Unification News for August - September 1999

Schools Flourishing at Jardim

by Christine Hempowicz—Bridgeport, CT

On the sprawling grounds of New Hope East Garden, Brazil, lies the campus of a private school founded at the direction of Rev. Moon: Centro Educacional New Hope. A facility housing grades pre-school through high school, Centro Educacional New Hope opened its doors on February 3, 1999 with 65 students and has grown in its short eighteen-month existence to its current enrollment of 2000 students. A driving force of this successful project is Mrs. Gloria Ferneda, a 25-year veteran educator from Parana state’s capital city, Curitiba.

In a recent interview, Mrs. Ferneda explained what inspired her to start this new school. In March 1995, Rev. and Mrs. Moon spent over a month in Brazil on the property of what was to become New Hope East Garden. At that time, Rev. Moon spoke from morning until night to a gathering of representatives from 34 countries about his desire to found such a school. At that time everyone was housed in tents and shacks, yet Mrs. Ferneda, who was there, was able to taste Rev. Moon’s vision and passionate concern for the education of young people.

Later, school buildings were constructed at the same time that the international 40-day workshop facilities were being erected.

In late 1997, Mrs. Valeria Mazucato, the founder and 10-year teacher of the Unification movement’s Sung Hwa School located in Sao Paulo, joined Mrs. Ferneda and together these educational pioneers, who both were Blessed with their husbands in 1989, decided to substantiate Rev. Moon’s vision expressed in 1995. Due to their extensive experience in education, these two women knew what needed to be done to meet government requirements for such a school and they initiated that process. The school received its official registration and accreditation in time to open for the beginning of the 1999 academic year. (Brazil’s academic year is February through mid-December.)

Mrs. Ferneda and Mrs. Mazucato created the motto of the school with Rev. Jung Roh Yoon, President of New Hope East Garden, based on Rev. Moon’s words from 1995. That motto is "Love God, love humanity, love country, love nature." This motto simply and concisely, yet powerfully, expresses the mission statement of Centro Educational New Hope. Mrs. Ferneda explained, "We should love God first because when man is connected to God vertically, he will have a good relationship with humanity horizontally. With correct vertical and horizontal relationships, he will automatically love and defend his country and automatically love and preserve nature." This thought serves as the cornerstone upon which the school’s curriculum and activities are built.

Centro Educacional New Hope is, in a sense, "three-schools-in-one." The Primerio, or primary school, includes pre-school through fourth grades. Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades are part of the Ensinio Fundamental, or middle school, and the high school, Ensinio Medio, houses the three upper grades. Brazilian law requires that children begin school by the age of seven and complete eighth grade. However, in order to be accepted to institutions of higher learning, completion of high school and passing scores on the Vestibular, or university entrance examination, is required.

The three pre-school classes of the Primerio each have one teacher and one assistant. In grades kindergarten and one through four, one teacher per grade covers the core subjects of Portuguese grammar and composition, mathematics, science, history, geography and English (as a foreign language). The same subjects are continued in the Ensinio Fundamental and Ensinio Medio, but each subject is taught by a specialized teacher. Finally, philosophy is added to the core curriculum in Ensinio Medio and subjects are further specialized. For example, Portuguese literature is included, and chemistry, physics and biology replace the general science course of the lower grades.

Centro Educacional New Hope’s academic week is Monday through Friday. The pre-school program is offered from 7:30 – 11:00 AM. Primerio and Ensinio Fundamental classes meet for core academic subjects from 7:00 – 11:25 AM daily, with additional subjects and extra-curricular activities offered two afternoons per week. Remediation is also offered for recommended students an additional two afternoons weekly. Religious education, Japanese, Spanish, computers, sports, judo, ballet, marching band and board games are offered in the afternoon programs for all grades. However, Ensinio Medio covers core curriculum subjects full days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

As mentioned earlier, English (as a foreign language) is a required subject in Brazil. Primerio students study English twice a week. This is increased to three times a week in Ensinio Fundamental and five weekly sessions are taught in Ensinio Medio.

Since the school is located 30 kilometers from Jardim and 25 kilometers from Jardim’s sister city Guia Lopes, school children from the towns are transported daily in the three school-owned buses. Students arrive at 6:30 AM and have breakfast before classes begin. Schools throughout Brazil provide breakfast, snack and a substantial mid-day meal every day to schoolchildren. The ample kitchen of Centro Educacional New Hope is staffed by a head chef, assistant and three employees.

Two large classroom buildings and one gymnasium make up the current physical campus of the school. However, Centro Educacional New Hope is slated to move to an already-purchased property within the next few years, located between Jardim and Guia Lopes, since a university is being planned that will occupy Centro Educacional New Hope’s current facilities. This move will also make the school more accessible and cut the current transportation cost for children in Jardim and Guia Lopes, with populations of 20,000 and 10,000 respectively. Dr. Yong Suk Kim, Rector of Centro Educacional New Hope, is responsible for the development of the university.

As a private school, Centro Educacional New Hope charges a modest tuition of 40 Brazilian Real per student per month, with family discounts and a slightly higher tuition for students in Encinio Medio. This is a subsidized tuition since the school is generously funded by Rev. Moon. Schoolbooks, the required uniform, and an inexpensive bus fee are additional.

The current student body of 200 includes approximately 70 second-generation children of New Hope East Garden staff and area missionaries. The majority of these children attend Primerio classes, and their diverse nationalities and languages challenge the teachers who speak and teach in Portuguese. The school has done some advertising to attract students, but the majority comes through word-of-mouth, through the families of students or through school employees.

The school’s director, Mrs. Gloria Ferneda, is a graduate of Parana State University, where she majored in mathematics. As mentioned earlier, she worked in education in Curitiba, the capital of Parana State for 25 years before moving to the area where New Hope East Garden is located.

The faculty of Centro Educacional New Hope is comprised of thirty teachers, many of whom have studied in teachers’ colleges or completed university programs in pedagogy. Some are currently pursuing masters-level studies.

The English teacher for the middle and upper levels is Carole Durnan Silva, an Australian nurse who joined the Unification Church in America in 1979 and was Blessed in 1982. She and her Brazilian husband lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for eleven years before moving to New Hope East Garden, where her husband oversees maintenance. In the Amazon, Carole privately tutored and worked as a translator for a prominent NGO headquartered in the area. The Silva’s two children, an eight-year-old daughter and six-year-old son, attend Centro Educacional New Hope. Carole provided much of the information contained in this article, gave a school tour, and served as interpreter during interviews with school administrators and faculty.

For more information on the school, please contact:

Gloria Ferneda, Director
Centro Educacional New Hope
Km 25 Estrada de Bonito
Caixa Postal 124
Cep. 79240-000
Jardim, MS, Brasil
Phone: 55-67-209-1139 

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