January 30, 2016

fin de año - premios / liceo donald mcintyre griffiths

First grade, done, finished, & dusted.  

Over the last year, Tormentina attended first grade at Donald McIntyre Griffiths K-12 school in Puerto Williams. Amazing & brave, this little girl was the only foreign student in the entire school. 

Just after we were shipwrecked, she attended kindergarten on the island for a month, but wasn't into it, so we pulled her out of school. When first grade started, she said she was interested in giving it another try. No pressure from us. We told her if she didn't like going, then she could quit any time. Our only hope was that she would pick up some Spanish, a gift she could keep for the rest of her life. 

She had a fantastic teacher (Jeanette Quiroz Mardones) and teacher's assistant (Soledad Mancilla Olivares). Tia Jeanette & Tia Soledad changed her life. Tormentina was self-motivated, excited to go to school and worked hard to learn.  She loved her friends, teachers, and every subject.

By the end of the year, she not only learned how to speak a second language, but also how to read & write, was correcting our Spanish, and was one of four students to receive an award (or "premio") for outstanding academic performance in her class.

Now that summer is here, she is teaching herself how to read & write in English.  It is incredible to be a parent and watch the mind of a child develop. Also emotional for me personally, to be reminded of my own childhoold growing up in the United States as a Cambodian refugee, learning English in school, and living with parents who were learning English as a second language.

"Tia Jeanette" & her top 1st grade students at the end of year academic awards ceremony.
Tormentina with her eyes on me.  Sala de Multi-Uso, Liceo Donald McIntyre Griffiths, Puerto Williams
Isla Navarino - CHILE / XII Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena (22 de diciembre de 2015)


  1. Congratulations Tormentina! And Somira & James as well.

  2. You have reason to be proud; you, Tormentina, and your parents!

  3. Also congratulations to the teachers. - To be a teacher, has much importance. – (Mostly I enjoyed to go to school (in Germany). After school I lost contact with my former teachers. But some years ago, being already over 50, I start to write them letters. One meanwhile I visited in my old hometown.)

  4. That's cool. What an amazing experience, and she took full advantage of it!