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May 21, 2004

You Deserve Better

Baptist School Rio The signs and banners on the grounds of the Escola Batista (Baptist School) read Voce Merece, translated from Portuguese means, "you deserve better". If you saw the favelas (mountainside slums) that our bus drove through to get to the school, you might think that the banners are a call for social revolution. The school, celebrating 35 years of education, is an expensive private school but provides full scholarships to 60 young people who live in the surrounding slums (I hate to use that word, but there is no politically correct descriptor).
You Deserve BetterSpeaking through an interpreter with one of the teachers in the school's technology center, the instructor explained that the banners are for students, parents, and teachers. For the students, the message speaks of the opportunities that come from learning in the classroom, but those opportunities come at the price of hard work. For the parents, it means that a strong and active partnership with the school can make things better in many ways for the future of the city. For the teachers, it means that 35 years of delivering quality education at this school is not something to 'rest upon', it is not enough, it is only the foundation for personal and professional improvement. What a contrast in outlooks: I looked at the envelope of the surounding area and saw poverty. The people at this school reflect upon themselves and see strength and hope.

Posted by Paul Chenoweth at May 21, 2004 08:33 AM