“The principal really embraced technology, but the teachers didn’t,” said Vasquez. “You can have the tech but if you don’t know what to do with it, the students will not benefit from it.”

Life brought him to Miami. It has been the ideal place to start addressing the digital divide. The city is close to Latin American tech scene and small enough to network and collaborate with the private and public sector. It also boasts the nation’s fourth largest public school district, with a student population that overwhelmingly eligible for free or reduced price lunch (69%).

Microsoft Philanthropies’ Lucas Hernandez also sees Miami’s potential and credits Vazquez and other local entrepreneurs for creating a new blueprint for community building and social impact. They partnered with Miami Ed Tech because they saw Vasquez as honest, ethical leader with a relentless commitment.

“Before people can reap the benefits that technological progress brings to the world, they must first have access to learn how to use these technologies. [Yet] there is a clear divide in who has historically received that high quality access,” Hernandez said. “Carlos has sacrificed and put in the work to be great for the benefit of his community.”

Vasquez wants to continue assembling a strong mix of private investors, grassroots leaders and municipal officials to perfect his programs and expand them around the nation, including back to the Bronx. He understands that his unique set of business skills and tech expertise could equal a different life somewhere in the start ups of Silicon Valley. But with a young son looking up to him, Vasquez hopes to cement a legacy that will lift up a new generation of educators and students.Surely, Mrs. Williams would be proud.

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About The Author

Elbert Garcia is a Dominican-American writer and communications strategist based in Miami. He is dedicated to organizing stories for change. Born and raised in Washington Heights, Garcia has spent the the last two decades in education, government and the media helping to shape messages and voices for public impact.

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