Veronica Munoz is in her second year at the University of Panama in Penonome Cocle, where she studies mathematics. Her life as a student at Carmen Conte Lombardo was not always easy, often frustrating, but always gratifying. She remembers thinking to herself, “This is how we get to know and understand the world we live in. It is how we get the answers to our questions and learn to value our own effort and sacrifice as we work to obtain our goals.”
One of the proverbial silver linings of the COVID-19 Pandemic’s gray cloud has been the return of Forum Academy Alumni and John Keffer University Scholarship Recipients. Eager to reconnect with others and actively participate in our learning support programs, people like Veronica are an integral part of helping save a generation of students, by helping them stay motivated so that they may reach their full potential.
Veronica, a proud graduate of the Forum Academy Class of 2019, has been providing learning assistance as a mentor and tutor. Like many other curious, exceptional students before her, she was recruited to apply for admission to the Forum Academy when Profesora Elvia visited her school. “This was the best experience of my life. It was the opportunity to learn and make sense of the world. It was a 360-degree change in my way of thinking. More than anything it gave me the opportunity to acquire an understanding of concepts and ways of learning that I never thought would be possible. My experience was totally gratifying. Knowing I was being prepared as a student, I realize now how developing critical thinking helped me mature. I now confidently say critical thinking is indispensable for lifelong learning.” She cheerfully shares that the experience was nothing short of life-changing. “In a harsh world, it opened the doors for me and many others.”
Making the most of this opportunity, Veronica was able to concentrate on her university career. Finding her passion, setting priorities, and reaching her goals. Confident in her interest and abilities in mathematics, she is a highly motivated student who dreams of one day becoming a mathematics teacher. This reveals another welcome side effect of these opportunities. Many of our returning mentors are in fact gaining a lot of hands-on practical experience for their future careers as educators.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the education system from a different perspective than as a student. Being able to interact with students, and support them through their ups and downs, is a great experience for me. I have learned a great deal and will be able to apply a lot of what I have learned to my career as a maths teacher. Especially with regard to my teaching methods and how I can ensure students stay motivated and engaged with what they are learning.”
Veronica also participated in our summer workshop led by Profesora Belkis Ruiz, where she learned about lesson planning, goal and objective settings, as well as several methodologies and teaching techniques. “One of the most valuable things I understood is the importance of connecting with students and checking in to monitor their abilities. We need to be open-minded and open to change. Willing to give the extra mile while respecting students and ourselves. I am confident that I will apply what I learned, especially to keep my lessons dynamic by using activities like singing and coloring to keep them engaged and interested.”
Forum Foundation is inspired by former students like Veronica who return to lend a helping hand. They are spectacular role models and great examples to follow. Each returning beneficiary, every helping hand, is a contribution to building a brighter future.