Inaugural Speech

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Inaugural Speech. November 30, 2012.

Dear Board Members, excellent and distinguished ladies and gentlemen, all friends:
I wish to, in the first place, give thanks. And I hope you will allow me to alter just a little the usual order in which these thanks are given.

I will start by thanking my husband, Mr. Luis Rey Romero. It was his idea to form a foundation and it is his inspiration from which the one we have just formed is born. He dedicated his life and strength to education, giving an example of entirety and honesty that keeps supporting us on a daily basis.

Next I would like to thank those who have made possible, year after year and for over 125 years, the existence of this improbable reality that is the Colegio de San Francisco de Paula. Against all predictions it has resisted numerous difficulties thanks to the daily efforts of many people. They have been and are the School; which, fifteen years ago now, added the Nursery School, which gives me a lot of joy.

That joy comes in the most part from our students. Without a doubt, they are the best about an educational center: commitment to present and promise for the future, curious, noble and generous, that us adults have the obligation of stimulating so that they will build a better society. A good number of them (yes, a little bit older…) are in this room today, including several former presidents of the Rey Guerrero Association. Thank you for the happiness that you contribute to our efforts every day.

And the students are due to the trust of the families, with whom we collaborate. 125 years of trust, many generations, in a relationship that has built this great family. Dear president, we will continue doing the best that we can for the good of your children.

Of course, thanks as well to those who accompany us tonight, that distinguish us with their love and friendship. We know how much effort you have put in order to be with us, some coming from very far away. Joy is multiplied when it is shared and a meeting such as this can only fill one with bliss.

And thanks, finally, to the Board Members. For your time, your generosity, and your enthusiasm: your ideas, your effort, and your disposition to contribute, even more, to build a future of progress. There are only a few management and government teams in the world with the diversity and quality of that which has been formed today in Seville. Thank you very much, from our hearts, with all the enthusiasm of this new era.

The more it has been open and plural, the more that Seville has been successful. This Board shows that we can have vast views and ambitious goals; that from Seville it is possible to stimulate international collaboration; that we can and must have a role in the world. The Foundation believes in it firmly, and pretends, through education and culture, to catalyze efforts in that direction. And I say catalyze because it will be the work of many which will allow for results to be achieved. Today more than ever, every important job is collective.

Times are difficult. They are of crisis, illusion and responsibility. It is crucial for us citizens to redouble our imagination in order to unblock a situation that is, for many, desperate. It is crucial for everyone who can, to contribute intelligence and well-doing, effort and impulse, to design an unpredictable future. Let us stop complaining about the past and not allow us to be ballasted by omens: it is in us to change reality, as is choosing our own path. Let us go step by step, until we exit this quagmire in which we find ourselves. With that illusion, that responsibility, and that opportunity that each crisis offers of changing that which did not work.

The Escuela Infantil and the Colegio de San Francisco de Paula are small organizations, very small if you put them in perspective. But our commitment to education and progress is huge: we want to put our forces at the services of the ends and ideals that since 1886 we have been promoting.

In the board meeting that just took place we have decided, among other things, the following:
- The selection of a manager – we start by creating a new job post.
- A study of the implementation of the Middle Years Program and its long-term financiering at schools in Huelva, Córdoba, Málaga, Granada, and Jaén.
- Celebration of an annual conference on the topic of innovation in the fields of education and technology in education to be hosted in Seville, to promote the role of our city in the educational world.
- Convening and granting of the “Julio López Mejías” scholarship for the following school year, so that a student from Seville may study under the bilingual International Baccalaureate.
- A study of the convening and granting of scholarships so two students from Morocco may study under the International Baccalaureate Program at the school, in order to extend our activity among our neighboring countries and more specifically, the Southern Mediterranean.

My husband used to say, “a school is not its bricks, but its people.” Using that measuring stick, and seeing what at this moment, or day after day in the patios and classrooms, comes across my eyes, we may not be as small as I previously said. This does nothing but increase our responsibility towards the future and our enthusiasm to act on it. The board over which I am humbly honored to preside gives me the best hopes.
Thank you once again to all, from the bottom of my heart.