Volunteering “Across the Pond” in Honduras

By Mariela Rodriguez – Communications Coordinator

Jake, Oli, Minsis (StS Asst. Director) and Jasmine

Jake, Oli, Minsis (StS Asst. Director) and Jasmine

Another school year in Honduras is well underway, and we are excited for a new partnership with Project Trust!  As an organization, they connect gap-year students  (high school graduates, taking a year off before university) from the United Kingdom with partners abroad. Project Trust’s Honduras representative, Jake Compaan, who also serves as director for the ‘Vida Abundante’ bilingual school in Yamaranguila, connected us with two young women from “across the pond” who have now travelled all the way to our bilingual school in Camasca.Oli and Jasmine, will be spending half a year with us and they have already hit the ground running, by hosting an English enrichment program with our bilingual junior/senior high school students during their first month. And now that school is in session, they are happy accompanying our elementary school bilingual school students in their daily routines.

Their help will be invaluable as ANY volunteer at our school always provides an opportunity for our children to practice their pronunciation and vocabulary. We are excited to see what other projects they get involved in while they are down in Camasca and wish them a wonderful learning expereince that they can share with peers in the future.

Welcome Oli and Jasmine, we are happy and excited to have you in Camasca!


Reading: A Window Into the World

By Nely Vasquez (with Jessy Molina) – Reading Coordinator

Scholarship Students Participate in Reading Club

Scholarship Students Participate in Reading Club

Nely:  It started with a small reading contest back in 2019 with 4th-6th graders. They all would look for books at the bilingual school library and because that was the first contest, they were reading like CRAZY.  The second year, during the COVID 19 pandemic, we had 75 students from grades 7th-11th. One bilingual group, in the Camasca colegio, and the second group under StS’s scholarship program, spanning 5 municipalities. Our virtual meetings had a lot of connectivity issues and we experienced difficulties with motivating students to attend the meetings. This year, we involved 80 students in 6th-8th grade from two different schools and towns. For our bilingual track we had in-person sessions every two weeks and it was a sort of book club. The second group was led by teachers at one of our Kolibri schools, we had summary videos sent in and also reading reports that were analyzed and evaluated.Since the first year, they have all been a success – not as we were expecting but can still be called so because reading isn’t a hobby in our culture. To encourage students’ reading we have been changing the activities every year and rewarding their efforts with prizes. It’s worth mentioning we are not reading experts but equally have a love for reading and that is what continues to keep us afloat. I can proudly say that the process is slow but is being directed at a good future. Youth are reading and with what we have accomplished, I can see it successful with a bit more effort on our and the teachers’ end along with students enthusiasm.


Jessy:  Though reading appears to be a simple activity, it contributes to the expansion of our minds by providing us with a wealth of information and lessons, while also keeping students engaged. The reading program started in June 2021 and our goal was to read three books by October 2021 — which we accomplished! During the program, we did fun activities to motivate students, we learned a lot of things that will have an impact on our way of thinking, and the students enjoyed and spent time with their classmates even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entertaining tasks were planned for the program to engage students and motivate them to read more. In each meeting, students had already read a certain number of chapters from the book, so we could discuss them and talk about our perceptions of the characters and the events that were happening in the story. Bingo, treasure hunt, “wanted” posters, giving a different ending to the story, writing a story with the same characters, asking questions, musical chairs – were some of the activities that Nely and I employed to make students enjoy each meeting and talk about the story because we knew that some students think reading is something boring. However, playing games and doing activities out of the ordinary were the key for them to realize reading can be as much fun as playing a soccer match or playing video games.

While reading, we learned things that will influence our way of thinking. For example, we should not judge people by their size and appearancethere is a time for everythin;we have to believe we can do it if we want to succeed; and never give upno matter how many times you fail. Also students developed their critical thinking skills by applying what they knew from the characters in the story and creating a new story with their physical and psychological characteristics. They loved this activity because they were able to use their imagination and apply the knowledge and vocabulary they had already learned. Inferring was also a technique we used with the students to try and guess what was going to happen next in the story based on what we had already read.

Nely and I are satisfied and proud about finishing the program with success. We are looking forward to next year, to continue encouraging the students to read and we are sure it will be even better.

All our participants received diplomas. Congratulations to our top readers!

1st place: Kelly (6th grade)

2nd place: Karol (8th grade)

3rd place TIE: Angel y Joel (7th grade)

7th Grade Reading Contest Winner

7th Grade Reading Contest Winner

Elvin’s Passion for Reading

By Nely Vasquez – StS Educational Advancement Assistant

Second grader, Elvin

Second grader, Elvin

Little by little we are seeing the results of the seeds we are planting in our reading program.Meet Elvin —  a student at our bilingual school.

Two years ago, I was the teacher’s assistant in the preschool classroom.  There I met Elvin — who had such a desire to learn. In every conversation we had I was impressed because of the vocabulary words he was using. And if the conversation contained a word that was new to him, he would always ask for its meaning. I saw his enthusiasm for books, but he always said, ‘’I am a Mathematics guy, teacher’’. He had developed many skills in all subjects he was taking at that time, but for sure he had more inclination towards Math.

In February 2021, at the beginning of the 2021 school year, I saw Elvin (now a brand new 2nd grader) standing in front of the garden, looking at the flowers. I greeted him and with enthusiasm he answered back:  ‘’I now know how to read Miss.”  With that, we went up to the school library together. With excitement, I observed him as he looked for a book and then he read it to me.  He looked for a second one and once again, he read it to me. I was amazed! For a second grader it was a lot, I thought; especially because they did not spend enough time at school last year due to the pandemic. And that is when I understood the role that a responsible parent can play in the education of their children.

His mother helps him on his reading projects at home, and every time he reads she is with him. They have worked on how words with accent marks are pronounced in the Spanish language, and he also does intonation for sentences that require it. Although his mother does not speak English she always listens to him when he reads.  When he was done with reading, that day in the library, he asked if he could take a book home. I said, “Sure,” and so he did. In about a week he brought it back, and since then he has been taking books home.

Seeing kids coming to school is always going to be an exciting thing for me; but seeing kids coming to the library and asking for books is powerful; so, this is a moment I will forever keep in my heart!

Elvin reading in StS school library

Elvin reading in StS school library