Tatiana is a lovely girl who lives with her father and mother, and older brother and sister. They have a nice home in town which they built themselves a few years ago, although they did use much of their resources to build the home. It’s neat and tidy, even though there aren’t many “things” in it. Tatiana’s father Mario Antonio runs a small shop at the bus terminal that sells household items and “grano basico” (things like rice and other staple items). Sometimes his shop does reasonably well, but many months he brings in very little. Tatiana’s mother Mariluz returned in mid December, 2013 from a month in the hospital. She has a uterine tumor that will need radiation therapy starting in January to try and shrink it so it can be operated on. Although being in the hospital doesn’t cost much, travel to and from, and food while visiting, as well as other necessities to keep her comfortable have put a strain on the family.
Tatiana has very good grades at the school, and says she wants to be a doctor. She wrote a very sweet note to us with a drawing of her next to a building labeled “Hospital de Sauce.” We got a really good feeling from both parents in the house, despite the strain of the illness. Tatiana’s father seems very dedicated to his family and to being the best father he can be. Everything at the house was very well kept, even though Mariluz had been gone for a month. Tatiana attends school with Alondra and they are friends from the same neighborhood.
Tatiana has had some rough times lately. Her dad was sick, and she had to be with him in the hospital. She also was suffering from appendicitis and missed a lot of school. Because of all the classes she missed, she was told she would not pass the year. She decided, with our thoughts, to leave school and enter a local vocational school to take computer classes, especially classes in Excel. She says she wants to return to the university next year, but she will need to start over in her first year. If this happens, we will pay for her to start over, but for now, we feel that she is at least learning a skill that can be translated into work at some point. We hope she will return to the university next year.
Tatiana finished her first year in the university by bringing up her grades to an 82% average, which is fantastic! She studies on Saturdays at the university in Leon, so it’s challenging to get an entire week’s worth of material into one day. She tells us that it was hard, but she has really enjoyed it. In her first year, she studied 12 different classes that change every 8 weeks. The first half of her year she studied general classes: math, English, sociology, history of Nicaragua, philosophy, etc. The last half of the year her classes were more suited to her field of study, which is economics. She took things like accounting, basic economics, general administration, etc. Next year, her classes will be all economics-based.
During the week, she is helping run a clothing store near her parents’ store at the bus terminal. Her boyfriend’s father owns the store, so she is helping her boyfriend with the sales. Seems like good practice for an economics student!
Tatiana’s year-end letter to the foundation answered some questions that we posed to her about university studies and challenges she has faced.
Dear members of the foundation, it is a pleasure to greet you and say happy new year. Blessings to each of you.
I want to thank you once again for all the great help you have given me during all these years, I still remember when you visited me for the first time, I was very small and I was going through a bad family situation, you gave me your support, thanks for all that, you have been part of my achievements and will continue to be.
I want to share my experience as a university student, I had many difficult moments starting with the adaptation since it was in a city unknown to me, people from different parts of the country, the policies of the university were totally different from what I was used to, clearly that could not be an obstacle for me. As the months passed, I made friends and adapted, I enjoyed their cultures in the same way as my career.
The university is very different from high school since the ways of evaluation are very different, since in the university there are quarterly exams, exhibitions and seminars which were one of my biggest obstacles since digital work was mandatory and I didn’t have a computer. For the first semester I visited the cyber to do my work but it was not profitable due to the cost, then a high school classmate lent me her computer to do my work and it helped me in my academic performance since the work was presentable.
I feel that the most difficult thing at the university level is the adaptation in my perspective, leaving your town and having to get to know some cultures is not easy at all.
Last year left a great experience that people cannot limit ourselves in achieving our dreams, we are capable of achieving everything we set out to do.
I say goodbye, I send you a big hug and all the best wishes for you members of the foundation.
Tatiana is studying in the university! She sent us an application for a post secondary scholarship, which we could hardly deny. She decided to study economics, which will have a lot of potential for several different careers. We are so excited that she’s continuing on, and we know that she’ll do really well, just like her cousin Elizabeth. Here is a translation of her application answers.
SECTION 1: YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
In this section, we want to know about you, your qualities and talents, and what important life experiences you have had. Please choose two or more of the following questions to answer in this section.
Describe an attribute or quality that you feel makes you special or that distinguishes you.
Ever since I was very young I have enjoyed helping other people and I am very social. I really like mathematics and chemistry.
Who is someone you admire and why do you admire this person?
I’m from a family that works really hard and my Aunt Isabel has been an important example for me. With a lot of effort, she worked and was able to graduate as a teacher. When she was doing this, it was much harder than it is now, she had to both work and study at the same time. With her hard work, she was able to help her kids be successful and now they also have done post-secondary studies.
What is a big challenge you have faced, and how did you overcome it?
When I was 10 years old I was in grade 4 of primary school, and my mother was diagnosed with a malignant disease so I had to be separated from her for a long time. This brought on a lot of emotional imbalance and because of all of that, my father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. My older brother had to quit his studies to take care of me. It was really difficult as I had never had to be apart from my parents. My teachers were very flexible and I had very low grades for the first months of that year, but I adapted to the change and was able to complete my school year.
SECTION 2: YOUR INFLUENCES
In this section, we want to know about who and what has influenced your life and who you are. Please choose two or more of the following questions to answer in this section.
Who has been your biggest influence and why?
My parents have influenced me very much. They encourage me to continue forward always. The ONE foundation as well, thanks to them, I have been able to meet every one of my goals. It has been 7 years that I’ve been able to receive this huge blessing (of the scholarships).
How has your education contributed to who you are today?
In these long years, I have been able to reach a high level of academic performance with discipline. Also I have learned to be social and friendly and to help other people.
SECTION 3: YOUR CAREER CHOICE
In this section, we want to know about why you want to continue studying, and your plans for your studies and your future. Please choose three or more of the following questions to answer in this section.
Why do you want to get a university education and what career are you planning to study for?
I would like to study economics. Since I was very young my objective and passion is to help other people. I decided in the last few years to study this humanitarian career because the biggest factor for poverty is the economy. My studies are based on the economy, finances, and human resources.
Why are you interested in this career?
Because through this career I can help many people, especially those who are low-income.
How will this career help your community?
By studying economics, you can measure the stability of a country, its development and growth to be able to generate policies that will improve the general social wellbeing and the situation of most people.
SECTION 4: CHALLENGES
In this section, we want you to consider what challenges might arise during your studies, and how you think you would respond to those challenges. Please answer both of the following two questions for this section.
What kinds of challenges do you think might occur for you during your studies (for example: school work, your life, your family, your health, etc.)?
One of the greatest challenges are the assignments because all of the work we do is digital and I don’t have a computer. At the moment, I go to an internet café to complete my work. It has been a bit difficult so far to adapt to the way university is and the professors.
Describe how you might respond to some of these challenges so you can continue studying.
All the obstacles I may face are things I will be able to overcome with patience and the desire to meet my goals. I know I can do this with the help of my family, God and the foundation.
SECTION 5: THE FUTURE
In this section, we want you to think about your future and the future of your career. Please choose two or more of the following questions to answer in this section.
Describe your goals and where you imagine yourself to be in life in the next three years, five years, and 10 years.
My goal is that when I have finished my degree, I can work in my profession in my community to help with the economy and to help teach children.
How will you use your education and your career to help other girls and women with their education?
I would love to be able to discuss with young people or girls about how to continue fighting for your dreams, how to not give up and how I have been able to achieve many, many things so they can do it, too.
What do you think is the biggest challenge to your community, and if possible, how could you help your community overcome this challenge?
The biggest challenge my community is facing is the quality of life. There is little economic activity or job and income opportunities. Many people don’t have the opportunity to study. We could achieve this by raising awareness among parents that they make sure their kids go to school, so that like some of us, they can continue to study and get a degree.
SECTION 6: THE SCHOLARSHIP
In this section, we want to know what you believe makes you the best person to receive this scholarship. Please answer both of following two questions for this section.
Why do you think you should receive this scholarship? Tell us about you, not your circumstances.
I am a young person with a great desire to get ahead in life. I have excellent academic performance, and you have seen me grow and give my all to be able to reach my goals. I always give the best of myself. I know that there are many girls and young people like me who are thirsty for knowledge and hope to reach their dreams, and like them I hope to do so with this opportunity and I will work hard to achieve it.
It was a joyful day indeed to see Tatiana graduate from high school in December. She was simply stunning, and we couldn’t have been prouder. She marched in the parade to the church with her mother first, then her brother. Her father walked with her at the school to receive her diploma and he looked like he was going to burst, he was so proud. Tatiana has said she’ll be filling out an application for a post-secondary scholarship, and we can’t wait to see what she decides to do.
Here is a copy of her year-end letter to us:
Hello dear members of the foundation. I hope you are in good health! I want to share with you my experience during high school. There were moments full of emotion, of struggle and above all of learning. Together with my classmates during the five years we were a team willing to help in any difficulty in school. There were many subjects that were difficult for me; however, I always looked for a way to understand them with the help of the teachers.
My dream is to be able to help other people through my career. I am very grateful to God and to all the members of the foundation for having given me all the support during my primary and secondary education. I say goodbye with a big hug and kisses for all blessings.
Sincerely, Keyli Espinoza
We have included a video of Tatiana receiving her diploma, and one of the graduation parade that all the students march in to get to mass at the church before the ceremony. You’ll see Tatiana and her brother almost at the end of the parade. It’s a very formal, and yet somehow extremely casual affair in El Sauce!
Tatiana is all grown up! She had her 17th birthday, and sent us photos of her getting ready to graduate. She finished her first semester at the top of her section in school, and according to her letter to us, has some very well-defined plans for her life after high school. We’re so excited to watch her move beyond high school and see where she goes!
Here is a translation of her letter to us at the mid-term:
14 August 2021
Hello dear Christa and the other members of the foundation. I hope this finds you healthy!
I tell you that I am just a few months away from finishing my school year with a lot of success. I am in first place with my grades in my section. I am very excited because soon will be graduation. I am very grateful to God, you, and my parents for all the help that you have bestowed upon me to be able to achieve these goals.
After graduating I will take a basic course in acrylic nails, given that I can work at that and help with my university studies. I will study the career of social work on weekends. I love social work because I can help other people.
Starting in December I will travel to Estelí where I am going to take my class, which will be three months long. The requirements are my identification, materials for practice, and the cost of the course, Also, to enter into the university I will have to take an admission exam, which I will have to present myself and bring my grade card and the rest of my documents.
I will accomplish this with the help of God, and with my efforts and dedication.
I say goodbye gratefully. I send you all many kisses and hugs. I will see you in December. Blessings.
Sincerely, Keylin Espinoza
Tatiana finished her year with wonderful grades. She received an 83% average, and seems to be well situated to enter her final year of high school next year. Her excitement about finishing secondary school is practically brimming off the pages of her letter to us. She also expressed a pretty clear plan to study social work. She wants to go to a private university in Esteli on Saturday classes. We’re excited for her that she has this goal, and we think it is very achievable. And she’ll be good at the work; she’s a very sweet, gentle person with a lovely way about her.
29 December 2020
Dear Christa and ONE Foundation,
I hope this finds you all well. Thank you for continuing to help us with our scholarships.
I want to tell you a little of what I lived through this year! My biggest challenge this year was the pandemic since it made it difficult to attend classes. The same with the hurricanes since the classrooms in which we studied weren’t adequate.
I have been really proud that I finished one more year of classes. With the help of God, all of you, and my parents, I am only one step away from finishing secondary school. Next year I am excited to graduate since it is a dream made reality after so much effort and dedication.
I am more than prepared for this next school year. I am very happy to start this next school year and finish my secondary school. I hope to continue studying with the help of God. I want to study social work because I am very passionate about that career. I want to study on Saturdays in the city of Esteli. To make this dream a reality, I have to look into many things— what are the requirements to be able to enter in this career, if there are scholarships, what are the costs.
Thank you for the help. Merry Christmas and happy new year. May this year be filled with blessings for everyone. I hope to see you at my graduation.
I love you, many kisses and hugs!
Sincerely, Keylin T. Espinoza Centeno
Tatiana is getting taller and more beautiful each time we see her, although she is still as serious as ever about not dancing! She ended her year with an 82% average, which is very solid. It was a big year, since she turned 15, and even though she didn’t have an official Quinceañera, Meghan and Christa had to bring her something glittery for her birthday.
Tatiana’s year-end letter us talked about some of the things that she learned, and she told us one of her favorite jokes, which really doesn’t translate into English!
6 December 2019
“Keilin Tatiana Espinoza Centeno”
1) Describe an accomplishment (not your grades) of which you are the most proud from this school year.
Of all my accomplishments the one I am the most proud of is having completed in my piñata project in the class of Learn, Undertake, and Prosper, since it was a very difficult work project, but I achieved by objective.
2) Describe something that you learned in one of your classes that you found interesting.
Of the new material that they taught us in third year the most interesting were algebra and chemistry, because in these classes you apply a lot of formulas.
3) Tell us your favorite joke.
Why does a tomate (tomato) not drink coffee?
Because “toma te” (he drinks tea).
4) Are you excited for the next school year? Why?
I am because I am going into fourth year and I know it will be very difficult but I will give it a lot of effort with the help of God.
Tatiana is doing very well in school. Her midterm average was 85%, which is very solid. We’re proud of her efforts, especially in math! Although her grade in math wasn’t quite as high as she’d like, she definitely has the desire to learn more and keep moving forward. She was again able to march in the September parade due to her high average, which is a wonderful experience, and one she is justifiably proud of. Here is her midterm letter to us.
20 October 2019
For: Christa and the ONE Foundation
Dear Christa, I hope this finds you and the rest of the members of the foundation doing well.
In this letter I want to tell you a little bit about my school year. Thanks to God my grades have gone up a lot. The best thing that happened to me this year was to have been a cumplidora with an 83% average. Also I have made a lot of new friends and have shared a lot of happiness with them these past months.
When I started this year I had difficulty with some of my subjects because they were teaching us new topics but thanks to the help of my friends who helped me I understood a lot. One of the differences that I experienced is that at the beginning of the year I felt that math was going to be difficult but nonetheless I saw that I understood it better and this new method has been a big help. The difference that I felt was that when I understood the subject it wasn’t hard for me anymore. There will be a lot of differences since I have a lot of desire to have better grades.
I say goodbye with much love. Greetings to all the members of the foundation, kisses and hugs.
Sincerely, Keyling Tatiana Espinoza Centeno
Tatiana ended her year with an average of 76%, a bit low for her. She said that her classes this year were hard, and it cost her a lot to learn, especially in natural sciences. But she’s still trying, and we hope she will continue to try even harder as she enters her third year of high school. Her parents are doing well, and they still run their little store at the bus terminal. We hope the addition of a giant new supermarket to the town won’t hurt small vendors like them.
Her final letter to us talks a little about what makes her nervous for the coming year.
Dear members of the ONE Foundation. I hope this finds you healthy.
I have to say that I am a bit nervous because I was experiencing new subjects and it was really hard. But I moved ahead and “got” it, thanks to the help of my family, my friends, and all of you. For this year I want to put a lot of effort into raising my average. I know I can do it, I just have to force myself more in order to move ahead with my studies. I know that I am going to have new material, things I have never seen.
I am very happy to know that you will continue helping me because it is a huge help to my family.
I say goodbye with a kiss and a hug and I wish you a merry Christmas.
Sincerely, Keyling Tatiana Espinoza Centeno
Tatiana is not doing as well in school as she has in the past, with a 76% at her mid-year report card. She’s in her second year of high school, which is proving a bit more challenging. Plus, she might be getting a little distracted by the usual teenage things. We aren’t too worried, though, because she’s a good student, and she has the support (and encouragement) of her family.
31 August, 2018
Dear Christa, I hope this finds you well, along with all the members of the foundation.
I want to tell you that I am doing well in class. My classes have been a little hard, since this year, they gave us new subjects that we didn’t know before. But I am working with much desire to move forward.
My family is grateful to you and all the members of the foundation. This 14 September I am going to march in the parade.
I want to tell you that now we aren’t taking exams, everything is cumulative. It helps a lot that now they are only giving us homework and quizzes.
I hope that you’ll come this year. I will wait for you anxiously.
I say goodbye with much love, a kiss, and a hug.
Sincerely, Keyling Tatiana Espinoza Centeno
1) What is something you would like to accomplish for this year?
My goal is to pass this year with very good grades, because next year I will reach 9th grade of secondary school. My grades are a little low, so my goal is to raise them.
2) Is there something you have accomplished or achieved this year?
I raised my grades a little. I got to wear a costume for the school’s birthday party with my friends and that was very fun.
3) Tell us your favorite story or legend from Nicaragua.
It tells of an very strange animal. It looks like a dog. When it appears to people, they say that the white one protects people, and the black one is the bad one.
When the black cadejo encounters the white one, they fight between themselves.
They say that when you run, it becomes a huge dog and it gets very angry until it can kill you.
Tatiana keeps getting more and more beautiful, and we’re just grateful she’s still something of a little girl. She loves hanging out with her best friends, Sua, Alondra, and Elizabeth, and when she does, she giggles a lot. Her family is doing well and their health is better. Tatiana finished her year with an 82%, a fairly low average for her, but we are pretty sure that now that she knows what high school is all about, she’ll figure things out.
For her year end letter this year, we asked Tatiana to draw an outline of her hand. Inside it she was to write things that she liked about herself, or that she was proud of. Outside it, she was to write things she’d like to accomplish or do this coming year or in the future. Here’s her piece of art! Inside her hand she has written things like “I am studious,” “I like animals a lot,” “I like my hair,” “I’m a good friend.” Outside her hand she has written things like, “I want to take a beauty class,” “I want to know other places,” “I want to help my family.” We hope she’ll hang onto this and add to it when she feels like it.
As usual Tatiana’s grades were stellar at the end of the year. She received a 93%, and it’s clear that she is very serious about studying. This will serve her well when she gets to secondary school, which is much harder than primary. Her family is healthy, and we were able to attend her promocion from 6th grade into secondary school, which was really fun. It was also quite a learning experience! We can walk you through it with some photos.
Tatiana and Alondra were part of an art class that some Flagstaff students presided over while we were there. It was really fun to see Tatiana’s creations (she put a great deal of care into making them), and later, when we visited her house, to see them up on the wall and on her table, proudly displayed.
Tatiana’s final letter for the year is translated below.
To: One New Education Foundation
Letter of thanks
It makes me very happy that you have helped me to study and accomplish my dream because in this year of 2016 I graduated from primary school. I achieved a 94% final average. I promise to you to make an effort to receive good grades and I will do that thanks to God, all of you, and my family that have helped me in all my studies so that this has been a year of much success.
I will make good use of the scholarship for my educational activities. I am very happy because I am entering my first year of secondary school.
I am a very happy girl, and I feel very content and grateful to God, my family and all of you. I hope you continue to help me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Keyling Tatiana Espinoza Centeno
Well, we don’t think there’s any problem with continuing to help Tatiana with her education! She is a very dedicated student, and her family is very dedicated to helping her succeed. Now, we just have to figure out what she loves to do besides study, so we can go do it with her!
Tatiana passed her classes last year with an extremely impressive 90% average. She is simply a lovely girl, very serious and dedicated to her studies and her family. Her mother is doing much better and looks a lot healthier. Her father has had some heart trouble and lost quite a bit of weight. He’s now paying more attention to what he eats, which is a good thing.
Tatiana said that she likes studying and playing with her friends more than anything. She and Sua and an Alondra are thick as thieves, and it is so cute to see them together.
Tatiana’s letter to us reflects her serious nature, and how hard she works in school.
January 6, 2016
I hope you are well.
We are happy because you are coming to visit us.
I tell you that I enjoy myself a lot with my friends. I learned a lot about science. There were a lot of earthquakes and that was difficult.
It made me feel very proud to march in the September 14 parade.
I feel happy studying a lot.
-To pass the school year, learn English and be a professional.
-To help a friend who has problems in certain subjects. These are the three goals that I want to accomplish.
(what is my talent or gift) I am a good friend and I help my friends.
I say goodbye and I am very grateful for the help that you are giving me.
From, Keyling Tatiana Espinoza Centeno
Our contact Ashley, who has been living just for the past year in New York state, returned to El Sauce for a visit in March and brought along presents for the girls from Christa. She was able to meet with all the girls at Marina’s house and she took lots of great pictures. Tatiana is a lovely girl, a little shy and serious. She’s doing so well in school; her grades were the among the highest of all our girls there.
Tatiana ended her school year with amazing grades! She received an overall average of 96%, and several of her grades were 100s. For this fine performance, she received the honor of being a bandadera (flag holder) in the annual September parade. Congratulations, Tatiana! We couldn’t be happier and prouder than if we were your own parents!
Tatiana did great this year in school! At the end of the year she had an 89% average! We are so happy to see her doing so well.
“Hello Christa and my benefactors. Receive this greeting and I hope you had a happy new year.
What I liked the most this year was my class materials.
The goals that I have this year are to get good grades in my classes.
To always have the help of my parents, of Christa and my benefactors that help me.
To get better in math class.
To behave well with my friends and teacher.
I would like to learn to play volleyball.
In my studies I have learned to respect my elders and my parents.
My goals that I want to accomplish is to be a biologist and in that way to help my parents economically and other people who need my help.
Keyling Tatiana Espinoza Centeno, El Sauce, January 7, 2015″