The best measure of our success is not what our students achieve in the classroom, but what they do outside of it. While our oldest students are only now in their mid-twenties, many are already accomplishing much in Copán Ruinas and beyond. Here's a closer look at what a few of our former students have achieved:
Daysi is a motivated Mayatan grad who has recently achieved her lifelong dream of opening up a psychology clinic in Copán. She began her education at Mayatan at the age of 9, with no previous instruction in English. Upon arrival, she worked hard to pass through 2nd and 3rd grade in a single year. She then spent the summer receiving extra lessons from her teachers so that she could join her age group in 5th grade. Daysi went on to become a top student in her class and graduated from Secondary School at Mayatan.
Daysi moved to San Pedro Sula to continue her education through high school and university, where she received a degree and license to practice clinical psychology this past year. After graduation she moved back home to Copán Ruinas and quickly opened up her own practice! Daysi's clinic is the only in Copán to offer psychotherapy. We are happy to see that Daysi is pursuing her dreams and offering a much-needed service to the people of Copán.
The son of school founder Nora Arita, Juan Angel was a member one of the first graduating classes at Mayatan. He credits an early Mayatan teacher, Mr. Eric, for instilling a strong work ethic in him at an early age. Later, Juan Angel was able to study abroad in Switzerland, where he learned German.
Juan Angel went on on to earn a degree in agricultural engineering at Zamorano College in Tegucigalpa, a prestigious agricultural school that attracts students from all over Latin America. Such a degree is highly valued in Copán, where coffee bean production is central to the economy. Juan delivered his thesis on the effectiveness of biological fungicides in preventing coffee rust in November 2013, and is now applying to Master's programs in food science in the United States. With a Master's degree, Juan Angel feels he will be well qualified to return to Copán and work to improve the production of his family's coffee farms.
Karen is a young woman from Copán Ruinas, who now lives in the nearby town of Santa Rita. She graduated from Secondary School at Mayatan in 2006, just a few years before Mayatan begin offering high school classes. Karen attended high school in Santa Rita, and was able to retain her English skills learned at Mayatan.
After graduating she began work in the local municipality, but she lost her job after a new candidate came into office. Sadly, Karen's mother passed away around this time, leaving Karen to care for her younger sister, who is now in 8th grade at Mayatan. Karen's English abilities helped her to find work at the Children International's Copán Office, where she manages donor communications.
Carlos was a member of Mayatan's first kindergarten class, and has gone on to become one of our most accomplished alumni. Like Juan Angel, Carlos studied agriculture at Zamorano College. He also spent a year studying food science at the University of Arkansas, and later learned artisanal cheese production while working for a cheese maker in Southern Indiana.
Carlos returned to Copán and began producing gourmet cheeses of his own, which he sells throughout Honduras. He also opened up a cafe and restaurant that serves his cheeses along with range of other locally-produced products. His high quality foods have earned him a reputation among visitors to Copan, and business at his cafe is strong. Carlos says that the English skills he learned at Mayatan have been essential to his management of the cafe, where he often converses with visiting tourists.
Jose Danilo graduated from High School at Mayatan in June 2013, as a member of Mayatan's second-ever high school class. For his family, Danilo's graduation was a momentous achievement: Danilo was not just the first member of his family to earn a high school degree, but also the first person from his village, El Sinai, to obtain one. El Sinai is a small, very poor village outside of Copán that has few opportunities for economic progress. Danilo received a full scholarship to attend Mayatan, funded by the donations of generous group of sponsors.
Danilo's ambition didn't end with a high school degree. He now studies in the United States at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Life in the United States has been an enormous adjustment for Danilo, but he knows that it is worth the sacrifice. Danilo is pursuing an associate's degree in auto mechanics, and he intends to return to Copán to open up his own mechanic shop after he graduates.
Gabby attended Mayatan from Kindergarten to the 9th grade, and was one of the top students in her class. After graduating, she applied for and received a scholarship to attend the elite Discovery International School in Tegucigalpa. Gabby now studies Communications at Lynn University in Florida, with an emphasis on TV production.
Gabby intends to pursue a career in documentary-making, so that she can tell the stories of people who need help across the world. She has already worked with the NGO World Vision International their communications programs. She cites the influence of her Mayatan teachers in encouraging her to find answers to problems on her own, a trait which has stuck with her over the years. We are proud that Gabby wishes to dedicate her career to serve those in need, and pleased to have helped her along that path.