From Maggie Washa: I am excited to announce the newest new student joining our scholarship program. His name is Gibran and he will be starting at the Universidad del Sur in Cancun this August/Sept. It has been his dream for many years to go to University and after exploring several ideas, has decided to get a degree in Hospitality Administration, a degree offered to those wishing to be in the tourist industry. Gibran is already fluent in English, having studied it at every opportunity since he was very young. He graduated from high school a year ago, and has not wasted any time since then. Over the winter he took a course through the Red Cross and is now an EMT (emergency medical technician). He worked full time at Garrafón as a waiter and at Dolphin Discovery. It is there that he enjoyed improving his English skills, but also took the opportunity to pick up any vocabulary in other languages as well. He says he loves practicing Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese! He lives with his parents, sister and nephew in a small home in the Guadalupana. His mother and sister run a small day care center on Isla, and his father is a cook at Garrafón Park. Gibran is now 19 years old. He has worked and saved for the last year to pay for his registration and admission, but will need help with his monthly tuition payments and daily commute to Cancun. Here is a quote from his letter asking for the scholarship: "English has given me the opportunity to interact with people of many nationalities, it is very interesting to know other cultures. The degree that I am interested in now is Hospitality Management, and one of my biggest dreams is to hold my university degree in my hands. I have always cared about the people of my community and the island. When I was young, I volunteered for a foundation called PEACE and I was also part of the Green Patrol (a youth group dedicated to environmental preservation). Both groups were concerned about the welfare of Isla Mujeres. With the knowledge that the degree will give me I will be able to do projects so that the culture and traditions of the island are not lost. You have come into my life to help make my dreams a reality. Maybe some time ago I would not have believed this opportunity would come, but in my mind I have always had this phrase "Never let small minds make you believe that your dreams are too big for you." I will not disappoint you, I thank God for putting you into my life, I also thank you for helping me to make my dreams come true." We are looking for a good handful of sponsors to make up this new "Team Gibran" (pronounced heeBRAHN). I can guarantee that you will love this young man, for his enthusiasm, intelligence and very strong motivation to succeed. He will continue to live on Isla Mujeres and communicates very well in English, so it will be easy to get to know him and his very supportive family.