Jaltepec Changed Her Life Forever
By Sally and Mike Myers
Alicia Rameño Chavez is living proof that attending Jaltepec Centro Educativo, an all-girl hotel and hospitality management technical university, located in the mountains above the village of El Chante, can change lives, not just for the students but also for their families and generations to come. Alicia started Jaltepec in the fall of 1968, and was in the very first graduating class in 1970. Now, at age 62, Alicia feels she owes her success and the successes of her family to Jaltepec.
She first heard about the school from her brother, who was a gardener for one of the original members of the foundation, which established this educational center for girls from impoverished families. She quickly enrolled and has never looked back. Now the mother of eight children, five girls and three boys, and the grandmother of fourteen children, she says her life would have been very different without her experience at Jaltepec.
She credits the school with instilling in her a work ethic that she has been able to pass on to her children. Alicia says, “If you are going to do a job, you must do it well.”
After graduation, Alicia got a job cooking for a private family in Ajijic. She then moved on to a small condominium complex where she cooked for ten families. Fifteen years ago, she started, with her husband, Cristobal, a taco business in their home; eight years ago, they bought a truck and now have a taco stand in the main plaza of San Juan Cosalá, which they open every night at 7 p.m.
Her husband has even benefited from Jaltepec. Because of her, he learned to read and write. Together, they have given their children a strong value system including belief in yourself, do any job correctly and well, keep God in your life, and the importance of family.
All of her children have completed higher education. Her oldest son Cristobal, Jr., attended military school and he just completed seven years of service to his country. Marisol attended a technical university and holds an administrative position. Teresa is a cooking teacher at the University of Monterrey. Another daughter, Monserrat, lives in Utah and works in retail sales. There is another teacher in the family, Jose, who studied computer engineering and is also a musician. Gabriel is a lawyer. Bernardette is an accountant. The youngest daughter, Alexia, just finished preparatory school and is considering attending Jaltepec. As busy as they all are, the whole family comes together at festival times to help their parents run the taco business.
Alicia attributes the success of her children to teaching them to be better people. She says, “There is violence and drugs everywhere, but teaching them good values and faith has kept our family united.” The children have been on the receiving end of their parent’s work ethic, and have learned not to waste time, to work hard, and always try to be a better person.
In January, there will be an open house and tour of the school, followed by a lunch. This is a great time to get to know the school and the students. Watch the Lakeside Living column for dates and times.
If you are in San Juan Cosalá any evening and find yourself feeling hungry, look in front of the church and you will find Alicia, her husband, and possibly other family members serving the best tacos in town. Alicia is a true success story and it all started for her at Jaltepec.