New Beginnings in La Chuscada

July 1, 2020

By: Nic Herrmann
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The Amigos Academy Team on the first day of classes, March 16, 2020
The Amigos Academy Director, Nic Herrmann, reflects on first day of school in March as he prepares for the academy’s second opening July 1st after being closed for social distancing. 

After much anticipation and planning, months of hiring and organizing, and a few restless nights, La Chuscada’s newest iteration, Amigos Academy, was ready to welcome our first group of students to our English, Computer, and Spanish literacy classes. The day felt both monumental and pedestrian; monumental for myself and the dedicated and enthusiastic team tasked with recruiting students, setting up our classrooms, and writing lessons plans; pedestrian for the students, especially the young ones, who wandered into our eccentrically painted school grounds to begin a few more hours of class.  

As I watched the students file in on our first day of class, March 16, 2020, my stomach fluttered with excitement while my mind meticulously combed through my day’s lesson plan.  One foot grounded in what this place and these students will become; leaders of a new generation of educated Nicaraguans, with dreams and aspirations, and one foot grounded in the practical needs and goals for the day.  

Day one went well, as did week one. As with anything new, there were hiccups.  I am still getting used to two first names and two last names, which is why taking attendance is still the most stressful part of my day.  And too, computer classes without computers makes for some inventive lesson plans (we have since bought and installed the desktops)! But above all, there is no greater sense of purpose to be felt than watching students voluntarily enter our school, excited to learn and willing to trust us with this learning.  

And though we only got through a weeks-worth of lessons before social distancing paused classes, our plans for return are imminent and our hopes for our school are boundless. Our teaching staff has taken advantage of time away, working on their teaching craft by completing a series of professional developments and classes on teaching strategy. We also beautified an already beautiful school by painting various murals with the help of the greater Amigos community. And now, we’re gearing up today, doing everything we can to provide to provide a safe and healthy environment to welcome back our students, the bright spots in the La Chuscada community.

I am not sure what the Amigos Academy becomes, but I know it’s going to be good. The history and story behind this school speaks for itself.  We have so many hopes and dreams that are yet to unfold.  We also have a litany of community members eager to help us grow this educational hub into a place that can serve even more students of different educational levels and abilities. Undoubtedly, the best it yet to come.

 

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