Blog

Olympic Gold Medalist and DreamBuilder

Written by: Michael Reardon, Fall '13

OlympicWith over 5,000 high schoolers in attendance, this was to be one of the premier events ever seen in Calama, let alone in Chile. As we walked into the Theater in the Plaza Centro, the roar of Chile’s first ever Entrepreneurial Fair met our ears. This Fair, funded by El Abra Freeport-McMorRan Copper and Gold, was to be a two-day career fair for the youth of Antofagasta. DreamBuilder was to be the special guest of PROdeMU for this historic occasion. DreamBuilder Fellow, Khandle Hedrick, and I were introduced to both the Mayor and Governor in Calama in order to rally their help in spreading the word about DreamBuilder. Local newspapers and news channels were busy snapping photographs and gathering recordings with all of the political leaders that made it out for the grand event.

The day began with a packed gymnasium awaiting the two special guests that were scheduled for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Our first speaker was none other than Horatio de la Peña, the famous Argentinian tennis coach who has coached numerous gold title Olympic champions. De la Peña spent an hour talking to the young men and woman about the importance of passion in what you do and how this can carry you throughout your life to accomplish your dreams—fitting for DreamBuilder! After his charismatic speech, de la Peña brought out the star of the day, Nicholás Massú, the two-time Olympic gold medalist from here in Chile. A few students were even able to come hit around the tennis ball with him on the gym floor. It was incredible to see these young people feel so empowered next to Massú.
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After the inaugural ribbon cutting ceremony in which indigenous pueblos performed for the honored guests, it was time for the high schoolers to descend upon the gym floor. Over the course of the two days, thousands upon thousands of students were shuttled and bused to Colegio Chuquequimata where they were met by over 20 business, government organization, military, and university stands. This fair gave them the opportunity to begin to think about what their next steps will be upon graduating from high school. PROdeMU had the opportunity to give a 20-minute presentation to the attendees that they graciously gave to DreamBuilder. The students couldn’t have been more excited about the program and I’m sure it will prove to be an excellent recruiting opportunity for the program!