Ever since she was a little girl, Gabriela Suárez has had the dream of becoming a doctor. Despite having been an extraordinary high school student, she had thought that this was only a dream. Her family has very limited resources; her mom works in a laundry, her father left the family fifteen years ago. Gabriela has been a model student; she graduated from the Working Boys Center in 2009 in the beautician program and received a grade of “outstanding” for school work and her technical work. Since leaving the Center, the quality of her academic work in high school has been at the highest level. Her grade point average for her tenth and eleventh grade studies was well above 19 on a scale of 20. (That is an A+ average in Ecuador.) Nevertheless, Gabriela and her mother Rosa considered it simply not possible to think about starting to study medicine. “We are poor people,” her mother said. But we, as members of David’s Fund, know Gabriela well, and we are going to help her take the first steps she needs to take to realize her ambition, and we will continue to back her as she advances.
In Ecuador, students begin their university careers as students in Medical School, unlike the United States where students enter Medical School only after completing undergraduate degrees. This year Gabriela is a senior in high school; so she will need to do well on the national university entrance exams, if she wants to get into the Medical School of the Universidad Central, the best and most reasonably priced program in Quito. Like most students who do not go to the best high schools in Quito, Gabriela should take a demanding test preparation class. So, that will be our first step. In January, we will help Gabriela enroll in a program called CENDES, which we have used very successfully with three of our other students. (Lorena. Jenny, and Richard) CENDES classes are two hours a day, five days a week, from January until the exam in May. If Gabriela does well enough to get into the medical program, we will give her the opportunity to continue studying math, chemistry, and physics at CENDES until September, so that she has a firm foundation in the basic sciences. The cost is $250 a month, with a $125 starting fee. This is well beyond the means of Gabriela’s family (who have a monthly income of $350).
The members of the Fund have worked extensively with Gabriela. She was Mike’s mathematics student in eighth grade, and they have worked together regularly, mainly on math, since then. She is an excellent student, who thinks and reasons clearly. She has a good capacity to recognize what she does not understand and to improve her grasp of more difficult matters. Gabriela also worked during the entire school year of 2008-2009 with Mike and Maggie as a student aide in a 6:45 am study hour for elementary school students. Gabriela came every day, ready and able to help struggling students. Her firm, encouraging, and optimistic manner made her one of the best helpers we have had in all our years at the Working Boys Center. So it is an honor and a pleasure to help her with her dream of becoming a doctor.