Cooperative for Education also has a scholarship program where they will connect committed students to a sponsor who pay for their school tuition and fees. In return, the students agree to ten hours of community service a month as a way of giving back to the community. The students keep parts of the town clean and establish in town produce gardens among other things. Additionally, the scholarship students spend a couple of hours hosting the tour participants during the tours. If you sponsor a student, then the staff of CoEd will arrange for you to spend time with that student if possible. Our family has sponsored a diversificado (high school) student named Sandra for a few years now. Mary and I had the pleasure of spending time with Sandra and another scholarship student named Maria.
After we returned from lunch and were getting ready to leave, Sandra asked one of the Spanish speaking participants to translate. She had prepared a little speech for us and she wanted to make sure that it was translated properly. At first Mary and I felt like she was kind of uncomfortable thanking us, and tried to stop her and tell her that everything was ok. Then, at the same time, we both realized that she needed to say her piece...this is some of what she said. "I am grateful to you for giving me an opportunity to have a good future. Without an education my life would be very difficult, but with an education I will be able to provide for my family and contribute to my community in a positive way. I will study hard so that you are not disappointed and think that you were wrong to believe in me. I thank God that you are able to help me. Thank you for giving me a chance to stay in school and learn. I am thankful that you have faith in me."
I believe that Sandra is about the most gracious, determined and just plain brave teenager I have ever met.