Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Faces of Repelón: The High School Graduate

A willingness to try new things. Upbeat. Positivity. All of these adjectives and more apply to Nayomis Carrillo Ruiz. She brings a curious mind and the ability to step outside of her comfort zone to not only English class, but life in general. Whether she's participating in the class warm-up or willing her team to victory in a heated review game, I know that I can always count on her when I need a volunteer to help keep class moving along.

Born in Sabanalarga (a town about 45 minutes to an hour north of Repelón), Nayomis comes from a close-knit family. Her parents, Alvaro and Solfanis, are dedicated to their family business as a way to provide for their family. Her older sister, Catalina, is currently working towards attaining her social work license at a university in Barranquilla. Danna, her younger sister, is still attending school here in Repelón and is in the ninth grade.

One of the many talents that Nayomis possess is that of a magnificent artist. Anytime that an artistic assignment is given to the students, I know that I am going to receive a mini-masterpiece from her talented hands. Actually, completing her first successful drawing is one of the things that she remembers most fondly about her childhood. Her abilities to translate her feeling and emotions onto paper is something that I'm definitely jealous of!

Outside of drawing, Nayomis also loves to ride her bike around town. Not only does this provide her with a healthy, safe form of entertainment, it also is relaxing and allows to clear her mind. When she was in school (Nayomis just graduated last December), she was able to create strong, long-lasting friendships that she hopes will continue into the future. Despite these pleasant memories, the absence of teachers on regular occasions was a bit of a hinderance as it caused classes to be canceled and mayhem to ensue.

Now that she has finally graduated, Nayomis is looking forward to her future. She plans on continuing her English studies at a university in either Sabanalarga or Barranquilla either this fall or next year. In the meantime, she is devoting her time to helping her mother maintaining the household for the rest of her family. A part of me wants her to wait until next January to start her university career, as that means that she will be able to finish out her current course with me. However, I will obviously fully support whatever decision she makes to better her future outlook.

When reflecting on the city of Repelón, Nayomis is proud of the fact that the local people are hard workers and are constantly striving to find ways to better their lives. This type of work ethic takes time to instill in people, let alone a whole community, so she sees this as a work in progress that also brings along a lot of insecurities that over time will hopefully work themselves out. Life in a pueblo also affords her the opportunity to be the person that she wants to be without a lot of trouble of strife from those around her. However, she also realizes that there are people that have the mentaility that they will always remain poor because they don't think they have the ability to overcome their difficulties. This is something that she aims to try and change in the future.

Down the road, Nayomis would love to be able to travel to the United States if the opportunity ever presented itself to her. The ability to use the things that she has learned regarding English and the chance to further improve her understanding of the language is one that she hopes she is able to take advantage of at some point. She sees the United States as a very powerful, developed country that is helping to better the world one day at a time.

Whether it is through her artistic drawings, bubbly personality, or sheer determination to succeed in everything that she tries, Nayomis has been one of the cornerstones of my classes here in Repelón. Despite her young age, I am fully confident that her future will be full of amazing opportunities and possibilities to both improve herself and the community of Repelón as a whole.

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