It has been said, tongue in cheek, that no good deed goes unpunished. Since one of the antonyms for punishment is reward, many would probably take issue with this perhaps faux truism. You, the reader, will be the best judge, making an informed decision after reading this illustrative tale.
Rosy Torres is the President of the Boys and Girls Club of Rosarito Beach. Last September she was invited to attend a meeting of the Baja Scholarship Foundation, a philanthropic group founded by Judy Kesson several decades ago. The event was held at a rancho nestled in the hills northeast of the small community of Primo Tapia, located about 15 miles south of Rosarito. The purpose of the festive occasion was to honor forty two young people whose path to a higher education was being underwritten by altruistic contributions from expatriates living in the area. In particular, Rosy was interested in a young member of her Club, Andrea Garcia Cansino. She had been classified as a ‘superdotada’ based on the results of academic testing which supported her superior performance at her school. Her patrons, Pete and Rosemary Morris, were present at the conclave.
A musical performance by two young girls was one of the features of the day’s activities. Alicia Palafax Herrera and Andrea Gallegos were outstanding on their guitar duet. Rosy decided to honor them by awarding them scholarships at the three-day Talleres (Workshops) scheduled to kick off October’s 4th Annual Rosarito Beach International Mariachi & Folklorico Festival. They would be taught by world class musicians from the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas and el mejor del mundo, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan.
Less than two weeks later, the good news got even better. Rosy made a presentation at the Primo Tapia school attended by the young guitarists and got to meet their teacher, maestro Saul Garfio. Donations had been coming in to the Club at a pace sufficient for her to offer scholarships to all of the fifteen young musicians who were members of the Professor’s Equipo Guitarras (Guitar Team). In addition, she told him about one of the special features of the festival, the Competencias (Competitions). World class judges would listen to & evaluate performances from the competitors and award a total of $10,000 (US) in prize money. If their leader could arrange their ‘guitars-only’ music into the harmonies of the mariachi ensemble, it was agreed that they would be accepted as an entrant.
On Sunday morning, October 6th, the three non-pareil arbiters…Laura Sobrino (the maestra of Mariachi Mujer 2000), Adrian Perez (the harpist for Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano), and Professor Herman Rodriguez ( ranchero recording artist and faculty member at California State University-Northridge)…chose the local group as champions of their Intermedio category. In particular they praised their performance of the classic ‘Rogaciano el Huapanguero’ and that afternoon, at the closing ceremonies, awarded them the $1300 first prize.
The ‘capper’ to this inspirational short story is that Professor Garfio and his students are now regular volunteer music teachers to the members of their local Boys and Girls Club.
It does seem that rewarded is a much better fit than punished, don’t you think?