August 2023: Palapa Society News


Palapa Graduates!

Six years ago, the first students walked through the doors of the Palapa School. As 7th graders, they embarked on a quest that concluded this summer in historic fashion. They became the first students to spend their entire middle and high school days as Palapa School students.

A mix of excitement for their futures and melancholy to see them leave filled the air as parents, teachers, donors and community members witnessed their graduation. The graduation ceremony also included middle school students who now move on to high school. We are proud and recognize the deep commitment and effort from everyone to make these milestone moments a reality.

The Palapa School will always be your home! 

The Palapa Society’s 

3rd Annual Scholarship Drive

We are proud to announce the launch of our 3rd Annual Scholarship Drive, "Empowering the Future." Many students from low-income families do not have the financial means to pursue their dreams of higher education. This is the pivotal role played by our scholarship program. The drive will run from August 15 - September 15, 2023.

Your generous contribution has the potential to create a transformative effect on a student's future. Scholarships are granted to Palapa School students, as well as local middle, high school, and university students based on academic merit and financial need.

These are the students whose educational aspirations depend on the kindness of donors like yourself.

Join forces to remove financial barriers and empower the next generation of leaders. Let's collaborate to make education accessible for all and strengthen the future.

Thank you for your support!

To Give Today, Please Click Here

The Palapa School:

Student Blog

By Maria

My name is Maria C. S. and I am currently in my fourth semester. I am very interested in health-related topics, although the study of medicine may not be my ultimate goal. I do, however, enjoy learning about all the topics related to the human body, because I like helping people and being prepared in an emergency. At school, I’ve been involved in clubs related to health. The first time was with teacher Surisaday, a physiotherapist. We learned basics including the circulatory system, the skeletal system, CPR, how to apply bandages, and other emergency techniques. 

Though we are no longer under Surisaday's guidance, my classmate Andres (paramedic assistant) and I now run the club. I have never done anything like this before, and I have very high expectations for myself and the program. I not only  learn more but also disseminate this important knowledge to other children. My goal for the future is to obtain at least a license that qualifies me to provide first aid. My career goal is to become a psychologist, but you never know when someone will need us to save their life. 

Biblioteca Elena Poniatowska

By Paty Baum, Director 

Congratulations to two young women who read voraciously throughout the 2022-2023 school year. Gardenia, age 15 recently graduated from the Pescadero Telesecundaria and participated in the Young Adult satellite library pilot program at her school. The small collection provided fifty Young Adult books in Spanish for students to read at school or take home. The project was coordinated through the school’s social worker, Josy Salgado Estrada and the Biblioteca Elena Poniatowska. Gardenia read over 25 books throughout the year and will be supported with more books over the summer through outreach efforts.

Young reader, Sofia, from the Palapa School, read over 30 books this school year and recently checked out 20 books to read over the summer. Her reading frenzy encouraged other young readers to become library members. The two friends who came to the library to help her carry her cache of summer books, became members on the spot. These successes may seem small and insignificant, but if one reader can inspire others, that is what libraries are all about.

We are working hard to give young people age-appropriate books and put books in the hands of anyone who wants to read. If you would like to donate young adult books to the library, please contact

Puente al Inglés para Niños

(Children's English Program)

by Jacki Gillespie, Director 

We would like to extend a huge congratulations to our Teaching Assistant, Fernanda. Fernanda started as a Puente student, and in the last two years has been a teacher assistant. She even stepped in to teach classes solo. She recently graduated from high school and is now headed off to college in La Paz this fall. We will miss her and wish her all the best!

In other news, we are working to update some of our curriculum for the upcoming school year and are enrolled in certification classes to better serve our students. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering this summer or for the upcoming school year, please contact me at  Finally, we are gratefully accepting donations of school supplies for the upcoming year. Please contact me for the latest Wishlist of needed items.

Contact Director Jacki Gillespie by clicking here.

Puente al Inglés para Adultos

(Adult English Program)

By Kate Lewis, Director

The Puente al Inglés Adultos (Bridge to English for Adults) program will finish this quarter in mid-July. At the end of each quarter, we like to hold an Intercambio, where Puente students can practice their language skills with native English speakers at a potluck party.

We will take a short break to work on improving our curriculum and preparing for our next term, which begins September 20th. Inscription dates will be announced via Facebook, flyers, and Speaker Car as the date approaches. If you have friends, workers, or acquaintances who would benefit from learning English, please consider sponsoring their registration fee, which is $500 MX pesos per quarter.

If you are interested in joining our team of volunteers or participating in the Intercambio, please contact Kate at Feliz Verano! 

Contact Director Kate Lewis by clicking here.

Support the Businesses that Support The Palapa Society

Continuing our recognition of local businesses that have gone the extra mile to support The Palapa Society, we would like to thank our long-time internet service provider, Baja Connect.

When The Palapa Learning Center was built in 2016, founder Lee George designed an internet service plan utilizing donated equipment.

Over the years, the team at Baja Connect continually services the now out-dated equipment and has added new components, free of charge when needed. This keeps our costs low. Most importantly, Lee prioritized service after hurricanes, allowing our educational programs to continue functioning as quickly as possible after the storms.

Whether you are interested in internet service for your home or business, we recommend Baja Connect with their advanced network infrastructure, centralized customer support and billing system, and helpful staff.

July Donors

Denise Bilotta

Denise & John Youngquist

Our Family of Monthly Donors



Eleanor Andrews

Suzanne & Rick Arnold

Heather Bauer and Jerry Back

Gail & Scott Bosch

Sally & David Brower

Marjolein Brugman

Paul & Pam Bumann

Vickie Butler

Ryan Casey

Dennis Chapman

Karen & Judd Cuenin

Patricia Deuster

Julie & Michael Dandurand

Elizabeth Farner

Kristen & Rick Friedman

Jane Gehring

Virginia Gollery

Charley & Karen Haley

Jane Hall

Margot & Dick Hampleman

Marc Hankin

Charles & Ruth Herren

Cindy & David Higgins

Courtney Higgins

Marimar Higgins

Anthony & Lee Irons

Rhoda Jacobs

Coach & Marilyn Jacques

Bonnie & AJ Johnston

Janna Kinkade

Brian & Lynn Kuske

Marshall Laird

Teresa Laird

Becky Lopresti & Mike Carney

Jay Masaschi

Connie & Andy Mical

Jill Mollenhauer & Robert Bland

Chris Miller & Diana Pandell

Sharon Morris

Dennis & Nancy Naigle

Cathy & William Nation

Sophia & Stephen Nicholas

Patricia O'Connell

Maria Olaisen & Mike Block

Deborah Parrish

Kristin Rust

Erin Sands

Jessica Spenser

Sydney & Greg Schweitzer

Tori Sepulveda & Oscar Rosales

Nancy Simpson

Angelica Velez Mendez

Stephen Carver & Stephanie Vetter

Kathy Warnert

Lisa Welsch

Robert Bruce Westbrook

Monthly Gifts Help Make a Big Impact!

Becoming a monthly donor helps stabilize our annual revenue needs.

How Far Can Your Gift Go?

  • $75 USD per month = 1/4-year scholarship*
  • $125 USD per month = 1/2-year scholarship*
  • $250 USD per month = 1-year scholarship*

Please consider becoming a part of our family of monthly donors today.

*Please note that tuitions for the high school and middle school have increased as of July 31, 2023.

Click Here to Give Today!
The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C. exists to make a positive difference in people’s lives through inspirational quality education and timely support through community service and programs.

It is the vision of The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C. to be a sustainable, accessible community focused organization in which quality educational programs empower choice filled lives and create positive transformational change.
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