Take a moment and try to reflect on what was important to you at age 12. Now try to think about your opinion regarding school during the first 12 years of your life. For the first eight years of life, children are naturally acquiring language skills along with tons of academic processes. It’s one thing to say we’re naturally learning at that age, but an entirely different thing to have a passion for education.
Then there’s 12-year-old Leonardo Nicanor Quinteros. At 12 years old, he’s still in school himself, but he has an insatiable passion for education and helping others. He saw that his classmates weren’t really paying attention in school nor keeping up with their studies and this bothered him. It bothered him enough that he hatched a plan: he’d build his own school to help anyone who needed it.
He asked his grandmother Ramona if he could build his school outside of her house. She thought it was a fabulous idea and they set to work. It’s a very humble setup, but at this point, his school helps almost 40 students, both young and old. Acting as teacher and principal, Leonardo does everything. His grandmother’s house is 20 minutes away from where he lives and he goes there to teach every day after his regular secondary school classes. There are some people who want to come to his school, but can’t come during regular hours, so Leonardo accommodates their schedules by having night classes, too.
He charges nothing and is perfectly happy to use his educational passion to help others. His grandmother even makes sure the people who attend Leonardo’s school get something to eat and drink while they study. She’s understandably proud of her grandson’s selflessness and his drive to help others.
“He does not miss school, he is amazing. I cannot believe what he does. Nobody taught him, he went alone. And now he teaches the other children,” she said.
Teaching what he can and learning along the way, Leonardo has positively impacted many people in his community while inspiring millions who have heard his story. The world could use more Leonardos.