Education has been a strong point of the mission throughout its years of operation. Under the direction of Father Hazelton, a combination junior-senior high school was built several years ago in the town of Xejuyup, a small community three miles north of Santo Tomas. La Asuncion or the Institute, as the school is called, enrolls approximately 400-500 students, with many of the students receiving some kind of financial aid or scholarship.

Guatemalan school system

In the Guatemalan school system, the two levels of the school are called basico and magisterio, each having three levels. A person who completes the six levels is certified to be a teacher. Some graduates also acquire skills which would allow them to serve as a secretary. The school year extends from January through October.

Student Sponsorship: A Message from Father Jim Hazelton

The project of sponsorship for students in the parish of Santo Tomas is for the school year 2010, which begins in January and goes to October.

The majority of students are from small villages in the parish of Santa Maria, where I have worked for many years. There are no secondary schools (junior or senior high schools) in their area, so the students must board and room with families in towns where there are schools.

I am trying to keep tuition costs reasonable and am able to subsidize the school needs such as teachers' wages and equipment from other sources such as Hazy Day and monthly contributions. We will never turn anyone away for financial reasons.

For more information, please contact the Pastoral Office at 406-442-5820 or 1-800-584-8914 (in Montana).