Graduation season is upon us in Guatemala, culminating with the Common Hope graduation ceremony on Saturday, November 10. This year, we celebrated 146 high school graduates from Antigua and New Hope, 11 junior high grads from San Miguel Milpas Altas, 21 sixth grade grads from San Rafael, and 8 graduates from university. One notable subset of grads are four pairs of siblings who collected their high school diplomas together. Meet the sibling duos below.
Siblings Rebeca and David Sajbin Gonzalez are the first in their family of seven to graduate from high school. Rebeca, age 19, earned a degree as an accountant, while David, age 18, graduates as a mechanic. The two are finishing at the same time because Rebeca repeated a grade in elementary school, so David was able to catch up.
Complications along the way
Both acknowledge rough patches as they worked their way through school. One of the hardest was during high school, when their younger brother Jesus experienced complications while having his appendix removed. The seriousness of their brother’s condition was very hard on both of them, and their grades went down during that time.
The challenges have surely made their accomplishment even more sweet. “We feel so satisfied to have reached this point in our academic careers and know that we will have good job opportunities ahead of us,” says Rebeca. The two are grateful for the help of their parents and Common Hope that enabled them to continue studying and achieve their goal.
Guideposts for the trek
One such support from Common Hope was the youth program. At the start of junior high, Rebeca and David became active in the program, where they participated in interesting talks about adolescence and later became leaders in the group. Now as they approach graduation, Rebeca and David continue to be mindful of their role as leaders.
“We want to serve as good examples for other youth and for our brothers and sisters so that they also able to graduate like we have done. Our advice to other young kids is that they continue to fight to reach their goal and never give up no matter what obstacle is in their path. They can become agents of change in our country.”
Meet the other sibling duos below. Click here for a slideshow of the graduation ceremony.
Esvin and Eva Morales Ozuna say that it feels great to achieve something they’ve worked so hard for. Esvin just earned his degree in Computing, Eva in Medicine. They say they persisted with their education so they could be better off in their lives. Their family is very happy for them, too; they say their parents are so proud of their kids. As for advice to young kids, they say “Keep fighting for what you want. There will always be challenges, but you have to keep moving forward!”
Siblings Oliver and Jennifer Gudiel Ramos are the first in their family to graduate from high school. They say it feels like a dream come true. “We have made another step forward, reaching a goal we set for ourselves.” They were motivated to stay in school because their parents only finished elementary school, and they wanted to break that cycle. Jennifer earned her degree in Elementary Education, Oliver in Accounting. When asked what they would tell younger students, Jennifer says, “Take advantage of the opportunity to study because everything we learn, we can use in our lives.” Says Oliver, “Keep studying. Education is the best tool to face life.”
Elmer and Marvin Guerra Rodas are also the first in their family to graduate from high school. When asked what motivated them to stay in school, Elmer says, “I saw the economic situation in my home and knew I couldn’t go to school without the financial support of Common Hope, so I made the most of it.” Elmer earned his degree in Construction, while Marvin studied Accounting. In high school, the two brothers were active in the Common Hope soccer program; they helped Common Hope coaches with the younger teams. When reflecting on their accomplishment, Elmer would give the following advice to younger students: “Take advantage of your studies, because you can’t reach the goals you have without them.”