In 2016, Carlos Hernandez was admitted to the Bridges to Community Scholarship Program and began his first year of high school. He lives with his single mother and and siblings in Mojon, Jinotega and is the oldest of 7 children. Due to his large family size and single parent family, Carlos would not be in school right now if it weren’t for the scholarship and guidance he is receiving.
In rural Nicaragua, high school classes are held on the weekend because most young men and women have a financial responsibility to their families and must work to provide the essentials. Carlos is no different; he works all week as a day laborer on local farms – fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting crops – getting paid by the day. and attends classes on Saturdays in the nearby community of Sisle.
Carlos was chosen as a scholarship recipient because he showed a lot of energy and excitement about the opportunity to further his education. After he finished his first semester, it was clear that he was struggling; he finished the semester with a 68% and was prohibited from moving on to the next grade level. The Bridges program committee immediately jumped in, trying to decipher why his grades were so low, what his personal plan plan for improvement is for the next semester, and how Bridges could help.
We rely on the students being self-aware and actively problem solving these issues. In this case, Carlos recognized that he was working too much during the week, leaving him very tired with little time to study. He also missed several classes; missing 1 class is the equivalent to missing a week of classes for North Americans.
Bridges offered to help Carlos if he agreed to attend all classes and manage his time better to allow time to study. Bridges found and paid for a tutor for his weakest subject area, math. We also visited Carlos’ home to make sure his mother realized the importance of his schooling and the need to make classes top priority.
Carlos diligently studied throughout his summer vacation, caught up on his course work, and took a test before the next school year to see if he could move on to the next grade level. He passed!
Now, one year later, Carlos is in his second year of high school. He has a GPA of 83%, receives positive feedback from his teachers, and is regarded as a hard-worker.
Carlos is also completing his community service requirement by volunteering with Bridges, conducting community assessments and participating in cultural exchanges with our volunteer groups.