Sunday afternoons in Cofradía are usually spent planning, cleaning, and attempting to relax before the long school week ahead. This past Sunday, however, San Jeronimo Bilingual School had something a little different planned. On December 6th, the SJBS community came together at the school to play bingo and support one of our 9th grade students, who was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2015. The bingo fundraiser is one of many ways in which the SJBS family has come together to support the student and help her family with the expensive medical care.
It was a rainy and wet Sunday, and when it rains in Honduras, most things shut down. But this time, almost 100 people braved the weather to play bingo– and it was well worth it! Each board cost only 50 lempira ($2.50), there were 50 rounds, with a prize for every single winner. You could feel the anticipation in the room as SJBS teacher and emcee extraordinaire Mr. Kevin rapidly shouted the numbers. You could tell how much fun everyone had when they screamed “BINGO!” and it would echo through the auditorium and everyone would cheer for each other. The wonderful prizes only added to the excitement – my roommate won a (very fancy) set of glass plates, various students took home snack baskets and purses, and Mr. Kevin won a stove! Even Bumblebee the Transformer showed up to show his support – and while the teachers knew it was the director’s husband in an impressively realistic costume, the excitement of the students makes me think we had them fooled.
But while the entire event was fun, my favorite part was seeing how many families came together to show their support. Mr. Kevin spoke about how SJBS is its own family, and this was evident in the number of people who showed up to help set up, make food, sell tickets, donate money, or simply participate in the event.
Every day at school, I see people at SJBS taking care of one another. Whether it’s a 9th grader buying their 2nd grade cousin a baleada, a 4th grader helping another 4th grader study for their exam, or a teacher covering another teacher’s class when they’re sick, I see SJBS staff and students reflect the idea of being a family every day.
Seeing everyone come together was the perfect example of this, and Sunday was a reminder of why I stayed in Cofradía for another year – because the support and compassion of our community makes SJBS a happy place to be.

Author profile
BECA Alumni

Emily Nicaise (SJBS 2nd Grade) is excited to join SJBS for her second year with BECA. She will be teaching the same students as last year and is very happy to spend every day with her 25 best friends.

Emily was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She attended Boston University and graduated in 2013 with degrees in Sociology and Spanish. Throughout high school and college, Emily frequented visiting Honduras with the organizations Students Helping Honduras and El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza. Since graduating, Emily worked for a nonprofit focused on helping youth of all ages with behavioral, emotional, and social issues in Boston.

Emily is passionate about empowering youth through education, social justice, and working with children. Last year, she loved spending time with her students' families outside of school, and traveling throughout Central America. She looks forward to developing even stronger relationships with her students, their families and the community around them in Cofradia.