Rafa Nadal’s speach during last year’s graduation. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

After four years of Secondary Education, the international school located in the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar has opened its doors to Primary Education. We interviewed Alexander Marcos, who is currently facing his most challenging year as Director of the school.

Q.— This is proving to be a complicated year, how has the Rafa Nadal International School coped with these extremely difficult months?
A. — I had never had such a complicated experience, but I have to admit that certain aspects were very rewarding. Before closing the real-life classrooms, we had already implemented a plan to become a 100% online school in order to continue achieving the same quality of education for our students, even remotely. And all the hard work really was worth it.

Q.— The school opened in 2016 with just Secondary Education. What prompted the inclusion of Primary Education?
A. — It has been nice to see such a positive response from the community and how well the primary-school students have fit in at the school. I admit that the really little ones have brought some extra joy to the site! In this first year of operation we have grown so much, but above all we wanted to be true to our values so that we did not sacrifice educational quality. For that reason, the growth of the school will always be sustained.

Q.— How have the little ones responded to online teaching?
A. — I have 3 daughters of 3, 8 and 11 years of age and I know all too well the difficulties of children adapting to a remote course and this experience has helped me understand the needs of the families and the important role of the parents. In that regard, I think that the students, parents and teachers have given us a life lesson in making big adjustments in such a complex situation.

Q.— Despite many people’s belief that it is only a school for tennis players, you are all keen to point out that it is open to all the children of Majorca. Could you explain that?
A. — Rafa always wanted to create a tennis academy in Manacor, but the project has always included an educational centre with first-class facilities from which the entire resident community of Majorca could benefit, not just international tennis players. In fact, we currently have more than 130 students who are not tennis players and they come to the school from 08:30 to 16:00 for the educational excellence we provide. Last year 28 students graduated and, although some young tennis players decided to go to Universities in the USA with scholarships so that they could continue to combine sport and education, many other non-tennis-playing students were awarded scholarships to study at some of the best universities in Europe.

Q.— During the first months of confinement we saw a message of encouragement from Rafa Nadal himself to the students and teachers. What does it mean to have Rafa as a role model in an educational institution?
A. — It’s very admirable to have a role model in someone who not only represents many values, but also practises them in his daily life. Rafa is a wonderful example to the students, the families, the teachers and the whole educational community.