Pleiku City, Vietnam — Summer is a long vacation for all students in Vietnam, but it affords precious time for ethnic students in the nation's Central Highlands to work hard and prepare for the coming academic year.
From June to August, Mary Ben, 10, finished a catechism course and received her first Communion on Aug. 4. A fourth-grader, Mary attended courses in math and Vietnamese to prepare for the coming school year and reviewed fourth-grade subjects.
She is among 25 ethnic students in grades one through 12 who are attending summer courses held in Pleiku City by Dominican Sisters of St. Rose of Lima.
Mary spent time learning how to play the electronic organ and practicing hymns.
"I love playing the organ so I have to practice it and hope to play it in church in the future," the Jarai ethnic student said. "I am happy to spend the summer here taking helpful courses and playing with my friends."
Sr. Catherine Dang Thi Kim Thu, head of a five-person community that asked not to be identified, said the nuns teach math, English and Vietnamese to the students, who are from Sedang and Jarai ethnic groups. They also offer free accommodations and food without charge at the convent, where courses are held.