Every year more students apply for our sponsorship program than we're able to accept. The challenge is to select from these students those who not only have the financial need but who are also likely to succeed within our program. Just as our sponsorship program is holistic in trying to build the student up academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually, our selection process is designed to take a look at the whole child, not just one set of test scores. The factors that enable a student to be successful in high school include academic preparation, motivation and the support of parents.
In the spring we invite Standard Six, (or Eighth Grade) students to apply for our program. They provide basic information about their family and write a short essay explaining why they want to go to high school and how they will use that opportunity to serve their family and community. Each applicant is interviewed by several members of our PathLight staff in Belize. We enjoy the opportunity to get to know the students on a personal level. Next, the students take the Primary School Exam (PSE), a two day comprehensive exam that is used to determine if a student is eligible for high school. We consider PSE scores, along with report cards as an objective way to evaluate if the student is academically prepared to enter high school. In addition, we look for recommendations from classroom teachers and principals at the primary schools. The teachers and principals are able to give us information about the student's attitude, motivation, classroom performance and often some insight into the financial situation of their families.
We prayerfully select the students that we want to consider and then visit their homes to speak to their parents. We have found that if the student does not have the strong support of their family, especially their parents, they are far less likely to be successful for the long run of high school. The home visit also gives us an opportunity to clarify to the student and their parents that we are a Christian organization and that while we don't require a student be a Christian to be accepted, we will be teaching them about spiritual matters. We want them to be open at least to the idea of hearing about Christianity. After the home visit, we make our final selections, students and parents sign a letter of acceptance and we are off and running and looking look forward to four great years of high school!
What is it like to be part of a volunteer service team?
What can I do to help without traveling to Belize?
How do I know that my participation is making a difference?
How are students selected for sponsorship?
How does PathLight protect the identities of students and sponsors?
I'm a sponsor, can I visit the student that I support?
How do sponsors and students communicate?
Does PathLight have a statement of faith?
How can you be a Christian organization and yet work with public schools?
Why focus on education?
How was PathLight started?
Why is PathLight focusing on Belize?
How can I support a student in high school?
Is a gift tax deductible?