Things are moving in the right direction.
Changing directors at the high school has been a huge boost to the project. Finally, there is a Tico who is truly passionate about the project, not just the money, and also has the time and energy necessary to steer the project (or at least is making time and finding energy).
The new director, don Marlón, has found contractors (and funds to pay them), makes time to talk to me, and is cracking the whip on the junta. The contractors are great guys, they always make time to answer my questions, and since they are being paid by the project and not by the hour they are hustling. So far they have poured all of the cement for the subfloor, plastered all of the walls and are almost done installing all of the "windows" and doors. Next week they plan to install all of the electrical. After electrical, they should just need to install ceiling panels and tile the floors.
Marlón is meeting with the juntas on January 4th to get the last check signed and materials purchased so that this can get wrapped before the start of classes and I can submit the final report on time. Unfortunately we are going to be out of town on the 4th, but I have complete confidence that Marlón will get things taken care of, and that's a nice feeling.
|Progress - all the "windows" and doors have to be fabricated on site|
In other cole news, the first class of seniors graduated on Monday. Five young men from the area will be heading to the universidad next year. About twenty-five ninth graders also graduated from Ciclo III, hopefully in a couple of years they will all be graduating (from a high school with more classrooms and a dining hall/kitchen) with their diplomas.
|The first diplomas handed out in La Colonia|
|Don Marlón (director), Kennedys (artist and Ciclo III graduate) Harold (math/science teacher who volunteered extra hours to help prepare seniors for final exams)|
|Environmentally themed mural that won first prize in a national contest - designed and painted by Kennedys and three other students|
In sad news, I talked with Carlos, the English teacher from the high school and he doesn't have a job next year, not at our school or any other school in the country. In my opinion, this is completely ridiculous for a number of reasons.
1) Carlos actually wants to work at our high school, in the campo with unfinished classrooms and no dinning room.
2) Carlos is great teacher.
3) Carlos wanted to and actually worked with me to improve his English to be a better teacher not just a better English speaker.
4) Out of a senior class of about 15 students, only three didn't pass the national English exam required to graduate (I don't think that they would have passed no matter who their teacher was). An 80% pass rate is off the charts here.
I really hope that Carlos will be offered a job in the coming weeks, ideally at Liceo San José del Río.
|Carlos with Maikel, another Ciclo III graduate|
|Los Profes - beard growing, French, science, English|