It is always fun to go to the Casa Thomas Jefferson graduation. It is the culmination of a lot of work and initiative. It is good to see such virtue.
There were three particularly interesting stories this time. One of the speeches was delivered by one of the oldest graduates. He was an air traffic controller who had learned English as an adult. This is hard enough to do, but he also learned English while working full-time. It is a heroic achievement. The other speaker was more traditional. His parents enrolled him in CTJ when he was a kid. He talked about the years of study at CTJ and said it wasn’t always much fun. He went on to say that his parents always said that English was the key to success, the international language that everyone had to learn to move ahead. He also said his parents said that he would thank them some day. He said they were right and thanked them. It was a very nice moment. The third person didn’t appear on stage, actually two people in this story. The one was a guy who had been a janitor at CTJ for almost twenty-five years. The other was his son, graduating with this year’s class. Both evidently loved the institution, although for slightly different reasons.
These stories are illustrative of the new Brazil, people taking advantage of opportunities and rising through their merits but with the help and support of the broader community. Ambassador Shannon gave a good speech highlighting the new Brazil. He also presented a certificate of appreciation to Ana Maria Assumpção, who retired as director this year with a total of thirty-eight years of service at CTJ. There is a lot of tradition in CTJ. Some of the students are now third generation, i.e. their parents and grandparents were associated with CTJ.
They will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary next year. Casa Thomas Jefferson has grown much bigger and much better in those fifty years. Actually, they grew along with Brasília. They now have six campuses all around the city and eight more in association with public schools. At any one time, they have around 16,000 students.
They are good friends and help us a lot, which is one reason I always try to take part in their events. We will hold this year’s election night celebration at the Lago Sul branch of CTJ this year, as we did four years ago.