Honduras: What do students at the Dr. Stephen Youngberg Technical Vocational School think?

You are finally getting constant blog updates from our Honduras project again!
And I – I, that is Christine, the former Tourism Officer at La Bastilla Technical Agricultural High School in Nicaragua – already had the pleasure of welcoming visitors to Honduras in my first month here: our sister organisation Fundación Paraguaya paid a visit to the Dr. Stephen Youngberg Technical Vocational School. During their visit Mariane, Luis and me also had the chance to sit down with a group of students from two areas to talk about what they think about the school.


The group was composed by 4 students from cabinetmaking who are just about to finish their 3year education, and 5 students from car mechanics (the most sought after area), who are about to finish their 2 year education.

Now, for even the most secure Central American teenager the speed of talking and questions of a Paraguayan (or anybody from South America) will be intimidating, hence we had to wait for a few very shy answers for a while. But, eventually they did come. I want to share this exchange with you and thank both Luis and Mariane from Fundación Paraguaya for letting me listen in.


Luis started off wanting to know why the students had chosen ETVSY, closely followed by if there was anything different about this school and if so, what was different to conventional secondary schools.


All of the students are from Peña Blanca and surroundings, and according to their first answers the closeness to the school is part of the reason they started studying here.



But it is also the fact, that they get a hands-on, vocational education here that will teach them a profession and “help them in the future”. Apart from this vocational education they are glad that “the school teaches us values”.
Luis’s question following on to this answer “But how do you teach values?” left them thinking for a while, but it is rules like being punctual, treating fellow students, teachers and clients with respect,
(one of the students in car mechanics: “We get taught how to treat our clients with respect, to not lie to them and to hand in the best work possible.”), and to “not get into fights”.


According to the students, a big difference to secondary schools and high schools is, that at ETVSY “there are never fights….They teach us to solve our problems with words.”        



They also generally feel, that in comparison with their friends who do not attend a vocational school, they think more about their future and prove this by partly helping in the production at school in the afternoon.
*(Information on the Honduran education system: Even secondary school does not have classes in the afternoon, which means that students at ETSVY choose work over play).

Whe finally asked them the big question “Where do you see yourselves in 5 years”...
6 out of 9 students want to have started their own businesses,
2 want to have a good position as mechanic and cabinetmaker respectively (one of them reasons: “I don’t want an own business, it costs too much.”) and 1 of them wants to be on his way to designing motors for sports cars (“I don’t know why, but I am totally taken by the world of the motors. I don’t just want to be a mechanic, I would love to design motors for Ferrari. But it is difficult and I don’t speak English.”).
4 of the group would like to continue studying, finishing their High School degree, and then go on to do an undergraduate at university.                                                                                                            


What unites them all is that these adolescents want to help others, be it their family through a secure income, or the community through creating jobs with their own businesses.

We will follow their steps after their graduation in December and are sure that, in 5 years time, they will have made solid progress towards their aims.

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