Leonel Sacbajá and Mercedes Guantá shared a common vision for their children: to provide them with the wings to soar toward a brighter future. For them, education was the clear path to fulfilling this great dream.

 Couple holding hands

The Sacbajá family is made up of Dr. Leonel Sacbajá, the father, and Mrs. Mercedes Guantá, the mother of the five children who studied at Colegio Mesoamericano: Jebel Mercedes María, Ajbe Leonel Antonio, Noyari Alejandra María, and the twins Kaslem María José and Nimcaj Adriana María.

Family of eight

“In 1999 and 2000, we were looking for a school that would provide our children with comprehensive education. We have been fortunate to have been born in Tecpán, Chimaltenango, but we have realized that many people have never left the municipality. We wanted to open up the whole world to our children. So we found that Colegio Mesoamericano had a futuristic vision and also opened the door to our own ideas,” recalls Mr. Sacbajá.

By entrusting their children’s education to Meso, the Sacbajá family became a “pioneer family” in the words of Julio Salazar, founder of Colegio Mesoamericano.

Four adults laughing

The Sacbajá children put all their effort into ensuring that their parents’ efforts were not in vain. For them, maintaining the education of five children was “a miracle every day.” “If you ask us, we didn’t have an unlimited bank account. However, the secret has been to dream big. We come from very poor families, and little by little, we have changed history with hard work and education,” emphasizes Mr. Leonel.

Family eating pizza

Getting to school was a challenge in itself for the Sacbajá siblings. Every day, they had to travel for more than 40 minutes to reach Colegio Mesoamericano, a distance of approximately 33 km.

Therefore, every morning, Mrs. Mercedes would wake them up very early and prepare them for a long day, including packing their lunches. However, the subsequent successes that ensued compensated for the early mornings with tired eyes and constant yawns.

As they neared their high school years, the Sacbajá children became aware of an opportunity presented to them by Mesoamericano School: the chance to study in the United States.

Alejandra was the first one to leave. At first, she had a hard time deciding to take the risk, but when presented with all the possible opportunities that could arise from attending Snow College, she became encouraged. “I am a bit shy, so it was a bit difficult for me to be here at first. You don’t know anything, not even what’s going on, but there are many people willing to help you, and eventually, you don’t feel so alone. I have met people from other countries who are going through the same thing, and I have been able to connect with them. It has been a good experience,” expresses the student.

Snow College was a dream come true for the Sacbajá family. Alejandra, the eldest sibling, is now setting her sights on even greater achievements as she pursues a specialization in biomedicine at a university in Missouri. Alongside her, Yoselyn Hernandez, another Mesoamericano alumna, has also played a pioneering role in facilitating student transfers out of Utah, opening doors to opportunities for future students.

Two girls graduating

 Following in Alejandra’s footsteps, her twin sisters, Maria and Adriana, are currently enrolled at Snow College, working towards their Associate Degrees. Their ultimate goal is to pursue studies in business and medicine.

Three girls next to a Christmas tree

“The success of our children is also our success, and we are very proud of how far they have come. We invite parents to think big. Don’t be intimidated by economic issues because if you project it, you can achieve it. Dreams can come true, and only by taking the plunge can they be achieved,” conclude the Sacbajá family parents.

Family making a toast

Meso Foundation

About Meso Foundation

Meso Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to empowering the native people of Guatemala.

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