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Mexican Consul in San Diego: “Education is the solution”

Created: 25 October, 2013
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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3 min read

Southwestern College student Alejandra Garcia gave a moving speech after receiving an IME Beca from the Mexican Consulate.
Southwestern College student Alejandra Garcia gave a moving speech after receiving an IME Beca from the Mexican Consulate.

The Consul General of Mexico in San Diego, Remedio Gomez Arnau, repeated it several times: “Education is critical to have a better future.”

Indeed that phrase becomes a reality in the lives of the 162 students who this year received educational grants from the IME-BECAS Program, founded in 2a005 by the Mexican federal government in order to help raise the educational levels of the Mexican population and people of Mexican origin in the United States.

The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday, October 22, at the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, where Gómez Arnau stressed the goal of the program.

“Education is going to help create a better world,” she said. “Not only for us as individuals and for our families, but for all humankind. The present generation must be better than the previous generation and that is achieved through education.”

The 162 students receiving scholarships come from four institutions in San Diego: Southwestern College and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, in higher education; and San Diego County Library and ACCESS Community Center, in the field of adult education and training.

In total, the consulate gave out $45,000 in scholarships for the current school year. Since its inception eight years ago, IME- BECAS has awarded more than $350,000 in educational support to students in the county.

The recipients represent various sectors of the Mexican community in San Diego.

There is Alfredo Beltran, who is majoring in mathematics at Cuyamaca College, and emigrated from the state of Hidalgo as a boy with his family.

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“When I came to the U.S. I did not speak English, so I hated school,” recalled Beltran. “Thanks to a teacher, who believed in me, encouraged me to continue studying and I got to help other students in school.”

There is Esau Cortez, who studies economics at Grossmont College and who was born in El Cajon to Mexican parents.
“I grew up in neighborhoods and attended schools where I was the only Latino,” he said. “That made me shy. Once I arrived at the community college I saw that there is much diversity and that helped me to excel in school and learn to speak in public without fear.”

There’s also Alejandra Garcia, a student at Southwestern College who crossed the border without documents to San Diego as a child. Garcia is one of many undocumented students who have to look everywhere for funds to pay for school, since they do not qualify for government financial aid.

“Our situation is not good, but we do our best,” said Garcia. “It is not easy, but we are studying very hard.”

Dr. Angelica Suarez, vice president of student affairs at Southwestern College, said the school would distribute the funds only to undocumented students like Garcia.

“We think they are the ones who would benefit the most from these scholarships because they are not receiving anything from elsewhere,” she said.

Finally, there’s Mrs. Esther Hernandez Nuñez, a mother who only studied until fifth grade in her native Oaxaca. She obtained her elementary school certificate at a Mexican government-sponsored community plaza and is now completing middle school. Her goal, she said, is to complete high school.

The desire that made her continue with her studies has inspired her youngest son to improve his grades, she said.

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“Before he had bad grades, but looking at me studying, his academic performance has improved,” said Hernandez Nuñez, smiling.

For Gomez Arnau, these students’ stories reaffirm her belief: “The best thing a society can do for its people is to provide an education.”

To learn more about the IME-BECAS Program, visit www.consulmexsd.org.

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