September 1, 2022

September 2022: Palapa Society News


The 2nd Annual Scholarship Drive:

“Opening Doors to Education”

Every year families anxiously await news of whether or not their child will receive a Palapa Society scholarship.

This news can make an enormous impact on their child’s life. It means a step closer to realizing hopes and dreams of an education and a future of choices, whether in preparation for University or to enter the workforce. 

We invite you to donate to the 2nd Annual Scholarship Drive. We have set a goal of $100,000 USD.

The drive will run from September 1st through October 1, 2022. While this is a challenging goal, we are counting on you to help students and their families. 

Where do the donations go? Scholarships are awarded based on financial need. Our Palapa School students are able to attend school thanks to donors like you. Over 80% of Palapa School students receive a full or partial scholarship every year. Scholarships are also awarded to local public middle and high school students for registration fees and uniforms. In addition The Palapa Society provides financial aid to university students for tuition, books and licensing fees.

Brand New Giving Option for 2022! 

Consider adopting a class this year. Simply select a grade level you would like to follow through to graduation. Then either set up a monthly donation of $210.00 USD, or make a one-time donation of $2,500 USD.

Please note on the gift the grade level you wish to follow. In return you will receive a quarterly newsletter from students in your selected grade level. 

With a simple act, you can make a permanent difference in a child’s life.  

Click Here to Give Now

The Palapa School

Palapa School Director Update

By Laurel D’Angelo

The Palapa Society’s Board of Directors would like to announce a change in the Directorship of The Palapa School.

We thank Directora Anna Castillo for bringing her leadership skills, enthusiasm, and fresh approach to this role. Three Palapa School Teachers with advanced degrees in education will be fulfilling the role as Co-Directors during this exciting transition.


Many of you already know Citlalli Estefania Balbuena, Armando Vázquez, and Diego Carranza Savall, who have shown a deep dedication to making The Palapa School a success.

In addition to their teaching responsibilities, they will be sharing the role of Director, with a focus on Academics, Institutional oversight and relationships including SEP and ProteciĂłn Civil, and Administration. 


The Co-Directors developed a detailed management transition  plan in July, and have been faithfully executing this plan throughout August in preparation for the new school year. This included notifying the SecretarĂ­a de EducaciĂłn PĂşblica (the Federal Department of Education), who gave their full support of the shared-role approach, plus interviewing new teachers, refining the school manual, finalizing the master schedule, ordering new text books, preparing for Teacher, Parent, and Student orientation meetings and more.


The Palapa Society looks forward to partnering with our new Co-Directors in this new phase at The Palapa School, and sharing their progress with you in this newsletter.

Puente al Inglés (Niños)

by Jacki Gillespie

Wow, where does the time fly? So exciting to be getting ready for our return to classes. Even though our Bridge to English program doesn’t start until October, we have been working hard this summer to make this coming year great. Throughout July and August, the teachers and I took an online course to improve our teaching methods and are looking forward to using the tools we learned. We also spent time cleaning, organizing, and taking inventory of our supplies while we prepare for a return to full classrooms.

Registration opens on October 4th for returning students, and on October 5th for new students.

Are you looking for a way to give back to the community? We are looking for volunteer teachers, teachers' aids, and substitute teachers. Training, materials, and support are provided. If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact us at

Our students could also use new school supplies, such as lined notebooks, pencils, erasers, flashcards, books, and games. Every item that is given helps our students learn in the classroom and is greatly appreciated. 

Puente al Inglés (Adultos)

By Kate Lewis

The Bridge to English program for Adults is currently finishing up its summer session of Conversational classes.  Fall classes for all levels will begin September 15 and end December 15, 2022

Registration will be held on September 8, at The Palapa Learning Center from 6pm - 8pm.

Our program is currently seeking teachers and assistants to help us in the upcoming year. Anyone interested, please contact Director Kate Lewis at

Biblioteca Elena Poniatowska

by Paty Baum

We are excited to report that the shipment of young adult fiction books, made possible by two generous donors, has arrived.

They will soon be on the shelves in the new, Young Adult section of the Biblioteca Elena Poniatowska. There is also a complementary Y.A. Fiction section in the Children’s library primarily used by students in the Puente al InglĂ©s (Bridge to English) program. 


The students at The Palapa School are encouraged to check out books in both English and Spanish as part of the school’s excellent bilingual literacy program. We plan to connect with the CECYT public high school in the upcoming school year,  to invite students to become members of the library. In the meantime, one of our strategies is to connect with young readers through our satellite library pilot program.

The satellite libraries will be populated with new books and we will expand to the Casa de Estudiante (CdE), which serves middle and high school students who live in nearby ranch communities too far away to make a daily commute to Todos Santos. Besides homework and chores, this deserving population of youth have limited enrichment activities to keep their minds and bodies active in the evenings and at night. We will establish a small library at the CdE, and invite students to become members with check-out privileges.

Good news for local parents and their kids: The Children’s Library is open on Wednesdays, 10am -12pm, with lots of books in English and Spanish for readers from birth - 16 years of age. Visitors can also check-out books during their stay in the area. Book donations are always welcome.

We are also looking for volunteers to staff the Children Library.

Please contact Director Paty Baum at 

BEP hours M,W, F, 10:00 -1:00

will continue through summer.

Happy 90th Birthday Elena Poniatowska 

Elena Poniatowska at The Palapa Learning Center, November 2017

By Tori Sepulveda

Many of you may have wondered why The Palapa Society library here in Todos Santos is named the Biblioteca Elena Poniatowska, and who is this woman, Elena. We are proud to share this magical connection with you, as we are among the luckiest libraries in Mexico.   

Elena Poniatowska has been called Mexico’s greatest living novelist, and in 2013 she was awarded the Cervantes Prize in Literature. She is a journalist as well as novelist, who encourages reading and writing for all. In November of 2017 Elena came to Todos Santos to personally congratulate The Palapa Society and to dedicate our wonderful library. The Palapa Society prepared the community for her arrival by leading a book club on her book of short stories, The Heart of the Artichoke, led by Juan Diego GonzalĂ©s and Felipe Lara. During the week that she was here The Palapa Society provided multiple opportunities for the community to meet Elena and listen to her thoughts. One evening we all shared a large dinner at Restaurant Los Adobes, and one evening she spoke to the families at The Palapa School and congratulated us all on the realization of Palapa’s dreams.  

Among her many books are Massacre in MĂ©xico, Leonora, TinĂ­sima, Hasta no Verte Jesus MĂ­o, La Noche de Tlatelolco, and many more. The Palapa library has a strong collection of books that Elena donated to us, so we encourage you to come visit us and learn more about her legacy. The Palapa library is one of the largest in Baja California Sur, thanks to the generosity of our community, and it is important for us to increase the number of Mexican authors like Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Laura Esquival, as well as our dear Elena.

Did you know that in 2017 she dubbed the Spanish voice of Mama Coco in the Disney/Pixar animated movie Coco, and just last month the Mexican Secretary of Culture organized a national tribute to celebrate Elena’s 90th birthday at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Happy birthday dear Elena, and thank you! We are honored that you are a part of the legacy of our Palapa public library!

The Palapa Society's Community Event Calendar
Baja Under the Stars  
The Denver Botanic Gardens
September 17, 2022

Gastrovino 2022
November 11, 12, and 13
Todos Santos, BCS

Baja Under The Stars August Donors 

Dr. Geoff & Gina Wickwire, MD

Karen & Jon Sawyer

AF Construction

Mr. & Mrs. Gary B. & Marsha Blum

Greg & Carol Dobbs

Mrs. Paul & Pam Bumann

Mr. Peter Griffiths

Laura Kirsch

Jeanne Beaudry

Caron and Gordon Cromwell

Marimar Higgins

Courtney Higgins

Michael Mills

Kearsley Higgins

Nikki Kraslin

Eggers, Peter & Peggy

Ricci, Michael

Hampleman, Dick & Margot

Cunningham, Michael & Marla

Hays, Betsy and John

Leonard, Michael & Meg

Horn, Max

Russell, Gary & Leslie

Chiddix, James

Williams, Marsha & Jim

Our Family of Monthly Donors
Eleanor Andrews
Rick & Suzanne Arnold
Jerry Back & Heather Bauer
Mike Block & Maria Olaisen
Gail & Scott Bosch
Marjolein Brugman
Paul & Pam Bumann
Vickie Butler
Ryan Casey
Liane Collins
Karin & Judd Cuenin
Julie & Michael Dandurand
Bill David & Kathy Cate
Liane Collins
Chirs & Bill Durboraw
Elizabeth Farner
Ken Ford
Sharon & John Foster
Kristen & Rick Friedman
Jane Gehring
Virginia Gollery
Lisa Goodman
Jane Hall
Karen & Charley Haley
Margot & Dick Hampleman
Ann Hazard
Georgia Jane Hicks
Cindy & David Higgins
Marimar Higgins
Lee & Anthony Irons
Marilyn Jacques
Bonnie & AJ Johnston
Janna Kinkade
Lynn & Brian Kuske
Marshall Laird
Teresa Laird
Jay Masaschi
Connie & Andy Mical
Chris Miller & Diana Pandell
Jill Mollenhauer & Robert Bland
Sharon Morris
Cheryl V. Myers
Nancy & Dennis Naigle
Cathy & Dr. William Nation
Sofia & Stephen Nicholas
Deborah Parrish
Paty Rains
Janet & Bryan Raydon
Kristin Rust
Sydney & Greg Schweitzer
Tori Sepulveda & Oscar Rosales
Nancy Simpson
William & Cathleen Small
Susan & Jim Smith
Jessica Spencer & Rob Dormour
Grace & Tim Tuttle
Angelica Velez Mendez
Kathy Warnert
Lisa Welsch & Doug Colton
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?

  • $50 USD per month = 1/4-year scholarship*
  • $100 USD per month = 1/2-year scholarship*
  • $200 USD per month = 1-year scholarship*

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