San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Schoolkids help local community

By Esther Serrano

We, the 9th-and 10th-graders at La Paz Community School, are creating different projects in our Service Learning class to help the community around us – our community.

All students started working on the projects in early October to complete the groundwork before March. As each week passes, we take the necessary steps to achieve our goals, such as contacting the necessary people and going to the necessary places. We had to present our project idea, write letters and convince community members, and gradually approached our goal.

One student is creating signs to protect the turtles and their eggs on the beach. Another is decorating the Flamingo roundabout with new flowers and vegetation to make it beautiful. One is building houses for bats to reduce mosquito activity in Altos de Flamingo, while another is making safety reflectors for people walking on the streets to reduce accidents.

Other projects include: building a basketball court for the public school in Playa Grande; teaching math after school to second-graders; and educating fourth-graders about media literacy.

One student is creating the La Paz student yearbook for the 2010-2011 year.

My Service Learning project consists of teaching my knowledge of reading and writing in Spanish to children ages 7 and 8 who live in or around the town of Potrero, every Wednesday afternoon.

From the beginning I had to contact directors of schools or centers, search for children who wanted to learn what I know about Spanish, and help them. It is a unique and special experience I never thought I could do at the age of 15. I think it will be an opportunity that can also serve in my future, professionally and personally, and help me choose my future career.

I am very grateful to my school. Thank you, La Paz Community School, for teaching us each day and educating us.

Esther Serrano, 15, is a ninth-grade student at La Paz Community School in Flamingo, on the northern Pacific coast. She recently moved to Potrero with her parents from Valencia, Spain. This is her first school year receiving formal English classes. Esther enjoys horseback riding, reading and hanging out with her friends when not studying.

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