Driven by their commitment to contribute to the healthy development of Puerto Rican youth, the School of Landscape Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico visited the Centro AME of the Missionary Sisters of Christ the Savior in Arecibo to give a motivational speech about the challenges and benefits of developing athletic and academic gifts, as well as the effort it requires.
Olympic gymnast Tommy Ramos, a graduate student in landscape architecture at the Polytechnic, Marisabel Rodríguez, landscape architect and Director of the PUPR School of Landscape Architecture, and architect, sculptor and Professor Jaime Suárez came together at the Centro AME to talk with the young people present about the challenges of being an athlete, student and professional.
Thirty-two boys and girls, ages 8 to 15, gathered to meet Ramos, who spoke about the dedication and sacrifices required to develop his athletic gifts in gymnastics. This dedication, he says, ultimately allowed him to represent Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“I’ve been practicing gymnastics for 21 years; ever since I was five years old and I told my parents I wanted to ‘learn to spin’. Being an athlete requires four to six hours of daily training, and also make time for my studies in Landscape Architecture,” he said. “Don’t ask me how I do it, but I do. However, the sacrifice paid off. All sacrifices pay off.”
Meanwhile, Rodriguez spoke about the importance of developing academic gifts to succeed as professionals, as well as the opportunities for young professionals in the fields of design and green careers, such as landscape architecture. Suárez, who collaborates with the Centro AME as a consultant, took the shape of the hands of the kids, staff and partners of the Center to create a ceramic mural.
The mural will be unveiled at the inauguration of the Center’s new headquarters on May 26, when an ironwood tree donated by the Polytechnic will also be planted.
“It’s extremely important to me, as it is for the School of Landscape Architecture and the Polytechnic University, to sow the seeds of motivation, the seeds of inspiration, in the youth of Puerto Rico,” Rodríguez said.