«Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength» (Proverbs 8:14).
Jaime Alfonso Escalante Gutiérrez was born in La Paz (Bolivia) on December 31, 1930. He was an outstanding math teacher who came to the United States in 1964, at thirty-three years of age, not knowing how to speak English. To be able to get his accreditation as a teacher, he had to study English at night and do all kinds of work, such as cleaning services and preparing burgers in a small restaurant. One day he got a job at a computer company, but he changed jobs for a lower-paying one: professor of mathematics at the Garfield Institute in East Los Angeles (California, USA), where most of the students came from Hispanic families with low resources. Although he had only been hired to teach basic mathematics, he insisted on teaching his students much more than he had been asked to do. He made his classes truly motivational classes. He approached those young people in a personal way and taught them to believe in themselves. He invested many more hours out of his working day helping his students to understand mathematics. That’s how he persuaded them to learn calculus and go on to the advanced national exam. For several years, most of his students approved, many with the highest grades, which allowed these young people to access college scholarships. In 1988, Escalante received the Presidential Medal for Excellence in education from Ronald Reagan and was recognized as the most influential Hispanic teacher in the United States. Jaime Escalante taught at Garfield from 1974 to 1991 and changed the lives of many young people. He died on March 30, 2010.
What does it mean to be smart? The dictionary of the Royal National Academy of Medicine says that intelligence is the «faculty or ability to think, understand, deduce, induce, abstract, establish judgments and perform or create logical-rational operations to solve problems.» Being smart doesn’t depend on race, nationality, social status, or gender. Rather, it is a faculty that every human being can develop through constant effort. But today’s text ensures us that God can play a pivotal role in the development of intelligence. Therefore, it is necessary that it be a part of your great academic projects. The sum of divine power plus human effort gives rise to success in all areas of life.
Today, ask the Lord to help you listen to His voice and to strive to the fullest in your studies.