This past month, I had the opportunity to attend two high school graduations.  What made these events even more special is that Betsabeth and Maria are our first ever Starfish graduates!  
Getting ready to enter the auditorium.

At Starfish, our mission is to be a premier means for at-risk Ecuadorian youth to achieve a post-secondary education.  

We are so proud of Betsabeth and Maria for completing the first big step towards achieving that.  With their high school graduation many doors will open to them.

Betsabeth with her proud parents on graduation day!  Check out that degree 🙂

While graduation is always a special day, I can say without a doubt that Maria and Betsabeth deserve an extra special round of applause for their efforts.  In Ecuador, only 60% of youth enter high school, and that number declines steadily throughout the 6 years that is secondary education.  Youth are forced to find a job and drop out of school, or they get married and have children at a young age.  These are just two examples of the reality of daily life in a developing countries, especially in the marginalized communities of Guasmo and Flor de Bastión.

Apart from overcoming those circumstances, Maria and Betsabeth have been a great example for the other Starfish Scholars.  Both were very responsible with their studies all year, always coming to study and to ask questions when need be.  They will continue to be great role models for our Scholars as they become our first Starfish grads to stay on as “Ayudantes” or employees in our Tutoring program!
Here Betsabeth and Maria receive a gift from Starfish for all of their hard work!

Aside from that, both young women plan to attend university.  Maria hopes to follow in her older sister’s steps and attend the State University of Guayaquil.  There she hopes to study pediatrics.  Betsabeth hopes to be the first in her family to attend University.  She is looking to study nursing.  Both girls had to take the entrance exam this past Saturday for public universities.  This exam, while similar in content to the SAT, also determines which major you are allowed to choose in college. Mucha suerte to our Starfish grads as they await the results!

Maria with her mom and older sister, Jennifer.

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