Greetings, Starfish supporters! This summer we are especially excited to share the reflections of our current cohort of Starfish interns, who are supporting us in our social media and fundraising projects. Today’s post comes from Laura, who has volunteered with our Social Media Team since December 2014.
In the 8th grade, I visited Ecuador, having taken two years of Spanish classes, and I was so timid that I never spoke a word of Spanish. Many of my friends ordered food in Spanish from the restaurants we visited or at least thanked our tour guide with a poorly accented but enthusiastic “muchas gracias.” I flat-out refused. For me, language was a thing you studied in class to get a good grade, not a rich, varied aspect of a vibrant culture. I can’t say I’ve grown a lot wiser since my trip, but I can say with certainty what I’ve learned-what you study in school doesn’t end with a grade.
As a general rule, I don’t believe in turning points or epiphanies when it comes to life lessons. There wasn’t an education deity that suddenly whispered in my ear and opened my eyes to the truth. However, my journey was most definitely aided by my recent internship at the Starfish Foundation.
Within the first few weeks of working with the foundation as a Social Media Intern, I began to notice instances of Starfish Scholars and their keen appreciation for learning. For my posts, I read quotes and thoughts from students, some the same age as myself, and took note of their clear and ambitious dreams. Maybe in Guayaquil, where a good education is not guaranteed for every child, students are more aware of how significant an education really is. Starfish Scholars do well in school, to be sure, but their motivation is more than a desire for good grades. They want to learn new things for the sake of learning; they want to do new things with the education they receive.
The people who apply their education to real life are the ones who make a change in the world. We’re lucky to be living in an era of social change, where the injustices of the modern world are being brought to light and resolved. Just as important, however, are the changes that occur on a personal and community level. These are the changes of the Starfish Foundation and its participants. It has truly been an honor to learn and write about these exceptional students on a weekly basis.
I hope to visit the Starfish Foundation in a year, after I finish high school. Ecuador is too bright and resilient a country to pass over, and I can’t wait to witness it to the fullest extent. And you can bet that when I visit, I’ll be ready to speak in Spanish. ¡Ya estoy preparada! –Laura