“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is today.”
Twenty years ago, we planted a tree that has given us splendid fruits: the Plantel Azteca School. With this initiative, we learned that Mexico can achieve the highest educational standards and that we should aspire to education of excellence for our children. You only have to work hard to achieve it. Mexico deserves nothing less.
Education is key because it is a country's future. Human capital is the most important form of wealth, and education is an important way of creating this capital.
Mexicans typically complain about a lack of educational quality, but twenty years ago at Grupo Salinas we decided to move to action. We planted a magnificent tree whose fruits we see in 11,209 top-notch students who have graduated from the Plantel Azteca School over the past two decades.
Plantel Azteca graduates are world class. Some have transcended borders and made a name for themselves at top institutions around the world. An example is Rafael Rivera, the second Mexican in history to be admitted simultaneously to two masters programs at Harvard.
Another example is Ariadna Reyes, a student of Nobel Prize winner Mario Molina who was invited by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation to present an inventory of greenhouse gases in the United States. At the Mario Molina Center, Reyes developed research to evaluate housing sustainability in Mexico, identifying bad public policies that forced low-income families to subsist in poorly-planned housing developments, away from employment opportunities, quality education, and health services.
In past blogs I have also shared the story of Jocsan Laguna, who for six years travelled 35 kilometers a day on public transportation to study at Plantel Azteca. His effort paid off, because today he is one of the top global experts in the fight against cybercrime in Latin America.
These are just three examples from thousands of success stories that have transformed families and have the potential to change entire communities and, eventually, Mexico as a whole.
But at Plantel Azteca we have never been satisfied. Every year we offer something new to our students, who today have access to classes in computer sciences, robotics, horticulture, and English. Our students have an Esperanza Azteca Orchestra and a Model United Nations program developed by UCLA. I should also mention that Plantel Azteca's high school scored the highest scores in the country on the standardized Planea exam. And all of this in an environment with cutting-edge technology.
Starting in 2019, Plantel Azteca will become a bilingual school, and we will begin an exchange program in conjunction with the United States Embassy.
Due to the consistency of our academic performance, top private universities in Mexico offer attractive scholarships to Plantel Azteca graduates. These institutions include: the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE), the Iberoamerican University, the Tec de Monterrey, the Pan-American University, and the Anáhuac University. Today we have 463 Plantel Azteca graduates on scholarships at these universities. In fact, 80% of our graduates obtain scholarships at some private university.
A cornerstone of this project is naturally the teachers. This year I met with them and had an extremely productive exchange. We have also started an incentive program to make them into even better instructors.
The world is undergoing transformations at a dizzying speed and therefore, our priority has been to prepare our students for change and for an increasingly competitive future. Plantel Azteca is an investment in educational excellence that has paid huge dividends. I hope this splendid tree will bear fruit for many years to come.