In 2014 our founder, Brian Copes, escorted 10 of his Engineering Students to Jutiapa, Honduras. On this trip, the students fit fourteen amputees with prosthetic legs that they designed and built by his students. His students also constructed and delivered two Basic Utility Vehicles (BUV): one being used as an ambulance and the other for plowing fields and has a fresh water well drill attachment. These vehicles travel from village to village drilling fresh water wells and cultivate fields.
While there, it was noted that the town was celebrating their first high school student “in the history of the town”. We were told that for a student to attend middle and high school they had to travel to a larger town. This is unaffordable to the people that live in this region for many make less than $2.50 per day. Most students drop out of school during their elementary years to seek employment.
Education is the key out of poverty. During the 2013 and 2014 school year, Mr. Copes and his students raised the necessary funds to add two rooms to the Manuel Bonilla Cefalu School. The school restructured their course offerings and began teaching elementary classes in the morning and middle and high school classes in the afternoon. The Manuel Bonilla Cefalu School now has 105 middle and high school students in attendance. This is overshadowed by the fact that there are still over four thousand children that unable to attend school in this region of Honduras because there are no facilities and teachers.
During the summer of 2014, Mr. Copes’ and his students returned to Jutiapa, Honduras where they installed solar panels onto the school. During this trip, they noticed educational deficiencies that they could help with. First, the school only had 4 computers; only one worked and none were able to access the internet. Second, the school is required to teach their students the English Language, however; none of the teachers spoke English. This is where the formation of Sister Schools was prompted.
In 2015, four teams of USA student returned to Honduras.
In the USA many English as a Second Language (ESL) students have a disconnect with their USA counterparts. The Sister School project allows the ESL students to become leaders in their class by bringing them up front as peer translators. This will not only help the ESL students master the material but will give them a valued leadership role and a since of belonging in the school.