Due in part to FOB’s efforts to expand high school attendance in the town of Barron, the Mexican government has extended a program providing start-up aid to rural communities like Barron. Education past the eighth grade is not mandated by the government, so rural communities often lack the facilities to educate the graduating 13 year-olds, assuming they will turn immediately to field work, motherhood or other manual labor. In Barron, this is not so; not anymore.
Last year, the State authorities in Culiacan provided a principle, a few teachers and a space in which to educate them at the ninth grade level. With matching funds provided by the parents of Barron and FOB, the Sinaloa Department of Education then built a single room structure and called it a school. And now, due to efforts on the part of the school principal, Ana Cecelia, fundraising has begun to transform the dilapidated residence next door into a school annex. Thanks in part to the cash donation from the nearby Estrella del Mar resort, a result of their annual charity golf tournament, work began to convert a three room abandoned home into a place of learning.
Much progress has been made. Two more classrooms have been added in addition to an office for Ana Cecelia and a fully equipped computer laboratory. The classrooms still need to be finished, the roof must be tiled before the summer rains begin, an air conditioning system is almost a necessity during the fall semester and the security system must be updated. In all, about $15,000 USD needs to be raised to complete these tasks and provide the students of Barron a safe and reliable educational experience.
Because the 2017 eighth grade graduating class now has the option of attending a quality school without traveling into Mazatlan daily, the FOB high school scholarship program has been eliminated. Our current crop of scholarship students will continue to attend their current schools, although seven high schoolers and two university students will graduate this year, having maintained at least “B” average throughout their academic careers. Most maintain averages closer to “A+”. This leaves 24 high school and ten university students in the program for next year. Applications for additional university scholarships, five in all, will go out at the end of May. The completion of the Barron high school will allow Friends of Barron to concentrate on sending deserving young adults on to a university or vocational curriculum that will benefit themselves, their families and their community.
Obviously, funding for these programs is of prime necessity. Please visit our CrowdRise page and donate money to achieve this goal.