News & Events
New Los Toros Graduate Junior Antonio Agramonte Mendez graduates from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.
After the graduation ceremony, Junior posed with a niece, Jennifer Mendez, to show his hard-earned diploma.
Junior began his education in 2015 and now is a graduate in Education with an emphasis in Chemistry and Biology. Junior has always been active in his community and the church. He has managed the computer lab in the library for many years. He also is one of the leaders in the youth ministry program. Since graduation, he is now serving as a member on the Los Toros scholarship committee in the Dominican Republic.
In Junior’s words: “Thank you all for your support, for your friendship, and for helping me to fulfill my goal of having a profession. A thousand thanks for all you do for the young people of this community who desire to succeed and achieve their goals. I will always be here serving the community and its young people.”
For more information about the Los Toros Beca (scholarship) program, contact Judy Wendtlandt at email@example.com.
The People of Los Toros: Olga
Everyone in the community calls her Olga and a lot of people know her by that name. Her full name is Bernardina de Leon de Mejia. Olga has three roles in the community of Los Toros. First of all, she is married to Antonio Mejia and they are parents to a daughter and two sons. Second, Olga is a math teacher in the primary school. And third, she is the president of the Los Toros Foundation – Dominican Republic.
Olga fills all three roles in her life with great energy, enthusiasm, care and compassion. She loves her family and has a strong partnership with her husband in raising their sons and daughter. Her husband is a hardworking farmer who now is growing lemon trees that have started to produce an excellent crop of beautiful lemons. Sometimes they seem to be in a contest about which of them is more dedicated to their work and their family! She is a good teacher and the students respect her. She is well qualified as a teacher having earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.
As president of the Los Toros Foundation – Dominican Republic, (which for legal purposes is a separate entity from the Los Toros Foundation USA) Olga leads a team that works together to not only serve the community, but to unite it as a force for the growth and development of the village of Los Toros. Because of the economic situation in the village, her role as leader can at times be a challenging one as she tries to define priorities and meet countless needs of individuals and families. Olga and her team work together and handle it well with understanding and compassion along with a lot of patience and perseverance.
The Los Toros Foundation has been successful in a number of areas, especially in education and in health. This success flows from a strong effort at understanding needs, defining priorities and collaborating with others to meet the challenges those needs present to the community. The work of the foundation is a community effort and Olga serves as a strong force in uniting people together to work harmoniously at serving their community. The village of Los Toros is a strong community and that is a result of good leaders and collaborators, such as Olga.
The History of Los Toros “High School”
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!