Hats off.

As a teenager, the pop star Shakira fought illiteracy, teaching reading at a parochial school in the humble La Playa district of her hometown on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

The multiple Grammy winner (above, with the president of Colombia and two unidentified women in a pic from AP by Jairo Castilla) dedicated a $6 million school on Wednesday sponsored by her foundation, Pies Descalzos.

Shakira was accompanied by President Alvaro Uribe, who decorated her with a medal. The 13,000-square-meter (140,000-sq.-ft.) school will cater to 1,800 students and is the fifth the singer-songwriter’s foundation has built.

Shakira said her foundation’s work is all about “breaking the myth that quality education is the privilege of the few.”

When gen ñ interviewed Shakira for her first US magazine cover back in ’96 – she was a humble, kind young girl that would give you a sip of her soda two minutes after meeting you. She said she loved Janice Joplin and wanted to be an artist that would always be remembered, like Janice. She’ll be remembered for more than just her great music. Kudos and Hats off you S.

Commitment. Gloriously.

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