Florencio Navarrete, former director of the San Pablo de Teruel school: “I signed Labordeta because he was an interesting guy”

This Friday his ex-students from Colegio Menor San Pablo de Teruel will pay tribute to him, in which José Antonio Labordeta, Eloy Fernández Clemente, José Sanchis Sinisterra, Federico Jiménez Losantos or Joaquín Carbonell. What a campus!

I am proud that they coincided in my school, of course. There were good teachers there, like Labordeta, Sanchis Sinisterra or Fernández Clemente.

And also good students, because last Tuesday Federico Jiménez Losantos, upon receiving the Antonio Mompeón Motos award from HERALDO, remembered you with affection as the director of Colegio San Pablo.

Yes. And I was surprised, because the students have given me more than I have given them. I am also surprised that they have kept the essence of Colegio San Pablo throughout their lives to the extent that many former students have named their children Pablo.

Do you have a soft spot for any of your disciples?

No, I have great affection for all of them. From the humblest to the most illustrious. Most came from towns and studied on scholarships.

What was special about that minor school to illuminate that list of intellectuals?

It created an atmosphere of freedom.

Was it an anomaly in the Teruel of late Francoism?

Yes, in Teruel and in Spain. I wanted to implement here the model that I had experienced as a student at the Pinilla school in Madrid, which made a great impression on me because of how advanced it was. So much so that they closed it.

What do you think that now your former students pay tribute to you?

It seems too much to me. That indicates that they have affection for me, the same as I have for them. If I reincarnated again, I would found the school again.

Did the flashiness of some of those students from San Pablo, such as Jiménez Losantos or Carbonell, surprise you, or were they already pointing out ways?

They were seen coming. They stood out. Federico was very intelligent. You had to be very careful with the quotes you used because if you made a mistake, he would reproach you for the mistake in the middle of class. And Carbonell was a model for his teammates, a leader.

How did José Antonio Labordeta get to school?

I recruited Labordeta as head of studies. I signed him because he seemed like an interesting guy.

Why did the so-called Pauline Generation of intellectuals emerge between the end of the 1960s and the early 1970s and was a similar phenomenon never repeated in Teruel?

Because the school was a student residence and the students, starting in the seventies, with the creation of institutes, stayed to study in their regions, which seems very good to me.

The school is now a residence for the elderly. Is it a consequence of the times of depopulation and aging that run through the province?

You had to adapt to the times. She couldn’t fight reality. Something had to do with the building. She had a lot of love for him. Tearing it down to build floors seemed to destroy my illusions.

Has old age replaced youth?

I could turn the school into a hotel, but I didn’t like the idea, or into a residence. And in Teruel there was a demand for residence places and there still is.

Florencio Navarrete, former director of the San Pablo de Teruel school: “I signed Labordeta because he was an interesting guy”