It was hard to stay away after seven years of faithful attendance. So Lupita was back the first week of school to give everyone a hug and again thank her teachers and friends for giving her an opportunity that no one else would. And yes, she wanted everyone to know that she was now enrolled in an afternoon middle school and was off to a good start after her sixth grade graduation in June.
Lupita came to the Monte Horeb Grade School in Tijuana when she was six years old and was placed in Kindergarten. Other schools would not accept her. Her speech was so distortioned from a high palate that no one could understand her. She was considered a 'burro' at the other schools and even by her own grandmother, who was raising her. Years before, Lupita's mother crossed the border to the United States and her father left town for his home in southern Mexico. They were no longer a part of her life.
Fourth grade was the turning point for Lupita. The special attention she was given over the years at Monte Horeb finally reaped some real, tangible rewards. She learned to read and enjoyed doing so, her math skills improved markedly, and her speech had progressed to the point where most could understand her.
Not only did Lupita's confidence and self-worth improve over the years through the special education program directed by Patti and the acceptance she felt by students and teachers alike, but her own grandmother came to a most important understanding. Lupita was not the 'burro' that her former teachers talked about and that she herself repeated and had come to believe. She began to help with homework and volunteered daily at the school. The developing teamwork between grandmother, student, and teachers made a world of difference, one that we trust now will serve them well as Lupita moves on to other schools.
Sixth grade graduation was certainly a special event for Lupita and her grandmother. Lupita, as well as the other girls who were graduating, came to the event dressed as never before, in long ornate gowns, heels, jewelry, even a tiara. There was a dinner, a program, they danced the waltz and all, including, Lupita, received their diploma. It won't be easy for Lupita in the years ahead and at times it is somewhat disconcerting to think about what might lie ahead for her. Yet we are convinced that God put the Monte Horeb Church and School in Tijuana and called us to ministry here, precisely for Lupita, her grandmother and so many others like them. For that we give God the glory and we can rest in His faithfulness.
What a joy it has been to work with Lupita these past seven years. She has always been a bubbly, joyful girl with a great attitude. You can hear from Lupita herself in the video available on the IM website. Under 'People' go to 'Long' and click on the first video under 'Pictures and Video' (dated July 18, 2011). We'll make a friendly wager that Lupita's great attitude and love for life will make your day.