In the Dominican Republic a public high school is called a “Liceo” or “Escuela Secundaria.” It is a four-year school similar to high schools in the United States.
Thirty years ago, there was no Liceo in Los Toros. The nearest one was about twenty miles away and too far for most to travel! Los Toros had only a primary school. To continue education beyond primary school, they started with high school classes in the afternoon in the primary school. Consequently, the primary grades had classes only in the morning.
The people in Los Toros formed a committee to petition the government to build a high school. When they were told they could not build a school until the village provided the land to build it on, the committee came up with a strategy. In 2002, they asked the people of St. Joseph’s in Grafton to help them purchase some farm land where the school could be built.
Once again, the generous people of St. Joseph’s came through, and, with the deed for the land in hand, they convinced the government to build them a real high school. In 2012 the school was completed and classes began. It is a fine place indeed, with a basketball court, a library and a beautiful courtyard. This is a great step forward, but they are only part way there: they are still petitioning the government to provide the school with running water and the electricity needed for computer classes.
Of greater significance is the fact that now, both high school and primary school students enjoy a full day of classes! One might say they now receive double the education that they got in the past!