photo of veronica, a student that received a scholarship



Hello! My name is Verónica Chocooj. I was born on July 3, 1996 in the village Copal AA la Esperanza, Cobán Alta Verapaz. My father´s name is José Chocooj and my mother´s name is Juana Quip. I have 4 brothers and 6 sisters including myself.

During my first months of life, I had a complication from an illness. I was hospitalized for five days at the hospital in Ixcan, Playa Grande. My parents took care of me and, thank God, I recovered and since then everything has been fine.

When I turned five I was excited to go to school. I asked my parents to sign me up at the school. My parents didn’t like the idea of me going to school as I was very little and they thought I was not going to like school at all. For that reason, I wasn’t enrolled in school until I was six years old. In 2002, I started pre-kindergarten. I was very excited and happy to go to school, learn, meet my teacher and make new friends.

After I studied pre-kindergarten, I started kindergarten. I learned how to read and write. I was a happy girl going to school. It made me feel very good and I attended my classes every day. I always liked to participate in all the activities and I liked to do my homework. My dream as a child was to be a teacher. I loved playing with my friends and I always wanted to play the role of a teacher.

Currently, I am 25 years old and I am studying at Rafael Landívar University. I am in the 9th semester of a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Bilingual Education In the town of San Juan Chamelco, Alta Verapaz.

I want to tell you that my dream as a child came true because I am a teacher and I teach young people who are in middle school. I am so happy to do something for my community, especially teaching students who are 13 to 16 years old.

In the future, I would like to create a foundation where we can offer occupational areas. I want young men and women to attend my foundation for free so they can explore their minds. I would like to provide activities such as music, painting, theater, agriculture, entrepreneurship, among others.

My idea is to continue supporting our society, especially helping the women, young and old, in my community and surrounding villages. I have observed that there is a problem in my community that many young people don’t have the opportunities to continue with their studies and that makes them spend their time doing inappropriate things.

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.

Sponsor Veronica for just $25/month