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From Fourth Grade to High School: Maxwell Rises to the Challenge

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human existence. - e.e. cummings

In October of 2013, our Ghana director, Isaac, assessed two siblings in Ankaase for entrance into the Rising Village Student Sponsorship program. These were our first two students, and we were eager to begin the program so we could get students back in school. Maxwell and Philomena's parents died when they were both young, and they were living with their grandmother who was struggling to provide for them. It was hard to get Maxwell to smile in the photos. Most of the time he looked unsure about why all these photos were being taken of him, and he may have wondered why he was suddenly getting so much attention from several local teachers and a hospital worker.

Over the past five years, Maxwell and Philomena have had many challenges, including the death of their grandmother and a change of guardianship. Maxwell has had moments of struggles that almost kept him from staying in school, but our staff in Ghana stuck with him and spent the extra time mentoring, counseling, tutoring and encouraging him to carry on, even when he felt frustrated and alone. The truth is, he was never alone. Victor, Charles, Martha and Isaac committed to seeing him through all the difficult days and making sure he completed junior high and entered high school.

Maxwell took his high school entrance exam in June, and was accepted into an excellent senior high school in Kumasi. He will board there, so it feels a little like he is leaving the nest. Isaac purchased all the things he will need to become a boarder: mattress, trunk, and the supplies for classes.

On September 20th, after weeks of preparation, Isaac took Maxwell to Kumasi, where he will enter as a freshman. It's been a long road, and although he will still have challenges to face, we know that this step has given him new confidence.

Keep rising, Maxwell!

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