By FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ
In a school year that has arguably been marred by tragedy and controversy within the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District, there are those who have painted a different picture of the academic institution – a more thoughtful one.
Such thoughtfulness is present in fundraising conducted by district employees to aid the family of 38-year-old Juan Luis Espinoza, a San Benito CISD bus driver killed in a motor vehicle collision early Friday morning.
But this is not the first time that district employees have come together to help one of their own.
When Gustavo Gonzalez, an employee with the San Benito CISD Maintenance Department, was battling cancer and needed time to recover from chemotherapy and radiation treatment, employees throughout the district came to his aid and donated their own sick days to Gonzalez.
Then there was the case of 7-year-old Ruby Ramirez, a first grade student at Sullivan Elementary School who died on January 29. The community came together to accumulate funds to help Ramirez’ family incur the costs of funeral expenses. A large portion of those funds came from employees within the San Benito CISD.
Specifically, approximately $5,182.28 in donations was collected from students, employees and various organizations within the district.
On what motivates school district staff and students to donate, Community Relations Director Celia Longoria explained that the district has long exhibited a propensity to give.
“They have always been very generous in the past,” said Longoria. “Anytime we have had a situation in our schools or the community, our students, staff and community came together. The school district has a history of being very generous.”
Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón echoed Longoria’s sentiments and attributed his employees’ gestures to tight-knit relationships nurtured by staff members throughout the years.
“We’re a family,” Limón said. “We try to help each other out as much as possible. When one of us hurts, all of us hurt. We want to come to the assistance of those in need. We’re all part of the same family. We like to teach our children to come to the aid of those in need. That’s a lesson that we want to teach at school as well.”
“I feel that we have a very caring community,” Longoria further noted. “Our student groups also do their part. They are always giving back to the community. They value the importance of giving back.”
In addition, the superintendent said he’s pleased to see his employees react with consideration toward their fellow co-workers. “It makes me feel proud that I’m part of an organization that helps when there is need,” Limón said. “No amount of donations can bring back a person who has passed away, but it’s one last thing a family has to worry about.”
Read this story in the March 3 edition of the San Benito News, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.