Meet the 12-year-old boy who founded a free private school in Argentina—youngest school principal in the world


At the age of 12, Leonardo Nicanor Quinteros from Argentina is just like any other junior high school students but he already has a bigger responsibility and role; running a free private school.

His private school is not limited to young students but also adults.

As someone who loves to study, Quinteros knows how important having an education is and tries to spread the love of knowledge to people around him.

It began after he noticed that some of his peers struggling to keep up at school which led to many of them neglecting their studies and spending most of their time playing on the streets.

Determined to change the situation, Quinteros decided to do something.

He told his grandmother, Ramona, that he wanted to operate his own private school and asked for her permission to build the school next to their house in Las Piedritas near San Juan, Argentina.

Ramona fully supported her grandson’s initiative and today, Quinteros’ school already has 40 students, all are studying for free at the school.

The 12-year-old boy acts as both the school principal and the teacher, making him the youngest school principal ever.

Now, Quinteros can proudly say that his initiative is a success as the school has helped make a big impact on most of the students.

Even though the school may be way smaller than typical schools, it is comfortable and good enough for the students to get free education from Quinteros.

With the help from his neighbors and organizations who are impressed with his determination to provide free education, the school is getting better every day. The students now have their own desks, chairs, lockers, a blackboard and a bell to sound for recess.

The school also has its own sound system that allows them to play Argentina’s national anthem before the classes begin, just like other local schools.

It is beyond impressive that a 12-year-old boy like Quinteros sees the importance of education and how he tries his best to ensure that his peers and other young children have access to quality education.

Come rain or shine, Quinteros who lives 20 minutes away from the school will get on his bicycle and pedals along the path to the school to teach the classes.

Sometimes when the students cannot attend his classes during the day, he will run the classes at night to make sure no students are left behind.

As his grandmother, Ramona cannot be prouder with what Quinteros is working on. “He does not miss school, he is amazing. I can not believe what he does,” she said.

Quinteros’ private school now has 36 students who are relatively younger than him, as young as kindergarten level and four other students who are adults.

Even though he may be only 12 years old, the young school principal does his best to help his students in studies. Many of his students said that the school has helped them to learn how to write, read and calculate.

One of Quinteros’ students told Clarin, “It helped me to pass the grade, now I’m in third grade.”

Quinteros’ story is inspiring not just those in Argentina but also everyone around the world. The young boy managed to prove that young people can be a huge asset to any community and that poverty is not an obstacle when it comes to getting an education.

Credit: Clarin


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