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On Friday, November 23, ninth graders from the communities of Agua Blanca, La Hacienda, and Yancolo officially graduated! In El Salvador, ninth grade marks the end of “tercer ciclo,” the final year of Salvadoran grade school, and the highest grade supported by the government’s “scholar package” program. We are so happy that most of the young men and women who graduated will be making the big jump to high school in Cacaopera next year!
Ninth grade is an important landmark in Salvadoran students’ educational journeys. Many of these students’ parents’ educations were interrupted by the war, so some graduates are the first in their families to complete grade school. Also, as students get older, the sacrifice that the family makes by sending them to school instead of working in the fields or around the house is greater. These students’ graduations are important celebrations that mark not only a personal achievement but also the often difficult commitment that the whole family makes to honor their children’s right to an education. Especially for young women, having the oppotunity to choose to go to high school is an important step towards promoting a society that values education for all its members.