“At first there was no school here. The children had to go to Dulce Nombre de Gamalotal to study. They had to travel up to 10 kilometers, some traveling on foot through a lot of mud,” related Pascual Garcia Montiel.
Garcia Montiel is 87 years old and is the son of Leon Garcia Viales, one of the founders of Caimital of Nicoya and the one who donated the land where the school was built. There, he obtained a 5th grade education at that school and vividly remembers what those first years were like for the students.
“In winter time, the river (Rio Caimital) swelled and there was no way to cross it. Then my father saw all of these needs and met with neighbors and proposed donating a lot to build a school,” explained Garcia Montiel.
Pascual García Montiel.
Today, Cupertino Briceño Baltodano School, founded in 1915, is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of when it was founded.
The directors of the school and community residents decided to celebrate the anniversary with a week of activities that will take place from June 29 to July 3, 2015.
Daytime activities include Zumba classes, recreational bike rides and hikes. Live music will start at 7 p.m., along with food, and fireworks as a grand finale on July 3rd and the group Caldera will perform in the community hall.
The school is located across from the sports field in the Caimital neighborhood, along the road to Samara. Currently, it is a concrete structure that was built during the administration of former president Jose Joaquin Trejos Fernandez (1966-1970), but at first, it was made of wood with a dirt floor and a thatched roof.
The time of hardship for the students of Caimital is a thing of the past, but for Francisca Sanchez, director of Cupertino Briceño School, the new generations should know about the road traveled so that they know to value the footsteps of history.
“For this generation, the last 100 years is an accumulation of history and educational and cultural achievements reached, that everyone has achieved over the years to contribute to giving education the value it deserves,” Sanchez said.
Currently, the institution has 135 students from preschool to elementary school. The educational staff is made up of 14 teachers for basic and complementary subjects, such as fine arts, English, musical arts, computer science and special education.
The school has five classrooms, a cafeteria, an administrative office and a computer center. It is in the process of building a kindergarten classroom through a donation of 26 million colones ($49,000) from Banco de Costa Rica. They hope to begin construction in the next few months.
Another future project is to build a mini gym for recreation for the children since they do not have a sports field within the school grounds area.