Overcoming Obstacles

Jul 19, 2018

Steph Duff

The warm, yellow room is filled with the sound of fingertips hitting keyboards. Miss Sandy, Back2Back staff, paces back and forth behind them, ensuring they’re staying on track, ever present to answer questions. It’s not a conventional classroom, but the four students sitting in front of the computers are full-time students in pursuit of a high school degree. Today, Angel, Iram, Andres, and Rubi are fighting for their right to a bright future.

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Angel, Iram, Andres, and Rubi are four teens who have grown up in the Tres Reyes community, outside the city of Cancun.  They’ve long dreamt of studying high school, but like many in their circumstances, they face barriers. The Mexican education system requires students to apply for high school upon completing the ninth grade. The four teens applied to high schools in the greater Cancun area, but each had varying obstacles. Iram, who had previously studied in high school and struggled, was lacking the motivation to try again. Rubi and Angel were told there were no longer spots available, causing great disappointment and leaving them both wondering what would happen next. Andres was assigned to a school, but it was on the other side of town and over 90 minutes by bus one way. It was an expense his family could not afford. 

The four teens delayed their education for at least a year, now at risk of giving up this dream altogether. 

But like He always does, God had His eyes on each one of them. In the midst of their dilemma, He was birthing a dream in the hearts of others. The Back2Back Cancun team saw a need for a high school option for the students served, and Sandy Concepcion, the tutor at the Community Center in Tres Reyes, offered to step in and be a part of the solution. This dream was officially brought to life August of 2017. 

Angel, Iram, Andres, and Rubi are the first four students in a very exciting story. Under the direction of staff, the teens have embarked on a 33-month adventure allowing them to complete an accredited online high school program in two and half years.  Monday through Friday, they spend their mornings completing the guided lessons while being coached and supported by Miss Sandy. 

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“The small classroom allows me to help the students learn, investigate, analyze information, interpret text, understand what they’ve read, and build important communication skills,” shares Sandy. In addition to their normal course work, our teaching staff also supplement English, Computers, and Art. This is more than an opportunity to attend high school and change the trajectory of their lives. More importantly, this step will impact their family for generations. The hope is not only for the success of these four students, but also for countless teens who will follow behind them.

Steph Duff is a writer, daughter, sister, and really loud laugher. By day she lends her voice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children with Back2Back Ministries. By night she is readily found with her nose in a book and spending time with her dog, Telulah. At all hours, she can be found consuming copious amounts of coffee. She feels most herself in the heat of India and prefers her mugs big, her books long, and her words intentional.

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