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Empowering Dreams: BEAM Graduation

In the heart of Chiang Mai University's Ang Kaew Center, the air was electric on Monday, January 29th, as the echoes of success resonated through the halls. The occasion? The graduation ceremony of two remarkable individuals, Diana and David, who finally received their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. Their journey, however, is more than just a tale of academic accomplishment; it's a narrative of community support and the transformative power of education.

Gary Herman with David and Diana.

The saga began in the fall of 2018 at the Bridging Educational Access to Migrants (BEAM) center, just south of the old city, where Diana and David, alongside 33 other students, embarked on a transformative journey. Guided by the unwavering dedication of former Rotarians Roger Lindley and Linda Pfotenhauer, as well as the indomitable spirit of Bob Carroll, these students were ushered through challenges, growth, and, ultimately, success.

The mission was clear: to guide these students through the intricacies of the American GED tests, a pivotal requirement for higher education. In the spring of 2019, their hard work came to fruition as 28 out of the initial 35 students proudly received their GED certificates. A solid foundation was laid, opening the gates to higher education.

Behind this success story stood the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC), whose scholarship funds, including the Bob Carroll Memorial Fund, played a pivotal role in facilitating Diana and David's transition to Chiang Mai University's School of Nursing. Bill Trempus and other generous contributors ensured the continuity of this scholarship fund, providing a beacon of hope for future nursing students.

Yet, CMIRC's commitment extended beyond financial assistance. The scholarship recipients were not just students; they were encouraged to become active contributors to the community. Diana and David embraced this opportunity, serving as interns at the Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House, where they dedicated their time to helping poor and very sick children.

As Diana prepares to return to Mae Hong Son as a first responder and David embarks on a mission with an Ophthalmologist for the underprivileged, their stories continue to be a source of inspiration. Their education and service will undoubtedly create positive change in their communities.

The commitment to education and community support didn't conclude with Diana and David. On a subsequent visit to Chiang Mai University, I witnessed the graduation of two more BEAM graduates, now holding degrees in Social Sciences. Meeting with their dedicated teachers, David Lucero and Alan Tin-Win, and other BEAM graduates aspiring for higher education, a common hurdle emerged: financial constraints.

As we celebrate the achievements of Diana and David, let their journey serve as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of education and the indispensable role of community support. Each graduate is a true example of resilience, determination, and the collective impact that a community can have in shaping brighter futures.


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