For the past several months, our team in Guatemala has been working tirelessly to prepare for the opening of the Starfish Impact School in January 2017. A critical part of this process is recruiting students for the school. Between February and April, recruiting mentors Beverly and Mayra conducted visits to the eight previously selected rural communities near Sololá to collect a cohort of 50 Girl Pioneers for the first class of seventh graders. Beverly and Mayra spread the word about the Impact School by visiting school directors and local families and meeting with community groups and leaders.
Once people in the communities learned of the Starfish Impact School and the opportunities it could provide their young girls, applications from potential Girl Pioneers came flooding in; the selection team received about 125 applications in total! It has proven to be quite a difficult task to narrow down those applicants.The rigorous selection process included interviews with interested candidates and their families in their homes. Although difficult, this intense process is necessary to ensure the success of the school, as well as the success of each and every student.
After five months and hard work on the part of our selection team, we are pleased to announce that Starfish has officially selected its first class of Girl Pioneers at the Starfish Impact School! These new students will be integrated into the Starfish family and culture through an orientation program Starfish created called Escuela Estrellita (“Little Star School)”. Starting July 17th and running through November, Escuela Estrellita will be a space where the new Girl Pioneers are introduced to Starfish and our culture of wellness and empowerment through weekly sessions with mentors in Sololá. These meetings will not only acclimate the young girls to Starfish, but will also give the Estrellitas the opportunity to bond with their mentors and classmates over the course of three months.
At the conclusion of Escuela Estrellita in November, we are confident that the new Girl Pioneers will be ready for the challenging but rewarding Starfish Impact School. Starfish In-Country Director Norma shares, “Meeting these new girls, I could see the spark and the drive in each of them. They have the excitement and passion to finish high school, finish college, and change their communities. It is so exciting to me.” We agree! We are thrilled to welcome the Estrellitas to our family, and we cannot wait to give them the tools to unlock their true potential and achieve their infinite impact!