When Henry asked Brianna to interview with Joaquin he told her: “I’m really proud of Joaquin. His story is a microcosm of what I’ve been trying to achieve with the foundation.”
Henry then went on to describe how Joaquin ended up at the foundation. “One of the nation’s Governors shipped a bunch of immigrants to our city. Joaquin was sent here. He was separated from his parents, and we have never been able to find them. As far as I could tell, he had never been to school when he arrived here.”
“I keep project boxes all around the building. These are just collections of junk that kids can play with. Joaquin took a special interest in the mechanical/electrical junk and started taking it apart. When one of our older residents saw Joaquin’s interests, he started showing him the basics of how the devices worked. That was the crucible moment for Joaquin.”
When Brianna interviewed Joaquin, he told her that he hated the lessons he was being taught. But that changed when Jose started tutoring him. Rather than reading the books for his class, Jose showed Joaquin how to read instruction manuals. Math lessons started focusing on the principles behind the devices Joaquin was curious about. Joaquin was a fast learner. Later on, he was tested to have a very high IQ.
Joaquin went on to describe how he still didn’t like school, but he was very interested in his math and science classes. By this time Joaquin had started inventing gadgets using the new knowledge he had acquired.
Following her interviews with Joaquin, Henry asked her for advice. “It’s unlikely that Joaquin will have the grades to get into a four-year college. Should we keep him on a college-prep track or suggest he go to a vo-tech school?”
Brianna began to get a glimpse of her future as Henry’s successor. As she thought about Henry’s question, she began to realize that Joaquin was a true learner. And his learning didn’t have to happen in a classroom. Henry’s talent was not something that would benefit from a traditional education. He needed freedom to pursue his curious mind wherever it took him. She had a thought for Henry: “Why don’t we find a mentor for Joaquin where he could develop his creative talents? Henry would probably benefit more from an apprenticeship at this point than he could from a piece of paper he would get from continuing in school.”
Henry just smiled. He had selected his successor well.
* * *
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one becomes a master.”
– Ernest Hemingway