Meet our 2019-2020 Volunteer Team!
2019-2020 Volunteer Team
San Jeronimo Bilingual School
Max Smecz is 19 years old and is half Polish and half German. While he spent most of his life in a small village in Germany, he got to experience living and learning abroad in Canada at 8 years old. That year overseas inspired Max in getting to know even more cultures and places. With this interest in internationalism and multiculturalism, Max started working as a volunteer German tutor for refugee students in his own school and became head of the German UN Youth Association in 2019. As a future psychology student, Max is eager to learn new ways to approach problems. Together with BECA, Max hopes to continue working with Honduran local communities and learn as much as he can about their culture, their country, and them as people.
Karen is 19 years old and from Honduras. She was born in San Pedro Sula and graduated from high school there. Besides being a BECA teacher, Karen is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Industrial Chemistry from the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Karen loves music and singing. She studied piano at the Allegro Academy in San Pedro Sula. Since 2014, Karen has worked with children, especially at her church. She is a very active church member, participating in activities such as church camps, retreats, picnics, congresses, and helping with the logistics of the ministry. Karen is positive that learning and speaking English is a door to better opportunities for Honduran children. She truly believes in BECA's mission and program.
Jaira Figueroa was born in San Pedro Sula. She went to SJBS from 5th grade until 9th grade and then she graduated from Agape Christian Academy in June 2008. Jaira chose a career in education because she believes that teachers have the ability not only to change the world, but to improve it! Jaira wanted to be part of this noble profession with the hope that one day she will be remembered as a role model and inspiration for the children who will represent the future of the country.
Viviana is an 18-year-old Honduran citizen, born in the city of San Pedro Sula. She studied at San Jerónimo Bilingual School from kindergarten to ninth grade. Viviana then started her high school studies in Science and Humanities at Cofradia´s Bilingual School and graduated from the Marcos Efrain Aguirre Lara Multipurpose Institute. She is currently pursuing a teaching/education degree at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Viviana has learned a lot from BECA, since BECA was a very important part of her elementary school years. She is grateful and committed to putting all her effort and dedication in collaborating with BECA. According to Viviana, BECA did not only form a large part in her life, but in Honduras in general, as there have been many people who have benefitted from BECA. As Viviana states, "Organizations like BECA are what our country and our world need. It is so important to be able to learn about other cultures and places, as well as have access to a better education."
Some of the things Viviana enjoys doing in her free time include listening to music, reading, and playing with her siblings. As the oldest daughter her family, Viviana is very responsible, attentive to her family, and extremely dedicated to caring for and protecting her younger siblings. Viviana really enjoys the company of her loved ones. Viviana is very excited about her new experience with BECA. She welcomes sharing her culture with others and learning about theirs as well.
Karen was born in Arizona and graduated from Northern Arizona University in December 2018. She studied Speech Language Pathology and enjoys working with young adolescent children. She has a passion for education and enjoys being a teacher. She has a strong connection to Latin America with Mexican/Salvadorian parents. Karen has been surrounded by mountains all her life and grew up hiking and exploring. She loves to do a really tough hike with a beautiful mountain top. She is looking forward to do a full year at SJBS and seeing her beautiful students graduate.
Victor was born in San Pedro Sula but, has lived his entire life in Cofradia, Honduras. He went to San Jeronimo Bilingual School (SJBS) from 1st Grade up until 9th Grade when he graduated in 2013. Victor attended high school at Centro Tecnico Hondureño Aleman (CTHA) where he graduated with a diploma in Electronics in 2016. He is currently studying to be a Systems Engineer at Universidad de San Pedro Sula (USAP). Victor has always had a passion for math but has never had the chance to put his knowledge into practice. He always thought of giving back to BECA the same way that BECA helped him, so once he had the opportunity to do so, he didn't think twice! Victor is really excited to work with 3rd Grade this year at SJBS!
Kristoffer was born in Oslo, Norway and raised in the city of Bodø in northern Norway. He is an outgoing and curious person who is often pondering about how different phenomena came to be. His passion for cultures and societies made him go study Intercultural Communication at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society. After a few enriching travels abroad, he is now very excited to begin his journey in Honduras. Kristoffer has never been to Honduras before and he can’t wait to get acquainted with this beautiful country. He feels absolutely certain that being surrounded by students, teachers and a beautiful community for a year will be an invaluable experience, where he will learn a lot, not only about himself, but also about the fellow humans across the globe. During his time at BECA, Kristoffer hopes to make the best impact he can on his fellow peers and the community. In his free time, Kristoffer enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, listen to music and watching movies.
Matthew graduated from the University of Tampa with a B.S. in Public Health, Health Education and Wellness in May of 2019. He has always had a passion for working with kids through his jobs at summer camps, Mathnasium, and tutoring. He is very excited to be teaching with BECA next year and hopes to learn just as much, if not more, from the community/ country itself. He has traveled to Honduras several times before inspiring his passion for education, health, community empowerment and social justice. His first experience with BECA was Summer Camp 2018 which solidified his desire to return the following year for a whole academic year. Matt cannot wait to dive into the school year and not only teach academic lessons, but also those of compassion, integrity and respect.
Amigos de Jesus
Orlando Rodriguez is 22 years old and from Honduras. He was born in San Pedro Sula and graduated from high school there in 2015. Orlando is currently a graphic design student at USAP. He decided to join BECA because it was something that he always wanted to do. Orlando wanted to learn more about himself, what he is capable of, and what he can do to help his country. Orlando is passionate about the arts and nature, and he loves getting to know his country. A perfect day for Orlando is when he gets to help others and they can learn from what he does.
Olivia is originally from Needham, Massachusetts, a small town outside of Boston. This Spring, she graduated from Barnard College in New York City where she studied Anthropology and Biology. Throughout her life, Olivia has felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel and to experience new places, cultures, and languages. She is passionate about developing meaningful connections with others, exchanging knowledge and culture, and asking questions about how our world can work better for all people.
Olivia loves playing Ultimate Frisbee, listening to all kinds of music, and hiking. She is so excited and grateful to be a part of the BECA and Amigos de Jesus communities this year as a teacher at the Amigos de Jesus Bilingual School!
Sinead is half Kenyan and half Irish. She graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2014 with a Masters in civil engineering. While a student there, she did two volunteer trips to an orphanage in Moldova, helping to take care of boys with mental and physical disabilities. After graduating, she went to Japan where she taught English to high school students for 3.5 years. There she developed her passion for education and love for Japan.
Sinead loves to travel, meet new people and learn about new cultures. She is adventurous and likes to try new things. She enjoys skiing, hiking and yoga. She is excited about this new challenge and looking forward to forming relationships with her students and the local community.
Megan Devin was raised on a tobacco farm in a small town in Southside, Virginia. She recently graduated from Longwood University with a Bachelor of Arts in ESL education and a minor in Spanish. Ever since she was a small child, she has dreamed of becoming a teacher. Through traveling abroad and within the United States, she became passionate about ESL education, Spanish, and social justice. These passions, coupled with her experiences in her student teaching semester, led her to want to teach in Central America. One night in a coffee shop she stumbled across BECA’s website, fell in love with their mission, and promptly submitted her application. Megan truly believes that the key to changing the future is education and that every child is entitled to and deserving of a quality education that meets their needs and desires. Some of Megan’s favorite things include: hiking, reading, coffee, ice cream, and museums. She is so very excited for this next chapter of her life and cannot wait to begin working with BECA!
Mirian is a 23 years old Honduran citizen. She studied Business Leadership at a non-profit organization called The Leadership Center (TLC) in Honduras and through TLC, she found BECA. Mirian was a BECA volunteer in 2016 - 2017 and 2017-2018 and now she has returned to BECA for a 3rd year because she loves the mission. Mirian tells people from her hometown of Azacualpa, Santa Barbara that BECA is the type of system we need to implement in every single school in Honduras so that bilingual education is accessible to every child! Mirian is very passionate about high-quality education because of the lack of access to education and even more limited access to bilingual education in Honduras. According to Mirian, "BECA is playing a very significant role in our country. My hope is that other schools see BECA as a model and implement its mission and vision. I think that having access to high-quality education in Honduras is a powerful tool. We have to change so many things in this country starting with our education and access to bilingual education. BECA is awesome!"
Santa Monica Bilingual School
Moisés was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and raised his entire life in Cofradía, Cortés. As a child, Moisés attended San Jerónimo Bilingual School (SJBS) from kindergarten to ninth grade. He did his high school studies in San Pedro Sula at Albert Einstein International School where he studied Science and Humanities. Currently, Moisés is studying at night at the Central American University of Technology where he studies Mechatronics. He learned a lot during his time as a BECA student and this has helped him to have new personal and professional opportunities and to learn English. Moisés is incredibly grateful that he can give back what he was given now as a teacher to the students of SMBS!during his free time, Moisés loves to play soccer, travel and meet new people.
Mr. Ricardo was born and raised in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Through service experiences within his country and abroad he found his passion for community development. A year after he graduated high school, he was awarded the Walton International Scholarship to attended John Brown University in the beautiful state of Arkansas. In 2018 he graduated with a Communication degree. After graduating from JBU, he returned to his country to volunteer with BECA in Cofradia, Cortes. He spent his first year teaching English and Science to the wonderful 3rd and 4th graders at San Jeronimo Bilingual School. He is back for his second run with BECA, and he is excited to teach Math, English, and Science at Santa Monica Bilingual School. During his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, as well as a great movie with some sweet and salty popcorn.
Sol is 19 years old and currently teaching at Santa Monica Bilingual School. A graduate of San Jeronimo Bilingual School, Sol completed her high studies at Centro Cultural Sampedrano in San Pedro Sula. While Sol studied accounting and finances in high school, she found her love for teaching and is now studying education during the evening hours at the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan.
During her free time, Sol loves sports, as she is a pretty active person. She also enjoys reading and painting. Through teaching, Sol knows that she can help her students change their lives for the better. She loves to spend time with children and says that there is nothing better than the unconditional love from a child.
Bruna was born in the US, but moved to Brazil when she was 1 year old. She graduated with a degree in Social Science - Sociology, Anthropology and Political Science, at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. After finishing college she moved to Dublin, Ireland, to learn English, and to travel around Europe. After 3 years in Ireland working in really different areas, as a Salesperson, a Manager, a Content Reviewer for Google, and an NGO campaigner at Oxfam for the refugee campaigns, she decided to completely change her life. Bruna started to work with something that would fulfill her. She found BECA, and is really excited to start this new adventure. While she was in Ireland she travelled a lot. In total she visited more than 20 countries, and discovering new cultures is one of her biggest passions. She also loves to cook recipes from all over the world, especially if she is cooking for her loved ones. Bruna also enjoys meditation, Latin culture, Brazilian funk and samba. Learning new languages is also something that appeals to her, because it's a way to get to know other people better. She now speaks 3 languages, and her goal is to learn even more. She believe that education is the best way to change people’s life, and make a difference in the world. That’s why she feels she is in the right place with BECA.
Katie McClave is a born and bred Midwesterner. A Kansas girl at heart, she attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she graduated in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish and a minor in Political Science. Since graduating, she has served as a long term volunteer in various capacities, first with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Harlem as Tenant Organizer, and second as an elementary ESL and Art teacher with the Olancho Aid Foundation in Juticalpa, Olancho, Honduras. Each experience brought community, growth, and lots of adventure. Katie is a lover of languages and culture and is excited to continue her journey in Honduras, this time in Cofradia, as the Program Administrator at SMBS. She is looking forward to seeing more of the beautiful country she’s grown to love, and getting to know her new community. Katie cherishes time spent with others and is looking forward to building relationships with students, parents, and fellow volunteers this year. She also loves dancing, McDonald’s French fries, dinosaurs, reading, and traveling wherever life takes her.
In May 2018 Erin graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a BA in International Studies concentrating on Latin America. She has always loved to travel and made her first trip out of the country when she was 13 years old with her family to Honduras. Since then, she has been to many different countries and quickly fell in love with learning about new cultures and languages. Once she discovered BECA, she became captivated by its mission and decided that volunteering with such a wonderful organization is exactly what she needed to do. That being said, she is incredibly excited to start this new journey teaching at Santa Monica Bilingual School and creating meaningful relationships with her students and the other volunteers through cultural exchange. In her spare time, Erin loves to listen to music and dance as well as practice yoga when she can.
Nely was born in San Pedro Sula and raised in Cofradía, Honduras. She is 21 years old. Nely went to San Jeronimo Bilingual School (SJBS), and graduated from 9th grade there in 2013. Nely then attended from high school at Centro Cultural Sampedrano (CCS) in San Pedro Sula where she graduated in 2015. Currently, Nely is studying Art Education at the Francisco Morazán National Pedagogical University during the evening hours. This is Nely's 2nd year as a volunteer and she is extremely excited to be a part of the BECA team once more.
Susan was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, but has lived in Cofradia for 18 years. Susan studied at San Jeronimo Bilingual School from Kindergarten to 9th Grade. She then graduated from Cofradia's Bilingual School (CBS) for her high school studies. Currently, Susan is a university student at the Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan (the National Pedagogical University), taking her classes at night. This is Susan's 2nd year as a volunteer and she is incredibly happy to be a part of this year's teaching team.