Monday, December 6, 2021

Eye on Immokalee

Eduardo Diego-Marroquin - "Do what you love. Love what you do."

Submitted Photo | Eduardo Diego-Marroquin in 2020.

A great building needs a solid foundation. A great builder needs a solid education.

Meet Eduardo Diego-Marroquin, a 17-year-old senior at Immokalee High School. Eduardo, a participant in the Engineering and Construction Management Career Pathway at The Immokalee Foundation, understands that education is key to success in his field.

Eduardo is the third of four children and was raised in Immokalee. As his two older sisters studied with The Immokalee Foundation, Eduardo recognized the benefits.

The Career Pathways program is a career-centric program that engages students beginning in the sixth grade and guides them throughout their educational journeys. The goal is to select a professional career and earn the credentials necessary to achieve their dreams. 

“Do what you love, love what you do” has become Eduardo’s philosophy in life. This catchphrase also reflects why his friends describe him as “loyal and trustworthy.” 

His strong academic record includes math as his favorite subject. He knows how important math is for budgeting in construction. 

Plus, he is already accomplished at woodworking, a passion that has enabled him to develop his creative ideas and make practical works of art that ultimately become sources of pride for his family and friends.

Eduardo’s recent projects include crafting 12 small wooden boxes with lids as Christmas gifts. He also used a router table to create a life-like sunflower on wood with intricately carved center seeds. 

When Eduardo looks at a piece of furniture or a house, he carefully considers what it takes to make it all come together. That curiosity led him to explore The Immokalee Foundation’s Engineering & Construction Management Pathway. 

Through the Foundation, Eduardo can actively pursue industry-recognized credentials from National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). He has completed a critical OSHA course and continues to progress through NCCER Core modules such as masonry.

Hands-on experience is critical when pursuing construction management, especially in materials and technologies. Eduardo is also part of The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways Learning Lab, a construction internship program intended to develop his professional skills and knowledge through real-world construction experience.

By volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, Eduardo learned to install insulation. He hopes to gain more onsite knowledge by volunteering to assist a fellow church parishioner who owns a painting business.

Eduardo sees himself eventually managing residential projects and working on renovations and restorations of older structures, with farmhouse styles a favorite. 

He already knows that his work on homes is ultimately meant to house families—and their memories. Just talking about it ignites another one of his trademark smiles, a clear demonstration of his depth of pride.

When asked about the qualities of a good construction manager, he cites trust and a positive attitude. Eduardo recognizes clients and employees like to work with people they trust, people who will deliver for them.

Randy Pettinger from Ave Maria has been his mentor since last fall. Due to the pandemic, their relationship has developed over Zoom. 

Eduardo is grateful for Randy’s help in navigating the college experience and application process. After taking The Foundation’s college tour, he applied to Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Southwestern and Florida International.

Eduardo’s role models are his parents, who are positive people. They work together as a family to find solutions to obstacles. A process he is sure has resulted in numerous positive outcomes to challenges he has encountered. 

What projects are next? His oldest sister was recently engaged. She and her fiance asked Eduardo to build them an arch for their wedding. And then, he would love to build a house for his family.

“Eye on Immokalee” is a student profile series from The Immokalee Foundation. The Foundation provides a wide range of educational programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence.

Participating students achieve a 100% high school graduation rate, 100% continue to postsecondary programs, and 91% complete their professional certification programs or college educations.

To learn more about becoming a mentor, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, donating, or including the Foundation in your estate plans, call 239-430-9122 or visit



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