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by Mark Ely

At Pura Vida one of our longstanding goals is for local Guatemalans to run our programs as much as possible.  Sebastiana is a great example of that coming to fruition.

One of our earliest scholarship students, Sebastiana is now the scholarship program leader for Lemoa.  She is also our program tutor, traveling to our 8 villages to help students who are falling behind in the studies.  In her spare time, she is studying at a local university on a Pura Vida scholarship.

Sebastiana was selected for a Pura Vida scholarship from the graduating class of 6th graders in Lemoa public school in 2003.  Since then she has thrived academically, finishing High School with excellent grades and a concentration in teaching.  She recently completed her associates degree in Mathematics and Physics, and currently teaches math at the John Wesley School.  She is working towards a bachelors degree, which she hopes to complete in 2015.

Tutoring in Pocohil

Tutoring in Pocohil

She has taken on ground-breaking responsibilities in our scholarship program.  She is the first female among our 8 scholarship program leaders, and also the youngest.  She is in charge of distributing funds and letters to the 52 active scholarship students in Lemoa.  She also recently coordinated our annual milk distribution in Lemoa, which resulted in a more much more organized and fair distribution.

Leading the milk distribution in Lemoa

Leading the milk distribution in Lemoa

There are now 24 university students on Pura Vida scholarships — an all-time high.  We hope to leverage the skills of these students in the running of our existing programs and the development of new ones.  Sebastiana may be the first of many.