After graduating eight students from 2022 and losing one due to academics and another for disciplinary issues we added six new students to make up this 2023 class of 25 students. We reduced the class size from 29 to 25 and re-apportioned the budget to fund additional tutoring and to bring on a new intern trainee, Noelia. Alisson and the Committee will train Noelia for the rest of 2023 to get her ready to take over intern duties in 2024. Alisson will continue as a CAA scholarship student for most of 2024 while working on her thesis and social worker license, allowing her to help Noelia successfully transition into the primary role of Program Administrative Intern.
On the 28th, we awarded the 2022 colegio graduates with special graduation vouchers, and five students received academic achievement awards for scoring 90 or above on all of their subjects last year. We then awarded scholarship vouchers to the 25 Class of 2023 scholarship students, and off they went to our merchant partners to collect their school necessities. As of February 15th, we have already funded 4.7 million colones in education aid, and, by the end of the year, we expect to fund a total of almost 11.7 million (about $20,000).
We are pleased that two of our graduates—both multi-year academic excellence award winners—were accepted by UCR for studies in architecture and in accounting. One of these proud graduates stood before the group to express her appreciation for the assistance and support given her by the CAA Scholarship Program over the past 10 years. She was one of our first enrollees in 2013! She encouraged the next classes to work hard for those grades, seek help when needed, and take responsibility for their own growth, and to set goals and find ways to reach those academic and career goals. University accounting courses await her in March.
Other graduates missed scoring high enough for the UCR cut-off and plan to enter the UNED (distance learning university). At least one student, who missed the UCR cut-off by a single point, plans to register at UNED and then to re-take the entrance test again next year hoping for admission.
What are we doing to help? The Committee earmarked up to 1.5 million colones to fund a new initiative, specialized tutoring support, and, for the second year, to fund university entrance exam prep courses. Additionally, we are arranging for our students to attend Saturday math tutoring sessions through a no-cost program offered by UCR locally. Arranging for our students to attend these sessions on Saturdays will be challenging, but if students are motivated to catch up on their studies and be ready for the next opportunity, we will do our best to assist them. With these new tutoring initiatives, Alisson really needs the additional capacity that Noelia can offer. Noelia is already degreed in social work, and is now studying law, so she will be an asset to our intern services.
Additionally, later in February, and into March, we are scheduling forward-focused orientation sessions for the fourth- and fifth-year students and their parents; to inform them of available vocational and university eligibility requirements. It is critically important that 4th year colegio students focus on academics—fully 50% of their university eligibility score is based on the last two years of colegio grades, and Johanna Fernandez advises that the 4th year grades actually represent 2/3rds of that colegio score used for university admission. So buckling down early is the key to university eligibility. For those students who will not go to university, it is important to think about future careers and identify the paths necessary to achieve those career goals.
At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, a number of students and parents remained to hug the education committee members and to share their gratitude for the assistance. These sentiments were matched by the satisfaction of the education committee members who have worked tirelessly to help the students reach this important milestone.
We are so very thankful for the ongoing local and international support. Because of your efforts, CAA has been able to provide just over $100,000 in educational funding to San Ramón area students over the past 10 years. The graduation and university degree total continues to build each year, reinforcing our resolve to assist these families in poverty through education.
January 28 was a day of pride for all of us, and a reminder that it truly takes a village to raise a child! Our goal now is to make the Class of 2023 even better prepared to meet the future.
If you would like to contribute to our San Ramón students who need your help to be successful in school, go to www.globalgiving.org/18714
~Scott McAnally, Education Committee Leader