Last week I sat down to talk with Agustin, a bright 17-year-old who will graduate from Básico (middle school) this November. His personal story and dedication to his education are inspiring.
Life has not been easy for Agustin, and he has already faced many tough challenges in his short life. His father passed away as a result of alcoholism when Agustin was a young boy, leaving his stay-at-home mother with the overwhelming job of raising four boys alone. Never having access to an education, Agustin’s mother had never learned to read or write, and the family’s situation was dire after his father died.
For several years, Augustin struggled in school. He lacked motivation and focus. Social Worker Berta Garcia visited him at home at least once a week to offer encouragement and remind him of the importance of education. Berta’s years of dedication seemed to pay off when, much to her amazement, Agustin experienced a complete turn-around at the beginning of this school year. Agustin started arriving to class on time and completing all of his homework. As Agustin’s attitude shifted, his grades also improved. His classmates have noticed, too, and he is now seen as a leader amongst his peers and a positive role model for the others.
So, what happened? Agustin explained: “One day I woke up and realized that I could not continue being immature. My mother means the world to me, and I want to be able to support her when I’m an adult. That is why I decided to change.
“My brothers work in the carpentry business. They work long hours and often become sick as a result of the lack of health and safety rules. I do not want to put my life at risk, so I decided to start my own business. In my free time, I make art out of old car materials and then sell them on the street during the weekends.
“Education is important, because without education I would not be able to make the right decisions for my future. My dream is to become a physical education teacher, so I can give my mother everything she needs and also start my own family. But for right now, I want to focus on my studies – that is the most important thing for me.”
We are proud of Agustin’s accomplishments and all he is doing to dedicate himself to his studies. Next year, Agustin hopes to continue studying to make his dream of becoming a teacher a reality. The NDG community can’t wait to see what his future holds!