June 27, 2013
Today is the last day of classes at La Gloria English School. Thanks so much to all of you who have participated in any way, from volunteering in classes to donating supplies or funds to dedicating a year to teach at this very important little school. It was a great run, and the ripple effects of this project will be felt for a long time. Isla Mujeres is a very special island and we hope to enjoy it for years to come.
Blessings to all.
Maggie & Tom Washa
Here is one more student success story. I will let Sugely say it in her own words (minor edits for unrelated content).
I don't know if it's fate or just luck, I just know that thanks to this project I've learned many things.
A while ago, approximately 8 years, I heard about the "English school" because my cousin was taking English classes at La Gloria English School. At that time I was studying in junior high school and shortly after I also attended with my cousin.
One of the great 'helps' that La Gloria English School has given me from the beginning was that I went with my younger sister to classes on a scholarship that the school had given us. Classes were always pleasant and fun as well as the teachers and staff working on it. During my first courses I learned many things and that helped me in my English classes at junior high. I was one of the best students and always got excellent grades.
Later I started high school and during this school year the English courses were helping me a lot, I continued learning more and more and in high school I was also one of the best students of the English class, I even had the opportunity to participate in a competition of knowledge in the subject of English which was held in Xcaret that involved all schools in State (of Quintana Roo), I didn't win the first place but it offered me an experience and the teaching to try harder.
As mentioned, I was the student who knew a little more English so my English teacher asked me to teach extra classes to my classmates because most of them found difficult learning this language, so I started to give English classes to my classmates after school. All those things made me feel good.
Finally I don't want to miss the opportunity to mention how good it feels to know a little English, I don't have perfect English but I am very happy to know and be able to communicate occasionally with friends and other people who I meet.
At last, thanks to the support of Maggie Washa and all people who are part of this great place of work and the support of donors (not only mine). I have just a few months of end my degree . I am happy and grateful for everything I've learned and for the friendship I've found from them.
Isla Mujeres Q. Roo
When asking around for additional photos of Sugely I was told "It is hard to find one where she's by herself. She is always with her family!!"
From a newsblast 2 years ago... March 21, 2011
Jessica Michelle Amaya Santos, a student at La Gloria English School was featured on a local television program in Cancun last week. She was interviewed on a show called "OriKids" to promote a book she recently wrote. Have we mentioned that she is only 12 years old? Jessica Michelle explained that she often sees children on Isla Mujeres who get into trouble, never have goals in life and struggle to find their way. These situations motivated her to write a series of coming-of-age short stories. She hopes to publish this book soon and write many more - including one in English. We are so proud of Jessica Michelle and all of her accomplishments. She has such fantastically large dreams, and works hard day-by-day to make them become a reality. La Gloria English School is proud to be helping her accomplish them. Jessica Michelle is going places!
That was 2 years ago. Jessica is now 14 years old and in high school. She still has big plans and dreams for her life. In the short term, she is planning to travel to France during the summer in place of the traditional large 15 year old birthday party most teen girls look forward to. She is working in the local big-box as a grocery bagger to earn extra money for her travels and her education. She also said it is the perfect venue to practice her English, and told me that the manager of the store does not speak English, so has asked her on more than one occasion to help him with translations. I asked her what her interests are for the future. At 14, she is already focusing on the big picture. She would like to study philosophy and psychology. She would like to continue with her writing and loves to read. Her favorite book right now is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Learning English has changed her life. She is so glad she had the opportunity to take classes, and is now in the final adult evening intermediate English class at La Gloria English School. She is dreaming and planning big, and the English school is helping her towards her goals. What a pleasure it has been to get to know her! I look forward to staying connected with her in the years to come.
I promised a few stories about individual students who have attended La Gloria English School over the years. Here is the first one -
Cinthia is now in her 2nd year in college, getting a degree in International business. I met her when she was 8 years old, and have watched her grow into an exceptional young adult. She took about 6 courses at La Gloria English School, her first when she was 12 years old, and continued off and on for 5 years. She is an excellent student and also took English in high school, so is now fluent reading, writing and speaking English. During school vacations she has had the opportunity to babysit for American visitors and has earned needed cash. She also translates for family and friends who are not bi-lingual, helping bridge the language and culture gap. She now has dreams that extend far beyond the shores of Isla Mujeres and we are very proud of her. This would not have been possible without speaking English. With her degree in International business she will be getting a great job, and has a bright future.
Attached is a recent recent picture of her, attending her aunt Marbella’s college graduation, with her brother Marco and mother Guadalupe.
The Legacy of La Gloria English School
It has been more than 9 years since we opened the doors to the school, and a lot has happened over this time. We started with volunteers teaching for 6-weeks and matured to contracted professionals teaching 12-week classes. We started with 45-minute twice-a-week classes and now teach one hour classes four days each week. It has been a good run. In the past nine years we taught 284 courses in English, totaling more than 8,300 class hours. Over 2,850 students took advantage of this opportunity and attended these classes. In the early years this work was interrupted by Hurricane Wilma and immigration issues, but we survived both. We now encounter former adult students on a regular basis in town, and they tell us that learning English has made a significant difference in their lives. It provided a boost in their earning power as well as quality of life. They now have the ability to communicate well and connect with many more people, expanding their horizons, friendships and opportunities.
Many of the children who took classes are now in high school and college, dreaming dreams for their future that they never would have considered before. As all former high school Spanish students know, classroom taught foreign languages can have little or no effect on actual ability to speak it, but our students have had a step up and and are getting high grades in English in their middle and high school classes. They have experienced the joy of learning a new language and are far ahead of their peers in speaking English.
The school has offered more than English classes with hope and opportunity for a better future. It has also given our visiting volunteers a special connection and insight into the local community. Many have reported that it was the best part of their Isla vacation. Over the years I have witnessed lasting bonds form between students and visitors to Isla. The school has been that synapse, that connection which facilitated these great friendships.
I have also gotten to know some pretty amazing educators who have come to teach at the school. I will never forget the incredible teachers who chose to dedicate a year of their lives to this effort. Most were young professionals getting started in a teaching career who applied intelligence, initiative and energy to this mission. La Gloria English School has made a difference in many lives, with the ripples extending in every direction and continuing into the future.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support of donors like you. (It has taken more than $75,000 dollars annually to accomplish this, all generously donated by you.) I put it together, but you made it happen. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for being a part of this project to help realize dreams and change lives here on beautiful Isla Mujeres.
News of Coming Changes -
Dear supporters of La Gloria English School,
Happy New Year to all of you and thank you so much for your continued support of La Gloria English School. We have ended 2012 in the black, thanks to your dedication and generosity towards this school. (See more about the finances here.)
Every year brings changes to Isla Mujeres and to La Gloria English School. This year there is a very big change for me and the School. I have decided that June 30th, 2013 will be my last day as director of La Gloria English School, so the school will be closing as of that date. The decisions to retire has been a difficult one for me. However, for family health and other reasons I have decided it is time to retire and renew the quality of my life.
In truth, the enrollment has been going down slowly over the last two years. Nevertheless the current students are dedicated to learning English and will be upset to hear this news. If we stayed open, possibly the enrollment would recover in a few more years, when the international economy also recovers and brings more sales to businesses on Isla.
Regarding our assets, we have sufficient funds to complete our last six months of the school year. There will be legal costs to dissolve both the U.S. non-profit Friends of La Gloria English School and the Mexican civil association (non-profit) La Gloria English School AC. If there are any surplus funds, we hope to offer full scholarships to our students for our last course, April through June. If there is a surplus after that, we will donate to PEACE-Isla Mujeres. http://www.peace-islamujeres.org/default.asp They have been strong supporters of our school and continue to do great things to help local people on Isla Mujeres. The U.S. non-profit associated with them is PEACE MEXICO. http://peacemexico.org
I can't thank you enough for your generous support, in volunteering at the school and donating to help continue the operations through our nine years of existence. I appreciate deeply your commitment to the school and to the people of Isla Mujeres. (For those of you who are also participants in the separate 'scholarship program' for getting/keeping local kids in high school and college through financial assistance, we will continue that project.)