Junior High
Home Up

For students in Sierra Tarahumara, graduating from junior high has the social equivalent of graduating from high school elsewhere. Remote pueblos and ranchitos have only primary schools where students frequently receive substandard education from teachers who are frequently absent. Thus, not only are the students leaving their small communities for the first time in their lives, they also struggle to make up for a poor elementary education while fighting loneliness and poverty. Many students arrive from warmer areas without jackets or other warm clothing, frequently with only the most basic of school supplies and without funds for school inscriptions. These kids urgently need help to fulfill their dreams of a basic education. Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring one of these students, costs range from $250 to $300 per year, depending on where the student is studying.

Epitacia Muņoz Torres (Sponsored)

Epitacia, 14, is in her third year. Like her cousin Julia (below) she is from Pie de Cuesta. The school at Urique is much closer to where she lives but there she had a cousin who committed suicide after being abused by a male student. Thus, she goes to school in San Rafael, much farther from her home. She stays in the Indigenous boarding facility whose director approached us for help. Epitacia hopes to eventually attend college but has trouble maintaining her drive as she had no money to come home during school breaks nor could her parents visit. Her father volunteers helping with Tarahumara programs, her mother cooks at the school but they have little income. Sponsored by Linda Ford through sales of her book, "A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region" available from her at http://www.coppercanyonwildflowers.com

Julia Mancinas Portillo (Sponsored)

Julia, 18,  is in her third year in Cerocahui, she lives in Pie de la Cuesta, 6 hours below Urique. Three years ago Rota-Scholars made an exception and helped her complete primary education at the Cerocahui boarding school for Tarahumara Girls. Julia comes from a nonfunctional family. Her seven siblings were given to other families in different places, she has met her biological father only once. Her determination to improve herself is amazing considering her background. She is sponsored by project Director Doug Rhodes and his wife Ana Maria with whom she lives while continuing her studies


Lucas and Genoveva Conchencho Murillo (Sponsored)

Lucas, 14, is in his second year at the Creel Indigenous boarding school, his sister Genoveva, 17, is in her third year. The two siblings are from Moribo, an inclined Mesa that can be seen from Cerro Gallegos across canyon and three hours walk upstream from Urique. Her family survives by agriculture and by odd jobs her father sometimes finds in construction. Neither had been farther from the Sierra than Creel, we took Genoveva to Cuauhtemoc for a skin allergy and later took Lucas for a haircut and to make things equal. Neither knew anything about traffic lights, had never been in a city, and were open-eyed the entire time but we found they both enjoyed hamburgers. Both students are sponsored by Linda Ford through sales of her book, "A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region" available from directly from her. at http://www.coppercanyonwildflowers.com .

Rosalba and Angelica Ayala Quintero Sponsored)

Rosalba (left), 14, is in her second year, Angelica (right) 16, is in her third year both are studying in Creel but living at home. They live in a small adobe shack with their Mother and two siblings. Originally from Huicorachi, the family was rescued from a dominant, abusive father who took the children's school money for drink, beat her mother frequently, and attempted to abuse Angelina and an older sister, Veronica, who graduated from High School last year and is studying to become a nurse. The family is struggling but content now that they are no longer stressed by constant danger. The sisters are sponsored by Elizabeth who donated her winnings from the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon to help these girls and others see http://www.caballoblanco.com/ for more information.

Rosario Jacinto and Carlos Ivan Gomez (Sponsored)

Brothers Rosario (top photo) and Carlos are originally from Baragomachi; their family moved to Cerocahui to avoid violence and so the boys could attend school. Rosario, 13, is in the second year, his brother Carlos, 15, is in the third year. The brothers are very bright and always eager to help out and to walk long distances for any help they can obtain for their school needs. They are sponsored by Doņa Gabriela from Mexico City.

Diana Laura Perez Frias (Sponsored)

Diana, 14, is in her second year attending school in Creel and living in the Indigenous boarding facility. Her father deserted the family when she was young. Her mother farms and bakes bread to help keep her three children in school. She is from the remote village of Coraraivo in the Municipio of Guazapares. We visited her humble home in October and were most impressed with her mother's concern and sincerity. Diana's sister Lupe was in the scholarship program for three years but had to take a break from high school this year because of some problems with her paperwork. She is sponsored by Linda Ford through sales of her book, "A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Mexico's Copper Canyon Region" available from her at http://www.coppercanyonwildflowers.com .


Antonia and Leticia Cienaga Mares (Sponsored)

Antonia, 15, shown in the top photo is in her second year at the San Rafael School, a shy young lady, she has a 70% grade average. Her sister, Leticia, 14 is in her first year, last year she did well with a 83% average in 6th grade but the averages usually slump with students go from a rural primary school to a junior high school in a larger town. The girls live in the Indigenous boarding facility. Neither father nor mother can find employment, which is scarce in their small ranchito of Bacamuchi, Municipio de Guazapares. Although frequently ill, her father earns some money by taking oranges on the back of burros to sell in larger towns. Both girls were recommended by the director of the boarding facility who has also loaned them backpacks and school supplies.  of Mexico City. Both sisters are sponsored by Doņa Gabriela of Mexico City.



Herminia Frias Orduņo (Sponsored)

Herminia, 16, is in her third year, She is from Rocoroyvo in the Municipio de Uruachi, roughly 5 hard driving hours on dirt roads from San Rafael where she goes to school. Her family survives by planting corn and beans for subsistence and tomatillos to sell. Her goal is to one day become a Catholic Sister in a new order being formed to serve the Sierra Tarahumara with people from the region. To this end she is living with Hermans Sanjuana who recommended her for assistance. They live in a room loaned to them along with several other girls. Herminia is shy and retiring, like most Tarahumara girls but has a spark and dignity about her. She is sponsored by Doņa Gabriela of Mexico City.

Jesus Roberto Ortega Carillo

Roberto, 14, is in his first year in Urique after graduating from elementry school in Chuihuahua. When he was 6 both his mother and grandmother were killed by insecticide poisoning contacted where they worked; his father spent months in a hospital but recovered. He remarried but has another family now. Roberto lives with an older sister, a single Mother with a terminal illness who also takes care of three brothers and earns money selling baskets. Roberto is the first person in his family to enter Junior high, he is a bright boy who often jokes around. He is being helped by non-designated donations but badly needs a "big brother" or other sponsor.

Cintia and Martha Salmeron Gutierrez (Sponsored)

Martha, 15, (right) is in her third year. Cintia (left) is in her first year. Virtually everything is identical for these two bright girls, both are studying in Creel but live in Huicorachi. Both were recommended by teachers and authorities  in their pueblo. As the two best students in their respective 6th grade classes, both went on the Rotary-sponsored coast trips. Recently, a Rotarian friend who had heard me talking of student problems asked what was wrong with their family? With pleasure I told him that there was nothing wrong. The girls come from an outstanding family that values education to the point where they had 3 children graduating from different schools last year. Her parents are leaders in their Tarahumara agricultural community. Both are quiet religious girls. These special sisters are sponsored by Mark and Roger co-owners of Travel "N" Tours Inc., Southaven, Missisippi, phone 662-349-2255, www.travel-n-tours.com .


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Rota-Scholars is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization

Federal tax identification number: 26-0426525.

There are no fees or administrative charges.
100% of all donations are used for scholarships.
For more information write us at:

88 Rowland Way,  Suite 165
Novato, CA. 94945-5042
telephone 415-898-3130
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