Del Mar Scholarship Winners Dream Bigger

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

Sometimes life lets us dream big. This is the case for six children who received scholarships to study at Nosara’s private, bilingual school, Del Mar Academy (DMA).

These children have parents that believe so much in the importance of education that they are willing to make sacrifices, such as driving long distances or arriving 30 minutes late to their jobs on a daily basis, making time in their busy schedules in order for their child to attend Del Mar Academy regularly and punctually.

When The Voice met with a group of the scholarship winners and their parents, they agreed that they are all very happy that their kids are attending Del Mar. The described their children as more responsible and disciplined, as well as bilingual, as a result of the methods used at the school.

DMA opened in Nosara in 2007, offering students a hands-on approach to learning through the Montessori method. Since then, it has grown from 40 to more than 100 students, with programs for toddlers of 18 months up to 7th grade.

A scholarship program began at the same time when the school started, according to Heidi Dawn, one of the founders and current president of the Del Mar Scholarship Foundation, but it was in 2009 that they applied to be a foundation and in 2011 that the foundation was finalized. In total, they have provided full scholarships to seven students, one of whom graduated from 6th grade and later moved away.

Six scholarship students are currently attending, and the foundation plans to award two to four more scholarships this year.

The Scholarship Foundation, maintained by volunteers, strives to provide a memorable education to children who do not always have the ability to dream big due to their socio-economic status. This is the case for Alanis Torres Aviles, a 7th grader who received a full scholarship to begin at Del Mar when she was in third grade. Now Alanis has aspirations of going to a university in Europe and she speaks with a broad smile about using creativity within group projects at Del Mar.

Alanis’ mother, Arelis, spoke about her daughter’s struggle early on when she was awarded the scholarship in third grade. At that time, she spoke only Spanish now she is fluent in English and very happy at Del Mar. Arelis pointed out that, rather than requiring rote memorization, the school creates an interactive learning atmosphere that presents subjects in a way that is easier to comprehend.

About 20 nationalities are represented at the school, so the transition from a Costa Rican public school can present challenges for students awarded scholarships. At first, the language barrier presents some difficulties for parents who don´t speak English because they can’t help their children with homework. In addition, cultural conflicts do occur from time to time, such as a student playing too roughly or a child being made fun of due to skin color. However, the faculty follow a conflict resolution ideology to help the students address such issues, and the school tries to host events to unite the parents and promote appreciation of the diversity. For the 2014-15 scholastic year, the Scholarship Foundation has already received more than 25 applications. Applicants will be interviewed in May and notified by May 31.

Scholarship recipients are hand-picked from a large pool of candidates after a lengthy process that includes an application and interview. Families are rated based on factors like their ability to get the child to school, how much they value education and volunteerism in the community, according to Dawn. Parents must be Costa Rican citizens who live and/or work in the Nosara area and who would not otherwise have the means to pay for their child’s tuition. 

For information about applications, call 2682-1210 or email [email protected].

Submitted by college interns from Mount Holyoke College who participated in the December/January Becas Foundation internship: Jessie Orozco, Sanaa Sayani, Maritza Torres, Brenda Grande and Karla Villalta.


Del Mar Academy Scholarship Foundation Raises More Than $15K

By Linda TarlowCitizen Journalist, Nosara


The Del Mar Academy Scholarship Foundation held a dinner and dance fundraiser on March 22nd that raised more than $15,000 for academic scholarships.

“This is the first time in over a year that the Scholarship Foundation has been able to offer new opportunities for scholarship students,” said Foundation President Heidi Dawn, who organized the event.

The band Diseño Costeña performed during the “Tropical Evening” fundraiser and several local restaurants donated food. More than 100 people attended, with tickets priced at $50 per person. A live auction added to the proceeds, and all of these funds were matched up to $4000 by the Guanacaste Community Fund.

The Scholarship Foundation is currently seeking a volunteer secretary as well as bilingual volunteers. For more information about the Scholarship Foundation, look on Facebook for Fundacion para las Becas, Del Mar Academy.