Danilo is an Electromechanical Engineering student at the Universidad Technologica in Penonome. He grew up in the town of Nances Caballero in Anton, where he attended school at Los Cerritos. “It took about 20 minutes for me to get to school. I remember having to walk up a big hill, after some time we got used to it and didn’t get tired anymore.” That is where he first met Profesora Elvia, who was looking for aspiring students eager to learn and join the adventure of the Forum Academy. Danilo was one of the first students who came from Los Cerritos.
“At first I thought the test was so hard. But then I received the phone call to have the interview. That is where I met Profesora Sol who told us all about the International Baccalaureate. I was one of the last students to interview because I had left my home late that morning. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the Academy from our family home.”
Starting in grade 10, Danilo began preparing for the rigorous challenge of the IB Diploma Program. “I had to adapt. But I am used to things changing and the last thing I will ever do is give up. This was an opportunity for me to explore and to learn a lot from teachers and from my fellow students. Part of that challenge was being away from his family for long periods of time. “I had never been away from home for a whole month. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how far away you are, it’s the sacrifice you make to hope for a better future.” Making friends helped make things easier. “All the laughs and great memories help manage the time away from home. It was an inviting environment. In fact, I am still friends with many former students who are also in university. We still help each other out.”
The IB Diploma Program final exams test was especially challenging. To sit for a 2 hour or 3-hour exam is a considerable achievement. Danilo was able to take both the Physics and Biology exams.
Danilo’s favorite memories, like many former Forum Academy students, are of moments spent together with classmates. Especially on Fridays, he says, when students and teachers would play games, and have movie nights. “I enjoyed reading to expand my vocabulary and sharing that moment with others just like a family. My experience at the academy was very interesting because I was able to enrich my knowledge by interacting with my fellow students, and charismatic professors that would guide us and give us the support to keep moving forward and overcome challenges we face.”
What attracted Danilo’s attention the most at school were numbers. “Physics and Mathematics were my favorite subjects. I admit I later started liking the other subjects, but at first, the numbers had all my attention.” This interest is what drove him to choose a career in Electromechanical Engineering.
Like many students in rural areas, Danilo also faced challenges once the pandemic forced students to stay home and learn at a distance. “My interest was always in the in-person classes, but sometimes there are things we can’t control, and all of humanity was affected by this situation. I also had to adapt to this new system. This was difficult especially because I didn’t always have cell phone coverage and signal to be able to connect to my classes.”
Since graduating from Forum Academy, Danilo visited while the campus was open before it closed in March. “I have always enjoyed helping out, giving back to the place where I learned so much is a pleasure. I hope the Foundation can continue helping young people in the future. It would be interesting to see how we could create platforms where we could share information that will motivate students to continue learning. I would be really happy to help young people have a better future.
Forum Foundation is committed to supporting exceptional and inspiring people like Danilo, achieve their goals, and help make change sustainable in their communities.