On February 20th, 2013, we celebrated the first high school graduation of the Holy Family Education Center in Playa Prieta, Ecuador.
In October 2006, the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother arrived in Playa Prieta to take charge of the education of the students of the Holy Family Education Center. Little by little, over the years, they have been reforming the school installations, the academic standards and, above all, they have been educating the students in human and religious values of the Catholic faith.
In 2010, to continue the education of the students until they begin college, high school grades were added to the school.
With great joy we celebrated the first high school graduation of the Holy Family Education Center. We began in the morning with Mass, celebrated by Father Richard García, diocesan priest from Portoviejo. In his homily, he told the boys and girls that they shouldn't just go with the flow and be simply another person in the crowd, but rather that they should stand out and be courageous christians who give testimony of their faith.
Afterwards, we had the graduation ceremony in the hall. Sister Paqui Morales, director of the school, expressed her joy that these moments had arrived but also her worries for them, seeing that they now would go out into the world. She pointed out to them that they still have not reached the goal, because their goal is Heaven. She exhorted them to responsibility, to faithfulness to what they have received, and to holiness. In Ecuador there is a tradition to give a name to each graduating class. This class is called the Class of Mary, because there is no doubt that they are especially loved by the Most Holy Virgin, Our Mother. She brought them to this school and from the moment they arrived she has shown to them her maternal love and care, and we trust that she will continue doing so.
Following the graduation ceremony, one of the student's mothers, representing all the parents, gave a speech, and afterwards there was a speech from the flag bearer. Both showed much gratitude to God and to the Sisters. One of the most memorable moments was the reading of a letter written by Sister Virginia, who only a few days earlier returned to Spain, after several years of being in the Holy Family Education Center. She gave a warm message to each of the students that graduated. The graduation finished with a farewell of several professors that will be leaving this year.
That evening, we got together again to celebrate with refreshments in the hall with the students, parents, siblings, and teachers. While other youth celebrate this day on their own, drinking and doing other innapropriate things, these students decided to celebrate it together in the school, in a very healthy and friendly environment. The students had prepared a presentation of the history of the Holy Family Education Center. They were very thankful for all that they had received in these years. We give thanks to the Lord and to Our Lady and we entrust these 11 students to them.