With your help we were able to bring this type of education to a special group of scholarship students for the 2018 and 2019 school years, and now we are looking ahead to the 2020 school year which begins in February. We want to make sure that these six wonderful kids, who have become an integral part of our community the past two years thanks to your contributions, can continue with Escuela Ceiba. That is why we are opening up the Escuela Ceiba Scholarship Fund again and asking for your support.
ESCUELA CEIBA’S JOURNEY
2020 will mark the beginning of Escuela Ceiba’s fourth school year. And what a journey it has been since that first meeting we hosted in our garage in March of 2016. At that point, we didn’t yet know that we would be embarking on this rollercoaster ride of starting our own school; we had just gathered together a group of interested parents of young children to talk about schooling in León and brainstorm ideas for our kids’ education.
After several meetings, we determined that starting a school was what we needed to do - and what León needed. We envisioned a unique educational space in León that would foster children’s love of learning, encourage their creativity, develop their critical thinking skills, and provide a respectful environment for the students’ growth as human beings. So we formed a collective and set to work on this vision. And a lot of work it has been! With a multitude of lessons learned along the way, challenges and of course, great rewards.
In February 2017 we opened our doors for the first time in a shared space, offering preschool for a group of 15 kids aged 3-5, with two teachers as our only paid staff.
In 2018 we moved into a larger space of our own, where we started to put down roots, planting gardens around the school and growing in staff. We opened up first grade and became certified by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education (MINED). We offered our first scholarships and happily welcomed into our community children from a more diverse range of socio-economic conditions.
Unfortunately, 2018 also became a year of great turmoil for Nicaragua. Starting in April 2018, a severe political crisis rocked the country and took a huge toll on our school community as many of our families and several staff members ended up having to leave. 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.
So that’s just what we did. 2019 became a year of rebuilding. For the first time we had a full-time director on staff, and we were able to resume many of the plans we had for 2018 which got waylaid by the political crisis. We opened up our school to the wider community, offering extra-curricular classes in English and robotics, a summer camp program during school vacations, and hosting 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! We also organized more field trips this year - to the nearby volcano Cerro Negro, the historical ruins of León Viejo, a local farm, and a special end-of-year outing with families to release endangered baby turtles into the sea.
In 2020, we aim to keep on growing. We will offer preschool through third grade of primary school, with the goal of opening an additional grade each year. We are excited about the new cadre of teachers that will join us next year. It will be our biggest team of educators yet, and we have plans to provide a more structured orientation process and ongoing training and workshops throughout the year. We will continue to offer English and robotics courses, and hope to open up some other extra-curricular 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 10 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 2020 school year for five children who started at Escuela Ceiba in 2018. 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.
- Mariana Martinez
- Barbara Scola
- Emma Yorra
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