I was born on October 19, 1999, in the regional hospital of Cobán, Alta Verapaz, with my residence being in the village of Chirrequiché, San Pedro Carchá of the same department. My parents were Alfonso and Fidelina, and I had a younger sister, Angela, and a younger brother, Jonathan. In my first years of life, I grew up with my parents in a house a bit far from the epicenter of the Chirrequiché community, a place in which three communities are adjacent to each other: Chelac, Chirrequiché (of which we are part) and Chijotóm. I was studying in a community near where our humble home was located because my parents decided to enroll me in the Chirrequiché Village Official Rural Coed School, but after a few months they changed my establishment, and transferred me to the Chelac Village, which was much closer. I studied all my elementary school years in that school. After completing elementary school, my family decided to move to the center of the Chirrequiché village, and settle in a closer place, so that my family and I could feel comfortable. Later, I studied at the secondary level in a boarding school for men; Don Bosco Center.

I am currently studying the ninth semester of the licenciatura [bachelor’s degree] in Educational Administration, at the Mesoamerican University at San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz. After completing my career at the diversificado [high school] level in Science and Letters with Orientation in Music, I decided to choose to study for a profesorado [two-year teaching degree] in Intercultural Bilingual Primary Education, as it is a career where I can teach through innovative strategies. After completing the six semesters of the degre, I have continued my academic training at the same university in which, as previously mentioned, I am still studying.

My great wishes and aspirations are; to finish my degree, graduate and get a decent job, to be able to help my family in daily sustenance, and also to be able to support my brothers so that they continue studying and graduate with a university degree. Also I want to be able to contribute to the community: educating, teaching other people, transmitting something positive in their lives, not only in my community, but also in one or more other communities where I can practice my profession. Also I would like to be able to organize activities in the community, such as music and sports, for children and young people to be able to demonstrate their skills and abilities.    

Education System Glossary

Since the Guatemalan government only funds education to the end of elementary school, it is not all that common, especially in the rural areas, for someone to graduate from middle school. Thus, these students are awarded an actual degree, called the Basico, which carries some weight when looking for a job, etc.

High school comes in a variety of flavors in Guatemala. All of course are private, and there are seemingly as many curriculums as there are schools. Some high schools focus on particular careers, such as teaching, accounting, surveying, etc. Usually, it takes 3-4 years to complete, and they are awarded with a certificate of competency at the end. In teaching, the certificate entitles one to teach at the elementary school level only. More academically-oriented high schools have a curriculum similar to US schools, which includes language arts, math, science, history, etc. These typically require 4-5 years to complete, and graduates are awarded the Diversificado degree, which is required if the student wishes to continue their education at the University level. This is the degree that most GSSG-supported high school students are pursuing.

The University system in Guatemala is like the high school system, in that there are many degrees, and many ways to get a degree. There is only one public university, the University of San Carlos, and about a dozen private universities. Like high school, students can decide early to specialize in a particular field, and after 2-3 years, graduate with a “tecnico” degree. In education, this degree awards them the title of “Profesor”, and qualifies them to teach all the way through high school. For those wishing to go further in Education or other fields, there is the “Licenciatura” degree, which is awarded after four years of study in one’s major plus an additional year researching and writing a thesis that addresses some national problem in Guatemala. So far, three GSSG students have been awarded their Licenciatura degree, with several more hoping to have theirs by next year.

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