April 2, 2021

In Guatemala, Remote School Doubles Enrollment After Getting Computer Lab

Salacuim Adventist School recently doubled its enrollment thanks to a new computer lab on campus. The primary school is the first in the small village of Salacuim, located in a mountainous, coffee-growing region of central Guatemala, to have computers for its students.

The new lab has 20 desktop and laptop computers purchased with special funds collected by the North Guatemala Mission and the education department of the Adventist Church in Guatemala.

“There are a lot of needs here, and most students had never touched a computer,” Boris Max, school principal, said. “They didn’t even know how to turn it on, so there was great excitement among students, teachers, parents, and the community.”

Max said word spread quickly throughout the community, resulting in higher enrollment at the school.

“We went from 53 students last year to 108, and from five to six teachers, and we still need another one,” he said. According to Max, who also teaches fifth and sixth grades, enrollment has never surpassed 90 students in the 42 years since the school was established.

The new computers were presented during a special on-campus ceremony held on February 18, 2021, with church leaders in attendance. Leaders also brought in food baskets, books, and fabric to assist in making children’s school uniforms.

“The Guatemala Union was thrilled to donate ten computers, along with the ten the mission donated, to help the school grow and continue to make a difference in the lives of students, parents, and the community,” said Yanet Cima, education director for the Adventist Church in Guatemala. “Only 45 percent of its students come from Adventist families, so it is an excellent opportunity to make an impact with the message of Jesus’ love in the village,” Cima said.

Three small Seventh-day Adventist churches in Salacuim collected enough funds to support 10 students in need in the community, making it possible for them to attend the school. The church has also been providing food boxes and supplies to help those affected by the hurricanes that hit the region in 2020, Max said.

Max explained the pandemic has been a challenge for Salacuim Adventist School. Teachers have been visiting students in their homes to make sure they stay current with their lessons.

“It’s been a challenge, but a good challenge,” Max added. “There’s more opportunity now to reach more homes with the love of God.” Max, who has been a teacher for seven years, said that although in-person classes have resumed, classrooms can accommodate only eight students per day. It is an adjustment that teachers are navigating and managing as best as possible, he said.

Max said he dreams of seeing the school expanded with at least one more classroom so that each grade can have its own room and teacher. “We want to see more students and families accept the love of Jesus and go on to make a positive impact wherever they go,” he said.

The Seventh-day Adventist churches in Salacuim have nearly 400 members in three congregations.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

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