Meet the Women of Our First Graduating Class!

This International Women’s Day, the Young Living Foundation is thrilled to recognize the five young women who will be the first to graduate with their high school diplomas from the Young Living Academy in Chongon, Ecuador on March 9.

We’re beyond proud of these ladies, and we want to brag about what that they’ve accomplished. Meet these five remarkable graduates!

  • Lady Thalia Lopez Delgado
  • Ivany Joselyn Mateo Santana
  • Melanie Nicole Méndez León
  • Olinda Maritza Roldán Benitez
  • Dayanna Katherine Santana Touriz

With a total of 12 students graduating from the academy, the class of 2016 boasts a 100 percent graduation rate. That’s impressive in any school, but it’s especially striking given that the local average was less than 20 percent when the academy opened its doors in 2009. More exciting still, each of these seniors is soon to become a university freshman. And we wouldn’t miss celebrating with them for the world! Staff from Young Living and the foundation, as well as 30 Young Living members, has traveled to Ecuador to attend the ceremony and to join in service projects.

The Young Living Academy, the breathtaking Young Living farm just down the road, and the small town of Chongon hold a special place in the history of Young Living. It was in this small rural town where the Young Living Foundation (formerly the D. Gary Young Foundation) was established and the Sponsor a Child program was born.

Young Living Academy

Anyone who knows founder D. Gary and CEO Mary Young knows that they’re motivated by a single passion more than anything else: a passion to serve and empower individuals far beyond their circumstances. After noticing that Chongon could use some help with education, Gary and Mary built the academy from the ground up. While the academy wasn’t initially built for it, it held 83 students during its first year. Mary recalls, “We could not believe how many more people showed up begging for us to admit them. What was I going to do? Of course we would admit them.”

The Young Living Academy has kept growing and expanding since then, now educating nearly 300 students grades K–12. The academy offers high-quality education for local children and jobs for some of the greatest teachers in the country.

Girls of the Young Living Academy

In large part, it’s the work of the incredible teachers and staff at the Young Living Academy that has made this year’s graduation possible. They work tirelessly to serve students, cultivate critical thinking, and foster leadership. Most of all, they recognize the power of one individual, armed with the correct tools, to change the world. Investing in a child’s education can cause ripples in all directions. It can help them gain better employment and achieve better economic security, which in turn creates a stronger economy overall. These students one day will be able to pass along their education and values to their children.

These long-term effects are why we’re so proud of the young women of the 2016 graduating class. Armed with education and a passion for empowering others, these high-achieving graduates will be able to create incredible impact in their communities, while avoiding the poverty that may otherwise have been their future. Their education provides them with the tools necessary to become self-sufficient and contribute to, shape, and lead their communities.

We’re so proud of the class of 2016! Post your congratulations in the comments!