In 1998, Julio Vázquez, as the President and CEO of Ibero American Action League, saw the Charter School Legislation as an opportunity to improve the educational alternatives for city students. Through Mr. Vázquez’s leadership, Ibero American Action League agreed to sponsor the development of a charter school. Ibero American Action League is a non-profit, grassroots organization. Its mission is to empower and enable the Latino community and others to reach for a better life. It carries out its mission through the following programs: Family Services, Development Disabilities, Residential Services, Project Link, Early Childhood Services, Education and Training, Centro de Oro (Senior Citizens), Emergency and Volunteer Services. The charter school legislation provided another avenue for Ibero to carry out its mission.
Mr. Vázquez brought together Dr. Miriam Vázquez, who was a principal in one of the schools within the Rochester City School District, and Mr. Eugenio Marlin who was the Vice-President for Development and Communications at Ibero, to discuss the possibilities of submitting an application for a charter school. In addition, parents, the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum, YMCA, Hochstein School of Music and several area colleges were asked to be involved. They proposed a bilingual school to the State University of New York (SUNY) Charter School Institute. The following people became the founding members for the development of the school application: Mr. Julio Vázquez, Dr. Miriam Vázquez, Mr. Eugenio Marlin, Mr. George Romell (President YMCA Greater Rochester), Ms. Maribel Maldonado (Parent), Dr. Mark LaCelle-Peterson (State University College at Geneseo) and Dr. Margaret Quackenbush (President Hochstein School of Music). Upon consensus, the group agreed to name the school Eugenio María de Hostos. The name, Eugenio María de Hostos, was chosen because Mr. de Hostos is an excellent example of the importance of people helping others, as well as how one person can positively impact the lives of so many.
In March of 2000, SUNY approved the application and a charter was issued authorizing the establishment of the Eugenio María de Hostos Charter School. The school welcomed its first group of 120 Kindergarten through second-grade students in September 2000. During its first charter, the school grew to include grades K – 6. The middle school grades were added in September 2010. During its third renewal, the school was authorized to expand from 2 sections to 4 sections per grade level and to add the high school grades.
Who was Eugenio María de Hostos?
Born Jan 11, 1839, Eugenio María de Hostos was known as El Gran Ciudano de las Americas.” He was a famous educator, philosopher and author who was outspoken about the independence of Puerto Rico.
As a child, he was raised in a family that heavily valued education and he even traveled as far as Spain to attend college, where he studied law, politics, and education. He was an outspoken feminist, human rights activists and abolitionist and these beliefs formed his work.
In fact, his college for teachers showed educators new ways to better instruct students. Eugenio María de Hostos understood that the needs of students must form the base of education.
He is buried in the Dominican Republic to this day, where he wishes to stay until Puerto Rico has gained its independence.