Jessa Coulter, SHH’s Vice President shares her reflections on what it means to reach this milestone
This was my tenth inauguration. The tenth time I have heard the “tres.. dos… uno…”, the tenth time I’ve held my breath during the small struggle of cutting through the blue and white striped ribbon, and the tenth time I’ve watched hands go flying in the air as the ribbon splits into two.
One of my favorite things about SHH inaugurations is that our whole crew– volunteers, trip leaders, masons, Don Marco, Shin, Amilcar, and our bus driver, Ever– go from inaugurating one school directly to breaking ground on the next. The early morning cake and Pepsi barely has a chance to settle in our stomachs and we are out there alongside a new community, pick-axes in hand, ready to start the next project. To me, it shows the tenacity of SHH. We celebrate each success and then get right back to work.
The inauguration of Escuela Dilcia Fernandez was different. There were no volunteers, so we didn’t have a new project to start. After the speeches were delivered, the ribbon was cut, the pictures were taken, there was a moment to pause.
We had the opportunity to sit down with the leaders of the community, the leaders of the school, and the mayor of La Lima. Over chicken nachos, we talked about education. About the future of Honduras. About gangs and violence and hope and opportunity. The president of the Parents’ Association, a father in a faded black polo, spoke. “Invertir en educación es invertir en el futuro,” he said. “To invest in education is to invest in the future.”
Dilcia Fernandez is the 50th school that SHH has built. In that pause on Monday, I got to reflect. To think back on the thousands of people who have made it possible for us to get to School #50.
The principals and teachers advocating for their students to have better learning conditions.
The mothers and fathers digging trenches, mixing cement, and passing buckets alongside SHH volunteers.
The mayors sending truckful after truckful of sand, dirt, and gravel.
The masons working tirelessly- pouring each foundation, laying each brick with care
The volunteers hustling like crazy to raise over one million dollars (!)
And the students showing up each day, eager to learn.
Education is a long-term investment. We know that. We know there are no quick fixes. And as I sat at my 10th inauguration, I felt overwhelmingly inspired knowing every single person involved with SHH over the past 12 years is committed to the long-term investment. Investing in education, investing in the future.