Alexandra Maite Martinez hails from the community of Turega, Cocle. She arrived at the Forum Academy after meeting Elvia Martinez during one of the community visits to identify students who could enroll at the Academy.
“I was in my third year at Escuela Simon Martinez Perez when I met Profesora Elvia. At that time I didn’t know if I wanted to continue studying because the situation was not easy. So when I heard Profesora Elvia deliver her presentation about the Academy and the type of students they were looking for, I told myself, this is my opportunity to study and reach my goals”
Forum Foundation and its Academy offered Alexandra the opportunity to study the International Baccalaureate a rigorous curriculum recognized the world over for its high standards and rigor. “I learned to take advantage of every minute of the day, how to be responsible, and disciplined. But above all, it gave me the motivation to set my goals.
Currently enrolled at the University of Panama, Alexandra is completing her studies in Culinary Arts, in the school of Agricultural Sciences. “I have many things planned for when I graduate, many goals and ideas that I want to make a reality. But as we know there are always obstacles in the way. Once I have finished my studies I would like to go to Spain to specialize in a specific area of cooking.”
Alexandra also dreams of working in the culinary industry, whether it is in Panama or somewhere else. “ One of my many ideas is to make a food truck out of one of the old “diablo rojo” public transportation buses in Panama, something very Panamanian. I have only seen one like this in Panama. She hopes that by doing this she can contribute to highlighting the traditions costumes and products that people might not know any more or have forgotten. With the advances in science and technology, Alexandra is confident she can offer products and dishes that are at a high level and that this can push more people to this area of work.
Studying during a global pandemic has not been easy, but Alexandra is not one to give up. “It was not easy at the start, especially because you need a good internet connection to participate in online learning.” But as time went on Alexandra kept adapting, and just like cooking, she says 95% is hands-on, and this was a huge limitation during this situation. Nonetheless, adaptations continue, and as Alexandra explains the students in the class started cooking some recipes, practicing techniques, and methods. “What I have learned out of all of this is that we never let our guard down and we should always persevere and keep moving forward. We can all do this.
For Alexandra, the support of the Forum Foundation has been her “number one pilar during this pandemic, because of the amazing scholarship opportunities provided, and that support is unwavering. She explains that is is something all the students being supported are thankful for, some lost their jobs even, but thanks to the support of the Foundation, we saw a way forward