Photos: Casa Real.
Spain’s Queen Letizia was in Tenerife yesterday to inaugurate the new academic year in a public school in a far from privileged part of the island. The visit was to the San Matías area of La Laguna, a neighbourhood comprising many poor working families, and which has a primary and junior school with a renowned reputation for using innovative and integrating teaching models. Education for those who will struggle in finding employment is very clearly an area close to the Queen’s heart, and she was in Tenerife with her husband, King Felipe VI, in April this year to hear, among other things, about the Tenerife Cabildo’s social projects and to meet with organizations and businesses involved in promoting employment.
The Queen is also very interested in environmental issues and visited the school’s ecological garden during her visit. Indeed, one of the projects the school is engaged in concerns renewable energy for a sustainable neighbourhood, and she met the pupils whose class recently won a national award. All these reasons are no doubt why this school was chosen to be the royal focus of the opening of the new school year.
The Queen was accompanied by Education Minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Canarian President Fernando Clavijo, Tenerife President Carlos Alonso, La Laguna mayor José Alberto Díaz, and San Matías headmaster Jacinto Díaz, among other dignitaries. Despite the formality of the occasion, however, Doña Letizia was warmly received by parents and locals, and took full advantage of the opportunity to meet them as the visit drew to a close. Indeed, as Tenerife president Carlos Alonso said, the Queen has repeatedly shown herself to be a down-to-earth mother who wants to be close to the people. Close to them yesterday she was, and they all loved her.