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Children of Lake Atitlan Gallery
Here are some photos and videos of recent activities at the New Dawning school.
The New Dawning school is located on the shores of Lake Atitlan.  The village is home to 5000 people, almost all Mayans whose primary language is the dialect Tzutujil.
Many people get around by riding in the back of pickups.  You can go from San Juan to the neighboring village for 2 quetzals, or about 25 cents.
Typical colonial style housing inclues shared walls and tin roofs.  Many houses have gardens or work patios away from the street.
The streets of San Juan were made of cobblestone until about 10 years ago.  Now they are made of block or brick, which makes for smoother driving or walking.
Many streets in town are not meant for vehicles.  In order to really get to know a village here, you should walk the alleyways.
Lake Atitlan, home to 12 villages and 2 Mayan dialects.  Each village on the lake has its own traditions, its own dress, and its own unique twists of language.
San Juan La Laguna is a village of 5000 on the shore of Lake Atitlan, in the mountains of southwest Guatemala.
Students prepare for a mime presentation in a Chrstian Education class.
Primary students enjoy playground equipment donated by a sponsor family.
This tree tell about the importance of Guatemalans caring for their country.
Young boys take pride in helping build shelving for a storage room.
The New Dawning school band is considered the best in the town, with as many as 80 members.  They annually participate in parades and competitions.
Parents and friends enjoy the activities of anniversary week, highlighted by an annual theatrical presentation.
Sixth grade graduates enjoy their graduation outing to Antigua Guatemala.
Kindergarteners take part in the first graduation of their young lives, and they do it in style.
Sixth grade boys also had a great day on their graduation outing to Antigua Guatemala.  For most of them, this was their first trip to Antigua.
Students participate in classroom activities.
Daily life at the New Dawning Christian School
A Mayan shaman, traditional healers, and curers are still an important part of the life of people in the village.
This is the typical outfit for men in San Juan La Laguna.  The girl is wearing a typical outfit from a neighboring village.
These boys are wearing the typical outfit of San Juan La Laguna.  Chicken is optional.
These boys are dressed in the traditional outfit of San Juan.  The pants are pinstriped, and have embroidery of onions on the bottom.  Onions are a typical crop of San Juan.
There are many figures in Mayan lore, and these boys are wearing one of the figures.
These girls are wearing costumes typical of special ceremonies, rather than a typical daily outfit.
Traditional clothing and ceremonial outfits are important to the Mayan culture in San Juan La Laguna and all communities of the lake.
Power and muscle were the main strengths of the "Mosquitos" division girls...unfortunately, they didn't "muscle in" too many points.
The "Mosquito" division boys parlayed their suffocating defense into three routes on their way to the championsip.
Basico fans enjoyed running from one game to another to support their soccer and basketball teams, who all reached the championsip and who all but one finished as champs.
SCHOOL OLYMPICS are sporting events that are held each year, and all of the school in town participate in events like soccer, basketball, swimming, running, chess and volleyball.  It is a great week of fun for all.  
The judges await the beginning of the contest.  The school rotates its election:  One year the candidates are from the primary level, and the next year they are from the middle school level.  2016 was the year of the primary students.
The candidate for pre-school.
The candidate for kindergarten
The candidate for first grade.
The candidate for second grade.
The candidate for third grade.
The candidate for fourth grade.
The candidate for fifth grade.
The candidate for sixth grade.
The pre-school class awaits its presentation of its candidate.
Live animals certainly draw attention.  And when they aren't available, a red horse will do the trick.
Each class is asked to present their candidate.  For the little ones, this is a new experience.
Kindergarteners present their candidate.
The first grade class gives a royal escort to their candidate.
For each of the classes, the presentation of their candidate is a point of pride.
The third graders all came with their traditional mayan outfits, a show of formality and importance.
The presentation of the third grade included scenes of daily mayan life.
Fifth graders watch the competition intently.
The sixth grade class awaits its turn to participate.
Sixth grade chose modern fantasy costumes to present their candidate.
Each candidate made a formal speech and expressed their ideas to all of the students.
                      2016 SCHOOL BAND
The school band warms up before a parade performance.
This year's band includes over 60 students, mostly in the basico level.  For the first time, the school has also begun a band for children as young as second grade.
The band director calls the band to attention
Concentration and teamwork are essential for a good band.
Work was started on the new administrative offices for the school in June of 2017.  Thanks to the work of three volunteer groups from West Virginia, Minnesota and Iowa, plus former students of the school, the walls are going up!
The foundation was begun for the administrative offices in June.  The first group, from West Virginia, along with former students from the school, spent the week tearing out the old foundation and digging holes for the new foundation.  Hard work!
Then a group from Minnesota continued by completing the digging and beginning to prepare the footers, which is the main support for the building.
The group from Iowa worked to prepare the rebar before the cement was poured for the footers.
All of the groups also spent time preparing rebar which will be used in the footers and in the columns for the construction.
Labor for the corona is intensive, and the workers must work together so that the work can be completed in one day.  Next phase:  Prep the frame for the floor and pour the cement!
Workers build the wooden frames for the Corona, which is the frame for the base of the second floor.
The funds being used up to this point were donated by work groups from West Virginia, Minnesota and Iowa, all of whom also brought their muscle this summer.
The CORONA, or CROWN is a cement frame in which cement will be poured, making the ceiling for the first floor and the floor for the second floor.
The roof on the second story marks the end of the main construction.  Now...the details.
Now...the floor for the first floor, doors and windows.
Finally...tile...and move-in.  It could take a while, as we await donations for the remainder of the project.