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On Monday, October 20th, Esperanza Academy Charter High School students had the amazing opportunity to hear from the prolific Spanish journalist, Guillermo Fesser, at an event sponsored by Santander Shareholder Relations US.

Fesser is most known in Spain for his innovative morning radio talk show, Gomaespuma, where he became popular for using humor to interpret the news. His show ran for 25 years and had over 1 million listeners. He has written scripts and directed the movie Candida. Fesser has also edited and hosted news programs for Spain’s Public Television, TVE, and produced a puppet series for Tele5.

During his lecture, Fesser spoke of the importance of diversity in America and how this greatly influenced his book, One Hundred Miles From Manhattan. “The best thing about America is the diversity,” he said, “Every story in history is the same, but the characters are different. The characters make the story interesting, and America has a lot of character.”

One Hundred Miles From Manhattan is based off of real characters from small-town America, where Guillermo was inspired after moving to Rhinebeck, NY with his family. Stories include a man studying shamanism in order to speak to the spirit of bison in Texas, a cross country coach who reduced team injuries by encouraging athletes to run barefoot, and an individual who worked on the steam system beneath New York City.

All of these stories and more were shared with Esperanza Academy students on Monday. But, students took more than clever anecdotes away from the lecture. They were comforted, encouraged and inspired by Guillermo’s message, “We are all equally different.”

“He doesn’t judge people,” said one student, “That’s definitely going to be something I remember: that everyone’s different, but it doesn’t mean they’re wrong.”

Fesser’s interpretation and celebration of American diversity inspired one student to write again. “I used to write a lot of poetry, but I stopped because I didn’t think that people really appreciated it. But, now that I see what a story can do, I think I’m going to start writing again,” she said.

At Esperanza we truly believe that success breeds success, and giving our students the opportunity to interact with successful Hispanics is one way we are trying to strengthen our community. Clearly, Mr. Fesser’s presence in the classroom will have a positive, lasting effect on our students.

Each student received a special Santander Shareholders edition of his book One Hundred Miles from Manhattan, and Mr. Fesser personally signed every single one of them.

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