Alexandra Maite Martinez hails from the community of Turega, Cocle. She arrived at 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,“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, customs, 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 adjusting. In cooking, Alexandra says 95% of the learning is hands-on. This significantly limits what can be done given the restrictions. Nonetheless, everyone is trying to make the best of a difficult situation. For example students in the class started cooking some recipes, practicing techniques, and methods at home, using whatever they might have available. “What I have learned out of all of this is that we must never let our guard down. Always persevere and keep moving forward. We can all do this.”
For Alexandra, Forum Foundation’s support has been an unwavering during. Especially during these difficult times. “This is something we are all thankfull for. Some people have lost their jobs, others have lost family members or even lost their lives. But thanks to Forum’s support we are able to continue our education to help build a brighter future.”
Forum Foundation is committed to helping students like Alexandra achieve their academic goals.