The day began with the mountains that surround Tegucigalpa being shrouded by clouds. We made our way along the winding road that leaves the hectic pace of the city and slowly fades into a slower way of life. About an hour north of Tegucigalpa is the quite village of Talanga, which is home to El Hogar’s Agricultural School (Escuela Agricola de Amor y Esperanza).
I was excited to be returning to this beautiful part of the country – with its rolling hills, tilapia ponds, and farm animals. I grew up in a rural community, so I feel right at home here.
I could tell from the moment we stepped onto the campus that the graduates were excited. This was their day and they had worked hard to get here. All of the final preparations were made before the ceremony began – photos were taken, ties were straightened, and the boys seemed to give each other final words of encouragement.
The graduation began with a Eucharist service led by the Rev. Matthew Engleby, Executive Director of El Hogar in Honduras. Following that, the graduates quickly put on their robes and caps before walking down the aisle in front of family and friends.
It was easy to see that the graduates were dealing with mixed emotions during this very special day. This was the day when they would leave the care of El Hogar to use the skills that they had worked so hard to acquire. This was the day when they started the next chapter in their lives. They were excited, but you could also see that they were nervous. There’s a lot of uncertainty and fear that comes with graduating – I know that I speak for each person reading this blog (including myself) when I say this. But this is the time when these boys will shine!
Following the ceremony, there was a delicious lunch that let everyone take some time to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the achievements of these wonderful young men. They have so much to be proud of and have bright futures ahead of them.
This was my first graduation ceremony as an El Hogar employee and I am honored to have been a part of it. These boys represent the future of Honduras. They will be a part of breaking the cycle of poverty that has gripped many families in this country for so long. They have hopes and futures that were only dreams when they started at El Hogar. That’s the best graduation gift that anyone could ever receive.