When she was just four years old, Debora Portobanco Lopez, began to show an interest and aptitude for the English language. So when a friend of the family told her parents, Grethel and Israel, about San Juan del Sur Day’s afternoon ESL (English as a Second Language) program, they were thrilled by the opportunity.
An only child, Debora lives with her mother, a housekeeper, and her father, a caretaker, in the hills just north of San Juan. Though both parents understand and speak some English, they immediately recognized that the school would be a great opportunity for Debora to immerse herself in the language and so in 2012, they enrolled Debora. And she hasn’t looked back since. Once the school became accredited via MINED (Nicaraguan Ministry of Education), Debora switched from half days to attending 5 full days. Four years later, at the age of 8, Debora is fully bilingual, with a strong fluency in English. Mom and Dad say that they are so proud of Debora, knowing that speaking more than one language may open a lot of doors for their daughter.
In addition to Debora’s linguistic abilities, her favorite subject is art and she hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up. “She is also an all around great kid! I’ve never seen a smile quite like Debora’s,” says School Director, Julie Speier. “She has a special sparkle that lights up a room.” “She’s enthusiastic about learning, but also kind and caring to her fellow classmates,” says Alethea Smith, Debora’s favorite teacher.
Her parents would like to say that they are so grateful for the support given to the school. “Children are the future of our country,” says Debora’s mom, Grethel. “They are growing up in a changing time, where more skills are required of them to survive.” “Contributing to the school scholarship fund isn’t just about donating money,” says Debora’s dad, Israel. “It’s about forming our children into responsible adults who can go on to become professionals and leaders of our community.”