Salacuim Adventist Church is located in a remote village in the mountainous region near Coban, Alta Verapaz, in Central Guatemala. The school doubled its enrollment after a computer lab was set up on campus at the end of February, weeks after the start of the new school year. It is the first computer lab to be available to students among the schools the Salacuim Village. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

March 31, 2021 | Coban, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division

Salacium Seventh-day Adventist School recently doubled its enrollment, thanks to a new computer lab on campus. The primary school is the first in the small village of Salacium, located in a mountainous, coffee-growing region in Central Guatemala, to have computers for its students.

The new lab has 20 desktop and laptop computers that were purchased with special funds collected by the north mission and education department of the church in Guatemala.

“There are a lot of needs here and most students had never touched a computer, didn’t even know how to turn it on, so there was great excitement among students, teachers, parents, and the community,” said Boris Max, principal of the school.

Twenty new desktop and laptop computers were brought in by church leaders during a special ceremony at school on Feb. 18, 2021.[Photo: Guatemala Union]

Max said word spread quickly throughout the community, resulting in higher enrollment at the school.

“We went from 53 students last year to 108, and from five to six teachers, and we are in need of another one [teacher],” said Max. According to Max, who also teaches 5th and 6th grades, enrollment has never surpassed 90 students in the 42 years since the school was established.

The new computers were presented during a special on-campus ceremony held on February 18 with church leaders in attendance. Church leaders also brought in food baskets, books and fabric to assist in making children’s school uniforms.

A group of young students display their new books during a special program held to thank the church leadership in Guatemala amid parents and friends in the community, on Feb. 18, 2021. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

“The Guatemala Union was very happy to donate 10 computers, along with the 10 the mission donated, to help the school grow and continue to make a difference in the lives of students, parents and the community,” said Yanet Cima, education director for the church in Guatemala. Only 45 percent of its students are Seventh-day Adventists, so it is a great opportunity to make an impact with the message of Jesus’ love in the village,” said Cima.

Three small Seventh-day Adventist churches in Salacuim collected enough funds to support 10 needy students in the community, making it possible for them to attend the school. The church has also been providing food boxes and supplies to help those affected by the hurricanes that hit the region last year, said Max.

Max said the pandemic has been a challenge for Salacium Seventh-day Adventist School. Teachers have been visiting students in their homes to make sure they stay current with their lessons.

A mother of a student at the school is gifted uniform fabric by Pastor Guenther García (right), president of the church in Guatemala during the ceremony. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

“It’s been a challenge, but a good challenge,” added Max. “There’s more opportunity now to reach more homes with the love of God.”  Max, who has been a teacher for seven years, including the start of his second year at Salacuim, said that although in-person classes have resumed, classrooms can accommodate only eight students per day, so it’s an adjustment that teachers are navigating and managing as best as possible.

Max dreams of seeing the school expanded with at least one more classroom so that each grade can have its own room and teacher. “We want to see more students and families accept the love of Jesus and go on to make a positive impact wherever they go,” he said.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Salacuim has nearly 400 members in three congregations.

Students watch the special online program on March 10, 2021, during the church’s day of prayer across Adventist schools throughout the Inter-American Division. [Photo: Guatemala Union]

To learn more about the church in Guatemala, click HERE

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