It’s not every day that a president visits your school, but today, the eight-grade class at Coronado Middle School had a very special guest. Mexico’s former President, Vicente Fox, stopped by to share inspirational stories and give the students advice on how to succeed in life and make our world a better place.
President Fox was the first representative of the National Action Party, the opposition party, to win an election in seventy-one years. He brought many changes to Mexico. During his tenure, from 2000 to 2006, the economy of his country gained force, as the Peso was strong enough to compete in world markets.
Since his term as president came to an end, he has dedicated his time to public speaking around the globe, enhance the image of Mexico, and promote Centro Fox, the first presidential library in Mexico. Centro Fox is an ambitious project where people from all walks of life can be inspired, motivated and guided to succeed.
CMS Principal, Mr. Jay Marquand, introduced President Fox to an enthusiastic crowd of attentive students. His opening lines, after introducing his wife, Marta, were of praise to women. He said that the 21stCentury was the Century of Women, quite timely as we approach Woman’s Day, next week.
For almost half an hour, President Fox eloquently shared some of his personal history – stories of struggle as well as of great success and accomplishment. He urged his young audience to have a plan in order to avoid a life of mediocrity, advising them that the only way to succeed came from a strong focus on one’s path, “make a decision, determine your purpose, and focus on your goal”. He added that in order for that formula to work, another ingredient was key – education. He praised our school system for the quality of instruction and for the state of the art facilities available to all students every day. He reminded his listeners how privileged they are to have so many wonderful opportunities, and that along with them came the big responsibility to aim for the top. He said that when he decided to leave the business sector and get into politics he decided he would do it all the way, that he would became president. “Develop a spark, look for your power within, and search for your inner strength”. “We were all created as leaders!”
As he continued to inspire middle schoolers, President Fox advised them to think globally as they worked on their life plans. He talked about the importance to better ourselves, but also our families, our communities, our countries and our world.
Much in tune with our Coronado Schools program, Character Counts, President Fox listed Emotions, Character, and Strength as key factors in the search for our dreams.
Just before the presentation was open for questions from the audience, Principal Marquand talked about the possibility of setting up a plan where President Fox and Centro Fox could communicate, via Skype, with CMS students. What a magnificent connection that would be!
President Fox answered many interesting questions from the students. When asked what he wanted to be early in life, he responded “a cowboy”, as he was raised in a ranch in Central Mexico, where he learned to be in touch with what he calls “his people” and became familiar with their needs. He was asked about his life as a student and how he became president. He explained that his life could be divided in 15-year quarters, his first 15 years with his family, then 15 years as a student, 15 years as a businessman and 15 years as a politician. After Fox finished school (Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and Harvard School of Business) he was hired by the Coca-Cola Company, where, not wanting to wear a suit, started as a deliveryman. He treasures those years when he felt connected to the people and got to know the many regions of his country. Inevitably, he went up the ladder and soon became president of Coca-Cola Mexico and then Coca-Cola Latin America. Feeling the void of not connecting to the people directly, decided to pursue a life in politics, where his focus and dreams would take him to the top, where he could make a difference. He started in the House of Congress and moved on to become Governor of Guanajuato, his birth-state, before becoming Mexico’s 87th president. He also talked about how he enjoyed running his country and how now he is enjoying Centro Fox and his many public speaking engagements.
On a last note, President Fox talked about the importance of creating bridges between countries instead of walls. He said that Mexico and the US are friends, neighbors, and partners. He calls for bridges of friendship and partnership, both literally and metaphorically.