Sometimes, smarts just run in the family.
Juan, age 11, has been showing off his smarts for the past few years. He was recognized recently with an Education Excellence Award from Unbound in the Dominican Republic.
The Unbound staff in the Dominican Republic created the Education Excellence Award to recognize students who achieve grades with an average 80 percent or higher in every subject and get good reports on their behavior and overall participation.
Students who qualify are invited to a ceremony where they eat lunch, receive medals and watch artistic presentations. The student with the highest award wins a brand new laptop computer.
When they started the award in 2010, there were approximately 200 sponsored children eligible. Now, close to 1,000 are attending the ceremony.
Juan made it his goal to win the Education Excellence Award.
“I feel great,” he said. “I was determined to win the award of excellence, and I did it this year!”
He’s no stranger to awards. Last school year he was recognized as the best student in his grade level.
He’s not the only smart one in his family, though. He must have picked up a thing or two from his mother, Alicia.
She’s in pursuit of academic excellence after being receiving a scholarship from Unbound. She is studying educational psychology.
After graduating high school and starting her own family, Alicia maintained a deep desire to go back to school. She learned more about Unbound through part-time work at a parish and found out about the scholarship program.
“When I was told that I was going to receive the scholarship, I could not believe it,” she said. “I can’t find words to express how I felt.”
As part of her responsibilities as a scholarship holder, she works with a mothers group called “Mothers United through Action, Faith and Hope.”
“There are 29 members. This is probably the largest group in the area with the longest name,” Alicia quipped.
And through her scholarship she has the chance to give back.
“I like this because I have the chance to help children with their education, especially in the difficult times that children are currently growing up in,” she explained. “I can be of help especially when I work at the Unbound office. I get in touch with the sponsored children, [and] can be of great help to all of them.”
Leading by example, Alicia is showing Juan how important education is and the dedication it requires to do well.
At the end of the day, Alicia wants what most mothers want for their children.
“I want them to be good people, good citizens,” she said. “I want people to say that they are good human beings.”
With all of their academic achievements lately, it looks like this family is doing something right.
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