By Don Krim
Few of us will ever forget 2020! With a cautious sigh of relief the year is ending a bit more hopeful than it has been since March. Jóvenes Adelante had a busy summer and fall with some notable achievements. JA had 270 applicants at the beginning of the year and despite COVID-19-induced changes of procedure, JA selected 29 students for the incoming 2020 class. The large inflow of applicants was in part a result of our Mini Congress 1.0, hosted at the Instituto Sanmiguelense. Currently 105 students are supported by JA financially, organizationally, and with an individual mentor. In addition, JA initiated a pilot project for four high school seniors. These students, assuming they meet expectations, will be automatically enrolled in our university program after they graduate. The pilot program will be extended with four or five new high school students for 2021.
The frustration and angst of online schooling in ad hoc programs has been palpable for Mexican students, as it has everywhere. Unfinished business for seniors, delayed internships, and postponed graduations have defined 2020. Despite this, our students have mostly carried on and begun to both adjust and to see the benefits of their own adaptability and perseverance. Extra financial support for some was a given.
Internally, JA reevaluates its processes annually. This year the dramatic changes in the school environment stimulated further review. As of now, there is little reason to expect a return to normal education models next semester. Highlights of our revised selection process and new student profile are summarized below:
- For the first time, JA will accept students attending online universities–particularly (but not exclusively) students enrolling in the virtual platform of the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), the most prestigious University in Latin America.
- Our explicit goal is to select students who are either the first in their family to go to university, or are in the first generation (have a sibling who has attended, but not a parent). This is a significant measure of changing socio/economic mobility.
- Students must demonstrate financial need, a high GPA, and be from San Miguel de Allende.
- Applicants must be 29 years of age or younger upon application and have at least three years of schooling to go. As a rule, two thirds of JA students come directly out of high school.
Do you know a student who might be eligible and has the personal qualities to succeed?
The application screener is already live on JA’s new website as well as a guide for how to choose a university and career path.
Thanks to the strong commitment of our sponsors, mentors, donors and other supporters, surviving 2020 with our head above water was possible! As always, JA’s goal is to support 25-30 new students. These students need sponsors! Information about our 2021 premium sponsorship, renewal and anniversary specials, payment options, and tax benefits can be found on our website. www.jovenesadelante.org