to figure out how to make ends meet and how to operate in this new world of online learning. And once again, we made it through. After five months of remote learning - including intensive teacher training in the Google education platform, we were able to finish out the school year in person with a hybrid model.
For the 2021 school year, we returned to full-time in-person school, but with several interruptions over the course of the year due to the pandemic. We were able to open up our extracurricular courses again and rebuild and re-connect our community to some extent, but with a lot of limitations. It was recovery, but not a full recovery. We weren’t able to offer our extracurriculars consistently throughout the year and we still have many members of our community who are suffering financially.
But we also made wonderful memories. We hosted a successful Open House in April for our students to showcase what they had learned so far in their classes. Our robotics club won first prize in the national competition and had the honor of going on to compete in the World Robot Olympiad, which was virtual this year. And the children in each classroom put on impressive and creative end-of-year plays for the families.
Finally, in what has become an Escuela Ceiba tradition, we ended the year with a special outing with families to release endangered baby turtles into the sea. The act of conserving and releasing these little turtles is very symbolic for Escuela Ceiba. It represents not only an important value for our school community - that of taking care of our environment - but also our work as a school - taking care of our little people, teaching them what they need to live well, guiding them and then setting them free into the world.
And, since it coincides with the end of our school year, this activity is also a farewell. Releasing the turtles into the sea, we said goodbye to them and at the same time to the year 2021. Hoping, together, that 2022 will be a year of good health, good spirits and community.
In 2022, we will offer preschool through fifth grade of primary school, continuing with our goal of opening an additional grade each year. We will also offer English and robotics courses, and hope to open up some other extracurricular activities as well.
We hope you will continue on this journey with us, and we thank you for your support.
My name is Abby Augusta, I have lived in León, Nicaragua for 12 years, and am one of the co-founders of Escuela Ceiba. I am currently President of the Board of Escuela Ceiba, and my children attend this school. The funds donated to this campaign will be used to cover a combination of full scholarships and partial scholarships for the 2022 school year for the children who need it. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, materials and transportation costs for each student. The funds raised from this campaign will be sent to my personal bank account in the U.S., from where I will transfer them to Escuela Ceiba's bank account in Nicaragua. I am happy to provide more detailed information on the withdrawal process for anyone who is interested.