2022 Honors Graduate Yazmilka Soto


The mountains in Northern Cocle, are the home to many curious minds, eager for an opportunity to build a brighter future. The students that have graduated in 2022 have accomplished a feat made even more difficult by the ongoing consequences of the global pandemic. Still, these young people never cease to amaze us all.

Yazmilka Velasquez Soto is a stellar example of what can be accomplished through our programs and scholarships. Now a graduate of the Candelario Ovalle High School, Yazmilka was recognized with first-place honors.“This was due to my effort, dedication, patience, and desire to learn. But most of all, I turned in my assignments on time and paid attention to my teachers when they were lecturing in my classes,” says Yazmilka. She says it is important to study because “Studying is the only way that we can know more about the world we live in and expand our skills. This allows us to continue to grow personally and professionally.”

She first received support from the Foundation through scholarship funds to cover school transportation. The funds also helped pay for the cost of data cards to connect to her virtual classes. “I feel very happy and grateful for all this support. Thanks to the opportunities that the Forum Foundation has given me, I have been able to grow as a student.” 

Distance education was one of the biggest challenges she faced, as she did not have an electronic device that would allow her to connect to virtual classes. “This forced me to complete my classes through modules.”  

Like many students from towns in northern Cocle, Yazmilka had difficulties with internet access and a lack of transportation to school. But she managed to overcome them by using the school’s network and doing her research using books. “With the help of the Forum Foundation, they offered me the opportunity to use the computers at the Community Center. They also helped me overcome the barriers I was facing in my studies through the tutoring they did at those educational centers.” Yazmilka believes that the use of technology is important because we can use it to learn new things and be better organized.

Her favorite subject is physics because for her it is the subject that allowed her to create, invent, and analyze each problem deeply in order to solve it. “What I enjoyed the most was doing physics experiments, which helped me understand the lesson in a deeper way. Also, it was very valuable to learn how to express myself more easily.

When asked what advice he would give to other students he said: 

“The advice I give to students is that education is not an obligation, it is an opportunity to have a better world. Follow your dreams because there is no dream that cannot be achieved with effort. Education is the most beautiful thing that our parents can leave us. It is an opportunity that we cannot waste.


Yazmilka plans to continue her studies to obtain a degree in law and political science at the University of Panama, Centro Regional Universitario de Cocle. “After studying at the university I would like to continue specializing in this career to be able to get a job. Since my purpose is to study to help my family, community, and other people who at some point need my help. And thus become a good person and agent of change. 

While waiting for her admission test results, Yazmilka hopes to receive a John Keffer scholarship to support her college expenses. “All the benefits offered by the Forum Foundation are the best help for us students. I feel very grateful to all those who have supported me until today. May God continue to bless all those who are part of the Foundation. Their hard work and dedication, their support, and the love they give us are what allow us to continue moving forward preparing ourselves to be successful in life.”

Forum Foundation continues its commitment to sustainable change by offering high school graduates opportunities to apply for John Keffer University Scholarships. These scholarships help cover the cost of university enrolment, room and board, and other additional expenses.

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