In Huacas, Costa Rica, the diocese of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles is faithfully dedicated to improving the livelihood of its community through the power of higher-quality Catholic education and Missionary Centers. The local school, El Colegio Vittorino Girardi, is passionate about providing all families with both the spiritual and academic tools for long-term success. The Missionary Centers serve as spiritual lifelines to celebrate Sacraments and provide catechesis programs.
The community’s devotion to the Lord is inspiring and undeniable. Through high-quality schooling for the children, catechesis programs for the adults, and a central home for worship, the diocese in Huacas, Costa Rica, embodies our mission to alleviate suffering, illuminate the mind, and ignite the Spirit.
El Colegio Vittorino Girardi
“We hope to not be seen as a ‘private school’ – but to be seen as a Universal Catholic Education Center, with open arms to all.” – Vittorino Girardi High School
High-quality education is academically essential for students to build stable foundations and achieve their intellectual ambitions. Through Catholic education, students are gifted with both the spiritual and academic tools for long-term prosperity. Unfortunately, because of unaffordable costs, many families struggle for the opportunity to receive these transformative gifts.
El Colegio Vittorino Girardi (also known as the Catholic Education Center or CEC) is a local Catholic High School in the Huacas district of Costa Rica that focuses on academic excellence, personal development, and is rooted in Christian values. Although there are a few Catholic private schools spread throughout the region, the majority of families cannot afford the costly tuition.
Fortunately, Vittorino Girardi School trusts in its students’ potential and believes that economic impediments should not limit a family to receive a quality Catholic education. Out of genuine love and service to the people, Vittorino Girardi serves as a non-profit school with open arms, offering both partial and full scholarships.
The Vittorino Girardi School strives to not only provide a strong, Catholic education – but also pursues an integral mission to lead its students, family members, and staff to encounter Jesus as the son of the father, a brother, a friend, a teacher, and a merciful shepherd.
Led by dedicated teachers, students get to experience a variety of programs that explore technical careers, music, culture, sports, community outreach, arts, language, and more. By bringing together all elements of a holistic Catholic curriculum, Vittorino Girardi helps students find full self-awareness to pursue their individual passions and better serve as disciples of Christ.
See More Pictures of Vittorino Girardi School Below
As COVID-19 continues to affect the world, Vittorino Girardi has set up a distribution station in the school gym for local families to receive food and other needed supplies.
The Vittorino Girardi School (CEC) – Past Progress and Future Growth
In 2014, El Colegio Vittorino Girardi had a total of 65 students and later had their first graduating class in 2017. In 2020, there are 180 students enrolled, and the Catholic Education Center anticipates to serve a total of 200 students in 2021. Gratefully, the generous hearts of donors and the community’s faithfulness has led the school to flourish! In the beginning, the gymnasium consisted of a few pillars and a roof. Now, it beautifully serves as a space for ceremonies, retreats, and school activities.
Moving forward, the school hopes to expand many of their facilities to accommodate the growing number of students with open arms.
Scroll and Click through the photos below to see the years of progress:
Hearing from the Students and Staff of the CEC
Roberto Martínez Bonilla – Director of the CEC
“We are in a community on the coast of Santa Cruz, a humble, beautiful community, this institution and this project is different, it is a project in which I have learned that we should not see the student only by his grades, by his results but that there is a whole person behind each of the children who are with us in the classrooms. There is always something behind them that allows us to better understand and comprehend. I always treasure the fact that we have this job because I really care about them. This is a project where money is not a priority. I remember that I was always told, enroll the first ones who come, regardless of economic status, regardless of social status, and regardless of academic background. I am a great believer that being a teacher only for the model students is very simple, the challenge is in the children who have greater difficulties to learn, difficulties in their families and their homes, those that have a more complex social context and it is there where your job is reflected.”
Alondra Villalobos Mena – 11th grade student at the CEC
“I’m doing very well. The classmates are excellent people, the teachers are very supportive. They help us to move forward in various areas, in music, oratory and in all areas you can shine. The truth is that I have done very well because integrity is very important: respect for teachers, for colleagues, avoiding discrimination against others for any fault they may have done. That is very good because we get along very well. I really like music and oratory. I have learned that nobody can stop what I believe and I know that I am a person who can stand up in any area because I now have all the skills to do so. I’ve learned to focus on one thing, give my best, and not settle for a minimum grade – but to always surpass myself. This is one of the few schools where they teach the importance of values but is also very good academically.”
Valeria Salustri Soto – 11th grade student of the CEC
“A lot of memories come to mind. I’ve been here for four years, since 8th grade.You always have a good time on trips, in school, you always have fun, being in and out of school. I felt well prepared for the exams in all subjects. At sports, they have always supported me. When I go to other countries, some people ask me how I am doing with the school. I tell them I am doing well because my teachers help me through the internet! I am always up to date when I arrive to take my exams, but they have always supported me in my competitions when I have to leave the country. The truth is that they do everything possible to help. When I came here I was lazy, I didn’t want to do anything. But now, the school and the sports complement each other to help me improve as a person overall. Here, they teach you to want to do homework and to work with your classmates, so we can all be like a family – and that’s what everyone ends up being.”
M Sc Walner Gutiérrez Jaén – English teacher at CEC
“What I liked most was to see the evolution of many boys and girls in their personal development, logically including the academic. The ideology we have is academic excellence, and we are not only talking about grades of 90 or 100 – but also about going beyond the ordinary, from the classrooms. We always demand a little more in the academic and personal areas, trying also to bring forth values from our subject. In my case, English, values, tolerance, respect, and responsibility. It has given me great satisfaction to see their parents happy with their children’s grades and to see their evolution in all aspects of their lives.”
María Laura Herrera Martínez – 10th grade student at the CEC
“I’ve been in this school since 8th grade and I can say it’s beautiful because you learn values. You learn to make friends and to have a friendship with the teachers like you don’t have in other schools because here you joke with them, you have fun with them. But the moment you are inside the classroom, they are different, they have to be strict. Outside the classroom, you can sit down and talk with them. I like the study method they have. Here they ask you for more because they know you are capable of getting good grades and not being mediocre. That’s what I like best, plus the recreational activities they have. For example, they teach you to paint, they give you the space to paint, and they take you on trips. Those are my favorite things. One of my teachers has invited me to participate in the English Festival and the Art Festival because he knows that I can do it very well. Colegio Vittorino is the best, this was one of my mom’s first choices. After you enter and meet the teachers and classmates, you are fascinated, you love the school because it is good in every way.”
With open arms, El Colegio Vittorino Girardi has paved the path towards obtaining a higher-quality and holistic Catholic education. Powered by the desire to serve the community, the school is affectionately known, caring, and dedicated to preparing its students for their long-term successes.
As more opportunities become available for more incoming students, Vittorino Girardi school intends on expanding its facilities by adding new classrooms, laboratories, a perimeter fence, roofed hallways, a guard house, and a rainwater drainage system.
Your generosity will help provide scholarships and expand the school facilities, so more families have access to Vittorino Girardi’s excelling education.
Constructing Missionary Centers
Spreading the Sacraments through Missionary Centers
” Sacraments are ‘powers that come forth’ from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are ‘the masterworks of God’ in the new and everlasting covenant.” (CCC 1116)
In Huacas, Costa Rica, families initially lacked a central site to celebrate the divine sacraments. For example, in 2011, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony was only celebrated one time throughout the entire year.
With the help of generous hearts, the faithful community has built Missionary Centers to provide retreats, formation catechesis, and a central church to celebrate Sacraments. The Missionary Centers also include the Vittorino Girardi School and housing for nuns who visit nearby coastal communities to provide bible courses and training activities.
Since the construction, the Missionary Centers have provenly increased the amount of people in formation and the number of people who attend weekly mass, strengthening the community’s faithfulness.
Gratefully, the Missionary Centers have served as a spiritual lifeline to powerfully transform the lives of Christ’s faithful.
Moving forward, the Huacas community hopes to perpetually sustain the Missionary Centers, so future generations can learn about the faith and experience the Sacraments. Common upkeep-costs like electricity, clean water, and structural maintenance are necessary to preserve a safe environment.