Leah Collado (age 4)
At the beginning of last year, single mom and San Juan del Sur native, Ingrid Collado, had growing concerns about her daughter’s education. When Ingrid visited Leah’s previous school or reviewed paperwork sent home by the teachers, she was disheartened to find spelling errors and other mistakes. Acknowledging that it was not the teacher’s fault, but rather a weakness in the educational system, Ingrid decided that it was time to be proactive in her daughter’s education. At the urging of her employer, Vanessa Pattison, owner of Zen Yoga Nicaragua, Ingrid enrolled her 4-year old daughter, Leah, in San Juan del Sur Day School last year.
“I feel calm and confident in the school because it has a great teaching program and she [Leah] can learn a lot of valuable things. So much in life depends on the environment in which you grow up. The school offers a healthy and safe location with vision and heart. In my house, I am always teaching important values to Leah and San Juan del Sur Day School reinforces those values.”
The first in her family to go to university, Ingrid wants to create the same opportunities for her daughter. “I hope for Leah that she can be a strong woman, who doesn’t have fear of the world, who won’t pass up opportunities. There are so many young girls in our town who get pregnant very young and I don’t want that future for my daughter. San Juan del Sur Day School is the only place in town where I know that my daughter can learn positive values in a safe place.”
Before attending SJdS Day School, Leah only spoke in Spanish. “I felt so proud when I first heard her speak in English,” said Ingrid. “I believe that being bilingual will benefit Leah a lot in the future. When someone speaks two languages, you have entrance to different worlds. She has changed so much since starting at San Juan del Sur Day School – she has more confidence and clearly feels more comfortable speaking with others.” Leah’s Grandmother, Marta, who lives with them said, “it’s very important to be bilingual, even here in San Juan del Sur. It’s practically a profession here – people only hire you if you speak both languages.”
From the first moment that someone told Marta that her granddaughter was going to study at San Juan del Sur Day School, she felt very proud – first of her daughter for making it happen and secondly of her granddaughter. “It was a triumph,” said Marta. “Not all children have this opportunity. I just hope that she continues to study…like her mother. That she just keeps going.” A self-taught chef, Grandma Marta has contributed many of her own hours to San Juan del Sur Day school, creating manuals for the kitchen staff and teaching them recipes.
“I want to say thank you to the teachers at the school. I know that they are amazing teachers. Leah misses school when she’s not there and always talks about them. I also want to say thank you to the sponsors for giving her this opportunity, whether big or small, it all helps and it all matters.” – Ingrid Collado (mom to Leah)