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I Am the Library

By Karla Ortiz

The task of bringing young people’s dreams to reality for the Biblioteca is a work in two parts.

The first counts on the effort of the young people themselves. The second has to do with continuing the commitment of the Biblioteca Pública to each of the scholarships that fund these young recipients’ dreams. Because many of these young people’s dreams have no limits; as they reach new achievements, their goals move forward.

The case of Antonio Tovar is a good example of this. At the age of 20, after much dedication to his goals, he is about to complete his studies. Since childhood, he has been extremely committed to his studies and to his passions. He has always maintained a very good grade point average despite some ups and downs in life. Fortunately, learning is something that has always come easy to Antonio. Whatever he is taught remains fixed in his mind, he says, adding that he has never in his life had to study for one exam. He finds it easy to pay attention to things and to concentrate in school.

However, he is not just interested in books and studies. In kindergarten, aside from having the best grades, he also liked to complete in sports, where he won 16 medals and two trophies. In elementary school, he put aside sports and concentrated completely on his studies, but when he reached high school, he took to soccer, joining the school team and competing up to the state level, though he never reached the finals. In those days, he believed his future was in soccer, especially since many people encouraged him and said that soccer was his game.

When he went to preparatoria, he even met a few people with connections in Monterrey that allowed him to try out for professional soccer teams. Unfortunately, shortly afterward, at the age of 15, he hurt his foot playing soccer and could not move for some time. So he could not participate in games that would have allowed him to become part of a soccer team in another state. This change in his life motivated him to continue with his studies and to maintain good grades. After recovering from his injury, he found other places to practice and has not stopped since. Every Sunday, without fail, he plays with a team from San José Iturbide.

His chosen specialty in school was construction, since he had already also studied electricity. His uncle’s trade (construction) also influenced his choice. What he likes most about construction is the chance to create things. On one occasion, a professor took him and another classmate to an exhibit of lamps in Dolores Hidalgo, and Antonio and his classmate were able to show their work even at their young age. They were very excited to see the works on exhibit—lamps made of barre, wood, or steel.

Although his specialization would have allowed him to go into architecture or civil engineering, once he left secondary school, Antonio has decided to take up mechanical engineering, which he is presently pursuing. He cites the Instituto Sanmiguelense, which sent representatives to his preparatoria to promote careers, in influencing his decision. What he likes most about engineering is that he can design mechanical parts through software and that he is able to check if his design is adequate for a specific car through virtual simulations, not physical models.

Currently, Antonio lives with his parents and four brothers. He is the oldest child, which means a bigger effort on his part and the responsibility to have a good work ethic, as a good example to his brothers. Every day, he gets up very early to go to school and returns home in time to do his homework and help his parents with their farm work. His parents grow corn and work the land every day. Antonio has been helping his parents with this and with other household chores since he was a small child. Once in a while, when he has the time, he visits his uncles, who live near his house, in order to spend time with his family members, which he likes to do even though they are very reserved and he doesn’t speak much with them. During vacations, he finds full-time work, and when he is back in school, he still works, even if it’s only on the weekends.

This hardworking ethic has often given him a bit of extra money to buy clothes and shoes, but that will no longer be possible, because the school has initiated a project in which students will be able to practice actual work at an automotive company, an opportunity that will take more time away from his schedule, but may result in him obtaining a job in his chosen career.

This automotive design and simulation company, SSC will give project participants a month-long trial, which could enable them to later join a formal practice. The students have to work six hours per day from Monday through Friday. Those who cannot complete these hours on weekdays have to do them on the weekends. So, between classes and these expected work hours, Antonio would have a hard time maintaining a weekend job.

But he feels it’s worth it, because for him to be able to work for this company would be another achievement in his life, the beginning of a long road to reach his dreams. In the not-too-distant future, he hopes to be able to work for BMW or General Electric. He would like to be able to work in Germany, the country with the biggest number of automotive companies.

Antonio and his entire family are very grateful to the Biblioteca for the support he has been given, not only with his scholarship but also because Antonio has benefited from the Biblioteca’s new Virtual Library, access to which is provided for free to recipients of the Biblioteca’s scholarships. The scholarship means he doesn’t have to worry about paying to sign up for the Virtual Library every semester, and his parents can now afford to back his brothers in their studies.

 

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