Border Partners was honored this month at the Escuela Primaria Ignacio Zaragoza’s graduation ceremony in Palomas in recognition of the support we provide the school as it educates some of the poorest people of the borderlands. Our board member Bill Charland attended and received the plaque for us. He was so struck by the experience, that he wanted to share it with you:
Palomas elementary school graduation dazzled: with color, movement…and meaning
by Bill Charland, Border Partners Board Member
Having lived in Guadalajara before moving to Silver City, New Mexico ten years ago, my wife, Phoebe, and I have developed a deep appreciation of Mexican culture. But we’d never attended anything quite like the July 4 graduation ceremonies at la Escuela Primaria Ignacio Zaragoza in Palomas, Chihuahua. When we received a kind invitation from the Principal, Eduardo Esparza Rivota, we left 4th of July fireworks and festivities behind to cross the border into a community where the big event of the day was an elementary school graduation.
The remarkable nature of the graduation ceremony that we attended on July 4 in Palomas is evident in the photos that my wife Phoebe shares with you in the slideshow accompanying this post. The presentation of certificates for graduation from the 6th grade honored not only children but also many mid-life adults. In addition to the diploma ceremony for the graduates, there were a variety of dance presentations. We were particularly impressed with the vaquero/flamenco troupe from the middle school whose performance rivaled professional quality (see their extraordinary costumes in the slide show’s final photo).
Given the struggles to achieve academically throughout Mexico and especially in poor communities such as Palomas, for many participants this event may mark their highest accomplishment in school. But it was an exciting evening filled with beauty and a sense of celebration.
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Border Partners has assisted this school throughout the past year with food supplements for their school lunch program. We are also in the process of donating twelve reconditioned computers. Another six are going to the Ford School, also in Palomas.
[Photo credits: Phoebe Lawrence]