Hailing from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Mateo has excelled both in his academic and social pursuits, which is why he was chosen for this interview.
Mateo has been actively involved in the National Society of High School Scholars, contributing to the Society's ambassador Facebook group on a regular basis and participating in an international ambassador Facebook conference with his fellow ambassadors.
Here is the full text of Mateo's interview:
#1. What led you to join NSHSS?
I have always been an active student. I keep my grades high. I give tutoring to some of the students who need help at my school. I am President of the Student Council. I am involved in extracurricular activities, such as marching band. And I am President of the "Literary Society" -a group that my brothers and I started at our school to promote reading and writing-. When my school nominated me to be a member of the NSHSS I thought of it as a great opportunity for me to be recognized for all the effort I have put to my activities, not only in my school, or in my community, but internationally. When I received the formal invitation from the NSHSS in my mail box, I knew I would accept being a member, because such honor served to me as a motivation to keep working as hard as I have been working till now.
#2. What benefits have you received as a result of being an NSHSS Ambassador?
As an NSHSS Ambassador, the benefits I have received as a result include:
-Recognition among my fellow students, my school and my community.
-"EDUCARE", a magazine that is freely distributed throughout the schools of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México, wrote an article about me being an ambassador of the NSHSS as a recognition.
-Motivation and satisfaction to give students from Mexico the opportunity to be part of a great organization, in which all the effort they have put into academics is reflected and recognized internationally.
-I have met a lot of Ambassadors from around the world with whom I've made friends to learn about their cultures.
-Meet Ambassadors with whom I am working to start NSHSS projects to help the international community.
#3. Where did you attend elementary/middle/high school and for what grades did you attend each?
I attended elementary and middle school in Mexico City, Mexico. I went to a private school called "Colegio Reina María" the first two years of elementary. Afterwards, I moved to a public school called "La Tres Américas" for the next two years. For fifth and sixth grades, I moved to an English private school called "Colegio Williams". I attended another private school called "Instituto Boston" for seventh and eighth grades. When finished eighth grade, I migrated to McAllen, Texas, where I studied ninth and half of tenth grades. Due to my migrant status, I had to move back to Mexico, to a city called Reynosa which borders south Texas. In Reynosa, I have studied tenth and eleventh grades, and I am currently a senior.
#4. What are the three most rewarding things you have gotten out of life?
In no specific order, the most three rewarding things I have gotten out of life are the following:
-Being accepted to be an Ambassador for the NSHSS and having the opportunity to give mexican students (who reside in Mexico) the same great opportunity that students from the U.S.A. have to be internationally recognized for their academic excellence.
-Having the opportunity, as President of the Student Council of my school (Preparatoria Federal por Cooperación "José de Escandon") to recognize, through an honor roll, the continuous effort of the students, and to give them the opportunity to fully develop through artistic, cultural, academic, athletic and ecological activities.
-Being part of a group of students who, in order to give love and promote reading among those kids who lack of parents, goes to foster homes twice a week to read and play with foster kids.
#5. Tell me five things about your childhood/upbringing.
a. I was raised without a television. My parents didn't want ideas different than theirs to influence me as a child. Therefore, my house, no matter where I've lived (Mexico City, McAllen or Reynosa), my house lacks of T.V.
b. Since I was a kid, my parents have read stories to me at night. They started reading short stories and fables to my brothers and me, but as we have become older, the lectures have changed. Now, not only to continue the tradition, but to dedicate a special moment for the family, they read to us novels from authors like Jules Verne, or Emilio Salgari, every night, and we discuss them.
c. At the age of 14, my family and I migrated to the United States of America looking for better education opportunities. My dad stayed in Mexico City in order to send us money to sustain our living in America.
d. In America, I took two classes that highly influenced my life: English I and English II. My English teachers (Mrs. Gina García and Mr. Daniel García-Ordaz) introduced me formally to the world of literature. They made me love it. That is where I started analysing what I read, and where I started writing. Now, I have a written story called Un Sueño en Blanco (A Blank Dream) that will be published in an anthology book after receiving an honorific mention in a national contest in Mexico, and Teen Ink, an American magazine for teens, published an article I wrote titled "Pursuing the Mexican Dream." This love for literature drove me to start a "Literary Society" at my school in Reynosa, Mexico.
e. A few day before I turned sixteen years old, my mom was deported from the United States of America due to our immigrant status. My brothers and I stayed with my English teachers who offered us their house in case our problem was solved. After two weeks of living in their house, my brothers and I crossed the border to meet with my parents in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, where I live now.
#6. What are your thoughts on the mexican government and living in Mexico in general? How would you compare those thoughts to the United States government and people you know who live in the United States?
Regardless of the political party that comes to power in Mexico, I must highlight the intentions that they all have to achieve common benefits for the population, emphasizing, according to their ideology, their activity towards different fields of national development.
In general, life in Mexico is beautiful because it provides a wealth of opportunities for personal development and the possibility to help those persons who, for some reason, have not fully taken advantage of, or have been unable to take full advantage of the opportunities that are given to us by our government and our society in general.
Mexican government has been working for the inclusion of our country into the global stage, not only from the economic and political views, but from the legal and cultural views, and all of this has been translating into an increase in the standard of living of the population, somehow emphasizing the similarity that exists, not only between Mexico and the U.S.A., but to all those governments who fight in defense of the human dignity of the governed and the consequences resulting therefrom.
#7. Tell me your favorite two things about Mexico.
a. Its rich culture.
b. Its people.
#8. What are two quotes you live by and embody everyday?
"Carpe Diem" -Horace (but with the interpretation that Ovid used for the word Carpe).
"Navigare necesse est, vivere non est necesse" -Pompeyo