Education is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Often, the time spent thinking about it isn’t always positive. We are inundated with information about how public education is “failing” and isn’t as good as it once was. But, when we entered the school of Manatee Public Elementary in Fort Myers, that attitude did not exist!
We were greeted with smiles. We watched the principle interact with the students in such a positive way that even if you were searching for it, there was no trace of negativity.
Then we meet Gregorio Garcia; a product of what a good staff can do. Gregorio Garcia started at Manatee as an underperforming student, two grades behind his actual grade level, and was headed down a bad path. His teacher’s, Mr. Love and Mr. Serapilio, pushed him to rise above not only life decisions, but educational ones too.
Gregorio Garcia is now a role model, or in our eyes, a local hero! He over came mountains that most twelve-year-olds wouldn’t dare take on. He is setting a standard for his peers and is a powerful human! Manatee wanted to honor his accomplishments and asked Gregorio Garcia what would be the one thing he would like to do. His answer was to take his dad to a Florida Gulf Coast University basketball game.
Watching the love between Gregorio Garcia and his father and how proud his father is for his son is amazing. We need to take time to absorb stories like this, in order to push each other to overcome the bad and highlight the good that is happening with our education and the youth.
Gregorio Garcia and Manatee Public Elementary school possess these stories and we were honored to be a part of it.