Special Report: From Tyler to Costa Rica, Part 4 - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Special Report: From Tyler to Costa Rica, Part 4

Posted: Updated:
Students and teachers from Las Lilas, Costa Rica join TJC's Dr. Mike Metke at the ribbon cutting for the school's newly-built bathrooms. Students and teachers from Las Lilas, Costa Rica join TJC's Dr. Mike Metke at the ribbon cutting for the school's newly-built bathrooms.
COSTA RICA (KYTX) -

Students and faculty from Tyler Junior College and UT Tyler finished their week-long service project Thursday, having helped with reforestation, the rehabilitation of a medical office and the expansion of a small school in Costa Rica's Guanacaste province.

Las Lilas is the smallest of the towns they served, and nearly everyone who lives there came to a closing ceremony Thursday to thank the people who helped with the school project.

The expansion this summer involved building three new bathrooms to replace the single toilet that had served students and teachers for decades. In 2010 a similar group from Tyler built the school a new classroom.

"It was in poor shape and rather than try to rebuild or restore it really needed to come down," TJC President Mike Metke said.

Metke spearheaded the project after seeing the conditions. Now the school has what it considers a luxury, and what most East Texans take for granted at schools and elsewhere.

"One for the boys, one for the girls and one for the staff," Principal Alba Rosa Soto said via translator.

Soto said help from Tyler was the only way to make it happen.

"The money [given by the government] for building in this small town is very small," she said via translator. "It would have been at least four or five years."

Former student Marcela Gorgona is enrolled in college in nearby Liberia. She said after years of service projects, people from Tyler deserve credit for more than a building.

"The impact of everybody is not only the help that we receive from Tyler but you have helped us all to be able to help each other," Gorgona said via translator.

"Those who have done volunteer work always get far more back than they ever give," Metke said.

The trip brought back memories for Metke. He lived in Las Lilas as a peace corps volunteer in 1967 and he built the original school building that the current one replaced.

"It makes you a different person," he said. "It stretches your mind. It never shrinks back to what it was and I think that's really good for our students."

Decades later, this community is more grateful than ever.

"This has been life saving," Soto said via translator.

The nearest major city to Las Lilas is Liberia, which became Tyler's sister city Tuesday. As part of that agreement, TJC will be offering 2 scholarships a year for students to study in the United States.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Report: Air Algerie plane vanishes from radar

    Report: Air Algerie plane vanishes from radar

    Thursday, July 24 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-07-24 11:28:48 GMT
    An Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from radar, the official Algerian news agency said Thursday.  Air navigation services lost track of the plane 50 minutes after takeoff early Thursday, last sited at 1:50 a.m. GMT (10:50p EDT), the agency said.

    More >>
    An Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from radar, the official Algerian news agency said Thursday.  Air navigation services lost track of the plane 50 minutes after takeoff early Thursday, last sited at 1:50 a.m. GMT (10:50p EDT), the agency said.


    More >>
  • In somber ceremony, Dutch welcome home first remains of MH17 victims

    In somber ceremony, Dutch welcome home first remains of MH17 victims

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:47 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:47:58 GMT
    CNNCNN
    (CNN) -- A lone bugler sounding the traditional military farewell "Last Post" marked the arrival Wednesday in the Netherlands of the first dead from the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.More >>
    (CNN) -- A lone bugler sounding the traditional military farewell "Last Post" marked the arrival Wednesday in the Netherlands of the first dead from the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.More >>
  • Washington family says dog reunited with Texas family belongs to them

    Washington family says dog reunited with Texas family belongs to them

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:25 AM EDT2014-07-23 14:25:07 GMT
    It was a joyous reunion for one family and a devastating loss for another. The Miller family of Tyler lost their beloved Maltese named Reese seven years ago. The little white dog escaped while the Millers were visiting family in Balch Springs.More >>
    It was a joyous reunion for one family and a devastating loss for another. The Miller family of Tyler lost their beloved Maltese named Reese seven years ago. The little white dog escaped while the Millers were visiting family in Balch Springs.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

CBS19, MYTX & KCEB
2211 ESE Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
Phone (903) 581-2211
Fax (903) 581-5769

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KYTX. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.