By Alma Cervantes, Scholarship coordinator
For more than 10 years, the Biblioteca Publica has offered scholarships to high school and university students. The Biblioteca Scholarship Program assists students of limited resources via scholarship awards and activities that broaden their educational aspirations.
Among different awards, the Biblioteca Scholarship Plus is a high honors scholarship that recognizes outstanding community service projects. This program is dedicated to encouraging our students’ sense of purpose, leadership, and public speaking skills. It was first awarded in 2019 to selected university students who, in spite of financial hardship, demonstrated exceptional grades and admirable resilience.
Many of Mexico’s university degree programs require students to complete community service. This service sometimes includes writing a culminating report. Like many university students worldwide, once their work is submitted and they have graduated, the outcomes of their research, writing, and service rarely reach a community outside of the university. The library’s Scholarship Committee recognized this as an opportunity to invite future Scholarship Plus recipients to share their knowledge, develop their presentation skills, and be recognized for their dedication to improving the well-being of under-developed communities.
On February 22, 2020, the library’s Scholarship Committee hosted a pilot presentation. It was attended by a small group of philomaths. Scholarship recipient Diana Laura Rodriguez Lopez of La Universidad Centro Panamericano de Estudios Superiores UNAM shared a summary of her thesis, titled “Primera Infancia: Guarderías del DIF del Municipio” (Early Childhood: Nurseries of DIF del Municipio). The group was soon engaged as she carefully began to share her experience.
She described the course training that prepared her and her colleagues with the skill and professional understanding needed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of two nurseries. She recounted challenges that forced them to modify their initial goals. Over time their recommendations to improve the learning environment resulted in the creation and adoption of accessible tools. The content of her presentation inspired thoughtful dialogue.
Not only can Scholarship Plus recipients develop their public speaking skills and arouse learning in others, but they are also often inspired to continue supporting a healthy community.
In August 2020, the Biblioteca’s scholars were invited to compete for a Scholarship Plus. A committee of volunteers reviewed the Community Service Project proposals; from six applicants, two were awarded the Scholarship Plus award—20,000 pesos—and two second runner-ups received Scholarship Extra—10,000 pesos. All four recipients were coached by a mentor several months before the presentation dates.
In March and April 2021, the library staff organized the presentation events. While following COVID-19 safety regulations, each scholar successfully delivered his or her presentation on the stage of the library’s Santa Ana Theater. We are proud to share the video presentations of our four 2020 awarded students with you. Note: the presentations are primarily in Spanish. We are currently working on adding English subtitles.
When we support and value our students’ ideas and work, we also prepare them with the confidence and skills to pursue future career opportunities. Our Scholarship Program is funded by your generous donations. On behalf of the Biblioteca, I would like to thank the generous donors who support our scholarship program. It is thanks to your commitment that talented students from San Miguel can achieve their dreams.
To support the continued growth and achievements of our students, visit our webpage (www.labibliotecapublica.org) and click DONATE.
To watch our students’ presentation, browse in YouTube the following videos:
“El Arte Sacro en San Miguel de Allende”
“Mejorar la Salud Mental y Apoyo a Niños con Problemas de Aprendizaje”
“Sesiones de Apoyo y Regularización a Niños de Nivel Básico Escolar”
“Tratamiento Fisioterapéutico y Psicológico para la Parálisis Cerebral Infantil”