12-year-old opened his own school and is now teacher to 36 students

Aby Rivas
Dec 07, 2018
11:25 P.M.

This boy founded a school in the yard of his house with the help of his grandmother, and now has students of all ages.


The story of Leonardo Nicanor Quinteros, who at the age of 12 is the "director" of his own school, is inspiring many all around the world. His vocation and hard work drive him to follow his dreams, and his will to help others keep him trying harder every day.

Nico, as his loved ones call him, decided to start a project that today is a fundamental part of the daily routine of a group of children of different ages in the Las Piedritas neighborhood, in San Juan, Argentina.

The boy wanted to help other kids from the neighborhood "so that they would not repeat the grade" in school. He’s founded his little school four years ago and has helped dozens of kids with exams and papers.


With only eight years old he started to teach his cousins. Currently, 36 students attend the school called "Patria y Unidad,” which translates to “Homeland and Unity" and was founded with the help of his grandmother Ramona.


As reported by La Nación, Nico intended to help other children who had problems in school or learning difficulties.

Although every morning he goes to school as a student, in the afternoon he becomes the teacher and director of the makeshift school, and thanks to the help of neighbors and relatives, the school has a blackboard, a library, attendance records, and even a first aid kit.


Nico also wants his school to be managed like the others, so, he has a “director’s office” and every day before class the National Anthem is heard. He dreams with having a cafeteria for the students and everyone in the neighborhood that needs the extra meal.


In the “Patria y Unidad” school, classes begin at 2:00 pm and finish at 6:00 pm, although sometimes they can be extended a little longer, according to El Monterizo.


Most of the students are children who seek to reinforce what they learn in their schools, but anyone can attend regardless of age.

Nico is very attentive to his students and even offers them a cup of tea in winter or a glass of juice in the summer. The teenager takes his task as a teacher very seriously, and his valuable work helped him get a scholarship to study education once he finishes high school.

After his story became known, hundreds of donations, awards and recognitions arrived for the child.


Some of his classmates help him teach in different subjects, from math to language and music.

His relatives trust that Nico will go very far with his lessons. His grandmother said that something that started as a prank became something incredible, and she couldn’t be prouder of the amazing boy, as she expressed through tears.


While Nico started to follow his passions and is studying hard despite his young age, there’s a 90-year-old man that didn’t have the same possibilities while growing up. Claudio Melo, from Bogotá, Colombia, only reached the 4th grade before leaving school to start working and help his family.


Later in life, he didn’t have the chance to complete his studies because he had seven kids and a wife to provide for. However, once his kids started to grow up, they left one by one. Melo had to spend all of his money when his wife became terminally ill, and suddenly, he was left entirely alone.

However, the old man didn’t give up in life, and instead, decided that if he wanted to succeed in life, it was necessary to earn the education he had been missing all of his life.


He graduated from high school a few weeks ago and is now determined to enter University and study Agronomy, as he wants to follow his father’s steps.

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