Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Reflection on Senior Starfish senior Joel

Today, senior Starfish student Joel shares with us a reflection on his last year in high school, and his motivation for the future.  Joel has been with us since the first days of Starfish and we are so proud of all that he has accomplished so far!!

"Hi, I'm Joel.  I'm in my last year of high school.  To be in the last year of high's gratifying to know that you are about to graduate and meet one of your goals which is to finish high school.  Of course, the last year is not easy because your life is slowly taking an important turn towards responsibility.  One begins to become more independent, but it's always necessary to listen to others' advice for something that you don't understand.  It may be related to your studies, which are important.  Someday, thanks to your academic efforts, you can achieve diplomas or scholarships like what I had, and with these accomplishments, people will respect you as a person.  If everything goes well, in the future they will also respect you as a professional."

Also important to note, Joel has done an excellent job preparing for his graduation, participating in the equivalent of SAT-prep classes and earning an admirable score on the exam.  As such he is currently exploring 2 options, the public university to which he will automatically gain admittance with his outstanding test score, and a private university scholarship through another local organization which awards scholarships specifically based on merit.  Let's wish him the best of luck as he continues in the scholarship process!!  ¡Buena suerte Joel!

Spanish language - Joel's original post:

Hola, soy Joel.  Estoy en 3ro de bachillerato.  Estar en el último de muy grato saber que estás a punto de graduarte y cumplir con una de tus metas que es finalizar el colegio.  Claro que el último año no es fácil porque tu vida poco a poco va tomando un giro importante que es el de la responsabilidad.  Uno se comienza a independizar, pero siempre hay que escuchar a los demás, sus consejos, en algo que no entiendes.  Puede ser referente a tus estudios, que son importante.  Algún día gracias a tu esfuerzo académico puedes obtener logros como diplomas o becas como los obtuve yo, y al obtener todos estos logros, las demás personas te van a respetar como persona.  Si todo va bien ya puede que más adelante de te respeten como un profesional.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Global Education: A Brief Look

Greetings, Starfish readers! We are launching a new blog series on global education. Also keep an eye out for posts from our volunteers and tutors, Starfish event highlights, and more every Thursday! We look forward to your comments.


Many people, myself included, were excited to hear President Obama speak about the possibility of free and universal community college in his State of the Union speech this week. This new initiative raises hope. Not only for those who would directly benefit from it, but for also everyone who recognizes education as a powerful, positive force.

Investing in education is, of course, an investment in the future. At Starfish, we know education has the power to change lives; it gives young people more opportunities and the ability to build up their communities. And it is encouraging to think that the President's newly introduced policy may be part of a trend towards a greater global focus on education.

To nurture this trend, however, there is still much to be done. A recent report released by UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics indicated that 58 million children and 63 million adolescents worldwide were out of school. In other words: 1 of 11 children are not in the classroom; 1 in 5 adolescents are not.

The global community intended 2015 to be a benchmark year for universal primary education and yet progress has been slow. Barriers to education include: poverty, child labor, gender discrimination, national and regional conflicts, geographic location, language challenges, malnutrition, natural disasters, teacher shortages, and disability.

A disproportionate number of girls, children with disabilities, and children living in rural areas leave school early or miss out on their educations entirely. UNESCO reports that the solution isn't a matter of simply building more schools, but maintaining education in times of upheaval, combatting the above deterrents, and further determining why students aren't in the classroom.

The situation isn't hopeless, but rather complex. Still, change is possible. Last year, for example, in Ecuador, public school enrollment increased by 16%. The national literacy rate increased to 93%. The state spent a net $1.3 billion on education and made a plan to raise their secondary education graduation rate to 80% in the next several years. It will take hard work to put that plan into action, as it will take hard work to get students worldwide into their classrooms, but it's worth it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015