By Don Krim
I was lucky from the start. I signed up to be a Jóvenes Adelante mentor and got two for one! A brother and sister act, they are often mistaken for twins as they are so close and seemingly attached at the hip! They are the Gamboas, Janete and Moises. They go to the same school, the Instituto Sanmiguelense (ITSES), entered the same year, and had the same course of study: systems engineering.
Four years on and a few months late because of Covid, they are now two of eight in their graduating class. I feel lucky and honored to have attended their outdoor, limited capacity graduation ceremony. ITSES is staggering their ceremonies to maintain social distance and safety.
The ceremony was remarkably emotional and a source of pride. Our “pajaritos están volando” I said to my husband David, with tears in my eyes. Our little birds are taking flight–Janete, as luck would have it a bit faster than Moises. Covid 19 created fewer timely opportunities for professional internships (practicas) than usual. Normally in Mexico students complete their studies, have a graduation ceremony, and then proceed to their internships. After that, in the case of ITSES, students must pass a TOEFL exam and then apply for their professional credentials (the costs of which are supported by Jóvenes Adelante).
Janete was lucky to find a practica opportunity early at the Polígono Tecnológico on the road towards Querétaro, and she impressed! She completed her practica two weeks ago, making the graduation all the more potent! Moises, s luck would have it, waited patiently for a few months, using the time to study more English and to run his family papelería, but then found not one but two opportunities, two weeks ago. He now provides tech support for the IT department at the Ministerio Público.
ITSES offered a mix of love, music, a message of successful conclusion, and expectant new beginnings. One by one students were singled out for their specialness–Moises for his joie de vivre, Janete for her heart. An extra thrill: Janete graduated as valedictorian receiving the highest GPA in her class.
These students were all lucky to have gone to ITSES. As a result of Jovenes Adelante’s partnership with ITSES some 20 percent of our students are able to afford the premiere technological institute in the bajío region.
The Gamboa’s graduation was witnessed by their parents, older brother, and Moises’s girlfriend. Between the father’s variable work, their formidable mother, a one-time local town representative (subdelegada), to the Ministerio Público, and their older brother working extra for years to support his siblings, this determined family overcame obstacle after obstacle for these two to succeed. As the saying goes, winners make their own luck. They are prepared for that moment of being in the right place at the right time. Moises and Janete have earned their luck, through hard work, perseverance, and the support of Jóvenes Adelante.