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Home / News / Interview with Ingrid Rocuts, Rector of Colegio San Damián SSCC, Bogotá (Colombia)

Interview with Ingrid Rocuts, Rector of Colegio San Damián SSCC, Bogotá (Colombia)

"Our teachers are very creative and
always find a way to solve the difficulties that arise" 


Ingrid Rocuts joined the San Damián SSCC school in Bogotá as a teacher in 2002). She has been Rector since 2019. She graduated as a teacher trainer (pedagogical baccalaureate), with a degree in preschool education and a Master's degree in quality education.

Ingrid, tell us what the San Damián SSCC school is like.

San Damián SSCC is a beautiful school. There is a fraternal atmosphere of respect, service, and teamwork; but the most important thing is that we have achieved a high level of coherence: "we say what we think and do what we say". This means that good intentions do not remain on paper, but that we execute them and with this we all benefit, because our emphasis on values is incarnated into our daily life, following the example of love and service of St. Damien of Molokai, which is present in all that we do. We are happy and we work so that our children and the educational community are happy too. We are definitely Sacred Hearts!

Tell us about the congregational traits that we can appreciate in your educational community.

Without a doubt the main one is the family spirit. We love, respect and support each other at all times. We build on people's strengths, not their weaknesses. When we make mistakes, we can ask for forgiveness and if we have to make a comment, we do so in a fraternal way. This makes all the members of the educational community genuine and we express ourselves without fear of being singled out. Here we always find a smile to brighten our day.

Is this a shared mission between lay and religious SSCC?

Yes, although the school has been run by lay people for a long time, the religious play a very important role, especially in recent years, because they are the ones who animate the pastoral ministry, accompany and form the work team under the SSCC charism, listen to the educational community and, as a Congregation, offer a very important social work through the work of the San Damiano SSCC school, bringing holistic and transformative education to many families in the area who are looking for opportunities for change. For us, the creation of the Andina Province was a very good idea. Now we feel more accompanied and supported, which makes our results better.

During the confinement you have faced serious problems in the running of the centre. How have you dealt with them?

Last year at the beginning of the confinement, the main difficulties we had to face were fear, uncertainty and overwork, for we were connected, accompanying the children and their families for more than 12 hours a day. However, there were always new ideas and a smile on our faces to solve whatever each day brought.

This year a new difficulty arose: connectivity. When we went back to face-to-face with some of our students, and others continued to study from home, the obsolete technological tools and the poor internet connection made the work difficult, as we could not reach the virtual students and so things did not work. After making some financial investment, we managed to solve the connectivity issue, however, the computers are still slow, but the teachers have found a way to work synchronously, using their mobile phones to take photos of what is on the board and upload them to the platform. In short, they are very creative and always find a way to solve the difficulties that arise.

The 39th General Chapter of the Congregation asks: "That our schools and educational activities be true platforms of evangelisation, both in secularised societies and in those places where education is practically the only way out of poverty". How do you make this a reality in your school?

In our school there is partial realisation, because we form service-minded, sensitive, honest, honest, responsible, respectful citizens, committed to their surroundings and to the environment. As I mentioned earlier, we have achieved a high degree of coherence, which means that our children possess and demonstrate many of these characteristics. They are not the future of our country, they are the present and, from this time on, they are contributing to the transformation, if only of their immediate environment. But this wonderful work falls short because we only have children between 4 and 11 years of age (pre-school and primary school levels), and once they finish this cycle, they must find another institution to continue their educational process (baccalaureate). This tends to be frustrating for us, because if we were able to educate and provide society with young people with these characteristics I have described, the history of our country would undoubtedly be different.

One of the characteristics of your teaching staff is that they are dynamic, creative and proactive. Tell us about the selection and ongoing formation of the teaching staff.

The selection process is simple, we start from the good faith of the people, we do not ask for experience, simply willingness and a positive attitude to learn. It is essential that those who form part of our work team are able to handle conflict resolution and know how to provide solutions to problems.

Pedagogical training is usually done among ourselves through cooperative work. Pastoral training almost always comes from the religious of the congregation. Periodically we organise self-training days in which each one of us trains the others in the subjects he/she knows best. This ensures that we are able to perform well in whatever task we are assigned.

Do you maintain relations with other schools in the Congregation?

Yes, especially with Virgen de Mirasierra School in Spain. They have been important and unconditional allies for us. We are also networking with the school in Lima and with La Concordia in Ecuador. They have come up with very good ideas that contribute to the improvement of our work.