“I think, therefore I am. (Cogito, ergo sum.)”
– Rene Descartes
Today I witnessed two of my students pass their High School Exit Exam. Joy doesn’t even begin to explain my feelings. I am filled with pride, joy, excitement, and many other emotions. I often forget the enormous barriers that students face daily here.
Many students move to Mahanoro to continue their studies. Mahanoro is a district town and is the only town with a government high school in a 90 km radius. Students come from all over to study. Many move away from families and friends. They rent small palm tree houses that they share with other students, sometimes amounting to 5 in one room. They cook, clean, take care of themselves all by themselves. In addition to the daily activities, these students take eight classes, a full schedule in high school. They wake up as early as 5 am and go to bed late after preparing dinner and washing dishes. All of these classes unfortunately do not have books, meaning that instead of following a textbook and writing down exercises. These students are writing a textbook in their notebook, which is being verbally lectured by a teacher. Miss a word or two; forget a sentence, well its not acceptable. These students have four classes a day, each being 2 hour long.
This morning Cecilia, my student two years ago, ran over to my house. « Miss ! Miss ! Miss Charlotte!!! » I opened the blue gate to find Cecilia literally jumping of joy. « I passed!! » she exclaimed with a squeal. I wrapped my arms around her.
Passing high school has been her dream. She is the first in her family to do so and hopes to continue on to university in the spring. I could not be more proud. Cecilia you have climbed mountains and I am positive you will succeed in University and anything else that comes your way.
To all the amazing determined students whom I have had a pleasure teaching over these couples years, thank you, thank you for being absolutely inspirational.