April 11, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
The Baylor University School of Education hosted a mission trip over spring break to San Jose, Costa Rica, taking a group of 19 students – including a Baylor pre-business major who grew up in the community he returned to serve – and faculty members to work in an elementary school and high school in the rural community of Santa Elena.
Members of the Costa Rica education trip had the opportunity to teach classes that helped Costa Ricans practice their English and participate in a community philanthropic event to help the schools and the Santa Elena community with their education and English skills.
“It was an amazing experience with the teachers, community members and students at the school,” said Trena L. Wilkerson, Ph.D., mission trip staff leader and graduate program director in the Baylor School of Education. “We learned so much and had a chance to engage in cultural activity so that we all shared our backgrounds. Dr. Randy Wood and I began this partnership 11 years ago. It has been a wonderful experience where we have developed lasting friendships. One of the best things has been watching the children grow up over the 11 years and see where they are now. When we go back each year and see them—again it is like family.”
October 30, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact
Costa Rica freshman Bryan Lizano (second from left) is greeted at the Waco airport by Baylor faculty (l-r) Dr. Randy Wood, Dr. Trena Wilkerson and Dr. Debra Burleson.
Ten years ago, Bryan Lizano was a fifth-grade boy in Costa Rica, carefully watching a group of Baylor School of Education students completing mission work at Santa Elena School. He noticed how different these Baylor students were. It wasn’t just their accents and the slang they used. It was all the knowledge they shared about a university they loved. Lizano, a Nicaraguan refugee, liked the image of Baylor they showed by their service projects — painting the school’s walls, teaching, and developing relationships with the students.
Bryan (back row, third from right) with the Baylor volunteers at Santa Elena School in March 2017.
As the idea of Baylor became more vivid each year the students came back, Lizano realized he wanted to become a Baylor student himself. Through support from Baylor students and professors, a dream became reality for Lizano, a freshman interested in studying computer sciences and the first graduate of his technical high school to attend a university in the U.S., with a full tuition scholarship to Baylor.
“Because we’ve know Bryan so long from the trips, he was always an active part of our activities; when he got here, it felt like he had already been a part of the Baylor family for years,” said Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor in the School of Education. “Our Costa Rica mission students helped him to understand what Baylor is and what we stand for. They saw what a tremendous young man he is.” Continue Reading →