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Class of 2022: This is just the beginning.

Dreaming for a better future

Fredy, 2022 graduate.

Keep moving forward. This is Fredy’s message to his peers and those attending Graduation. He is the second in his family to graduate and among the few to graduate from high school in San Rafael el Arado, a small, primarily indigenous community. During his graduation speech, Fredy touched on his successes while reflecting on his struggles.

“We have worked so hard to be here today,” said Fredy. “At times, we have faced difficulties — like the challenges of online classes.”

Fredy shared how he dedicated himself to persevering, even when it meant teaching himself complex computer applications due to the inability to connect to his online classes. Like many students, Fredy faced the challenge of not spending time with his teachers and classmates, which proved difficult as he didn’t have the opportunity to share stories or receive support from his peers in person.

For Fredy, this was not a moment to dwell on difficulties that he and his peers may have had. Instead, he took this time to celebrate that he and his peers made their dreams come true.

“The day that we as students have been waiting for is finally here; we worked so hard for this day. This year, I feel thrilled because I worked hard to get good grades and was one of my community’s flag bearers.”

Flag bearing is an honor awarded to students by their communities for academic excellence.

The future is bright.

Fredy thanked all those who assisted him with his education goals.

“All these years that I have been in school, Common Hope has helped me reach my educational goals. The visits and letters from my sponsors, the social worker visits encouraging me, supporting me and guiding me to choose my school and my career track,” he said.

Fredy graduated with a degree in accounting with computer orientation. He plans to attend university and continue his education, studying business administration. “It is my dream to manage a company that helps my community. I can give back by ensuring the businesses in our community are well managed,” he said.

Even better, together.

Lorenzo, Fredy's father

Lorenzo, Fredy’s Father

Fredy was honored to share the graduation stage with one of his biggest supporters, his father, Lorenzo.

Lorenzo never had the opportunity to study as his family’s finances were limited. Instead of being a student, he had to dedicate his time to the fields, harvesting vegetables, corn, and beans.

“I only studied until I was 15 and finished 6th grade,” he shared. “Without the support of Common Hope, it would be difficult to send my children to school, and they may have experienced a similar situation as I did.”

Because of his experience working a labor-intensive job, he dreams of a future where his children can access better job opportunities than he did. He wants to see them grow professionally and develop into better people each day.

Lorenzo shared how proud he was of the class of 2022. Like his son, he encouraged them to keep moving forward and continue studying because another important chapter continues after Graduation.

Graduation is not the end. It is the beginning.

“La graduación no es el final, es el comienzo”

Graduation is a celebration for the students and the family members, staff, teachers, and sponsors who helped them along the way.

Leslie Murga, Academic Strengthening Manager

Leslie Murga, Academic Strengthening Manager

Leslie Murga has worked for Common Hope for 15 years. She has seen that everyone experiences the journey to Graduation differently at Common Hope. The experience leaves its mark on you regardless of if you are staff, an affiliated family, or a student. She enjoyed sharing a few words with the students, family members, and guests at the New Hope Clasura (closure) and Graduation. 

“I hope that now that you’ve finished your journey with us, life leads you to remember everything we learned together. It is time for other life stages, where you will have to confront many challenges and new experiences but know that the Common Hope will still be with you,” she shared.

Leslie encouraged parents to keep supporting their children after each educational milestone because a parent’s interest and encouragement in their child’s education heavily influence the child’s attitude toward school.

“Support them, celebrate small successes, and learn as a family from some stumbles,” she said.

“Practice everything you learned in school, but especially bring to life the values that we have written here and that the school has formed in you during these years. Be responsible, respectful, honest, and above all committed to yourselves, your families, and your personal goals,” she shared. “Wherever life leads, remember everything we learned together,” she continued.

Make your mark.

Female graduates earn three times more than non-graduates.

For students in Guatemala, education is the key to success and a more optimistic future where they can enjoy a higher standard of living than their non-graduate peers.

“You are the future of Guatemala, and you have the opportunity to build something better. I hope that doors will open new experiences and opportunities to serve our country and change our reality, starting with ourselves and our homes,” Leslie told the students.

“After today, you will face challenges and new experiences but know that the Foundation will still be with you,” she exclaimed. “Common Hope is a place that you will always be able to call home. A seed that was planted in you a long time ago will bear fruit. This is not the end. It is a new beginning,” she concluded. “Always sow hope, be that hope for others.”

Thank you to all parents, teachers, and supporters of Common Hope for making graduation day possible. From kindergarten to high school, we salute the Class of 2022 for making it to this milestone.

A promise worth keeping

Paige Fleury has been a dedicated supporter of Common Hope for 17 years. Speaking at the graduation ceremony in Antigua on November 5th, she shared that she attended Graduation for many reasons. Still, she is mainly there because of a promise made six years ago to her sponsored student and 2022 graduate, Leiser.

Paige, Leiser, & family.

Paige, Leiser, & family.

“When he was 13 years old, I promised him that if he graduated, I would celebrate with him. This is a promise that I am so happy I had the chance to fulfill,” she stated.

Paige has sponsored Leiser for 11 years and has become a crucial part of his support system. During that time, a close relationship was built. She motivated him to continue fighting daily in his studies through letter writing and visits. Because of Leisers’ hard work and compromises, he has reached his graduation milestone. Paige shares how happy sharing this moment with him and his family makes her, as it’s a milestone that only 1 in 5 Guatemalans accomplish.

“From here, you have so many opportunities to improve your future and that of your family and community. You may start a business. You may have a career. Some of you may even go to universities and become attorneys, work in healthcare, in the arts…there are endless possibilities.” she shared with the graduating class.

Graduates at the Antigua site.

A student’s diploma is a physical reminder that they possess the tools they need for this next step in their lives.

“Graduates, you have the chance to change the world in big and small ways, thanks to your education. You will inspire others to follow in your footsteps,” Paige reminded the students. “This is the beginning of the future and opportunities you now have the power to create.”

Thank you, Paige, for seeing through a six-year promise. Dedicated sponsors like you give our students hope and a world of opportunities. Thank you to all sponsors who believe in and support their students. Your support plays a fundamental role in making Graduation possible.

Congratulations to all! ¡Felicidades a todos!


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