Founder’s Corner: Graduation in Guatemala, Part 2

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It’s that time of year! In Guatemala the school year runs from January through October which means that right now we are celebrating the graduations of another class of Reading Village scholars. Our Founder & Executive Director, Linda Smith, is down there for the occasion  beaming with pride on behalf of everyone at Reading Village. Over here on the blog we’ll try to keep you up to date with some glimpses of graduation season straight from Guatemala. Check back often for more from the Founder’s Corner.

graduation in Guatemala

Tears of Joy

Notes from Guatemala, by Linda Smith . November 9, 2013

“I couldn’t count, even if my life depended on it, how many parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents in Concepcion are sending you their deepest and most heart-felt gratitude for putting their children through school, for the transformation they’ve seen in them and for the impact they are having on the community. I can count the number of promoters. And every one of them has asked me to express to you how thankful they are for your support. The graduates in Concepcion are Luis, Carlos, Ricardo, Rodolfo, Angelica and Francisca (see all our scholars here). Today of all days I want you – our international community of Reading Village supporters – to know you are appreciated.

We attended Luis’ family celebration before the Reading Village end of the year event. And before lunch was served there was a ceremony. The family ancestors were remembered, and then Luis and his parents and all his grandparents recounted Luis’ life and the painful struggle they went through to educate him. Every last one of them wept at some point in their telling of the story from their point of view, and Larry (Co-founder of Reading Village) and I cried right along with with them. And then they asked me to say some words. I was so emotional I could hardly think, let alone speak. But we got through it. It was a touching telling of the whole family’s story with Luis being the chapter of the family’s history.

I just kept looking around me, and everything I saw, all the graduation parties, all the praise for teens having accomplished their goals, all our teens in conversation with each other and in relationships with each other, the library, the children reading…it was all in part a product of your loyal generosity combined with the resilience and inspiration that is alive and well in these corners of the world.”

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