Friday, January 29, 2010

new beginnings

Today is the first day of registration for the first semester of the 2010 academic year--which begins on Tuesday! Both familiar friends and new faces are back on campus. Students are standing in lines waiting to fill out registration forms, complete health checks, answer questionnaires, get photos taken for student ID cards, etc.

Don Mario and his daughter Gladys camped out last night so they could register for classes today.

This morning as I greeted students with the recurring question of, "How was your summer vacation?" I ran into Don Mario and his daughter Gladys. I first met them a few weeks ago when they came to visit the campus and found it relatively deserted--most everyone on summer vacation. So, I met with them in my office that day and answered questions they had about the College--classes, schedules, costs, food, dormitories, etc. Gladys--the first to go to graduate from the high school and, now, go to College--her father was obviously concerned about where he was sending his daughter.

Based on my first impressions, I think Gladys seems like a pretty typical first-year UAC-CP student. She's the oldest of several children. Her parents are citrus and coffee farmers. They live in a remote mountain village. (When I asked her where she's from, Gladys said Caranavi. But when I pressed for more information, she said their home is five hours from Caranavi. Which translates to an 8 hour journey to Carmen Pampa.)

For me, it's especially exciting to know our students' parents--to see them involved in their child's life and, more specifically, their education. I'm inspired that people with so little formal education themselves (it was evident to me at one point during our conversation that Don Mario is illiterate), go to such great lengths to make sure that their children become professionals. But I suppose that is the result of knowing what a life without education brings.

Two weeks ago, I asked Don Mario what he wants for his daughter, why he's brought her here to the UAC-CP, his response was the same response I hear from all UAC-CP parents: "I want her life to be better than mine. I want her to go farther." And I think that's the hope we all have for every single young person lined up outside the main office right now.

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