From the San Marcos school district
Maria Hernandez Intermediate School has been saluting veterans ever since they opened the doors to their new school 14 years ago.
This year, students and faculty conducted two ceremonies – one at 8:30 am and another at 9:30 am —to accommodate all the scheduled activities. Lt. Col. Thomas Moore, a Texas State University military science professor, was the guest speaker who talked to the students about why he considered his life of service as a privileged career. Over 500 students attended in each of the ceremonies.
Principal Sandra Reyes reminded the students that the area between the cafeteria and the library was dedicated as the school’s “Victory Garden,” commemorating the Victory Gardens of World War II. They have added picnic tables, trees, shrubs, walkways, and bird houses. Most recently, several Hernandez parents have been working to lay rock and paint the picnic tables. Reyes said, “Our student leadership group at Hernandez is called the Veterans’ Volunteers. They led a campaign to raise money to honor community veterans. They created hand made items, designed games and commercials to raise money to help continue the building of the Veteran’s Memorial located across from the San Marcos Activity Center and for our own Hernandez Victory Garden.”
Reyes then reported that the entire student body had contributed “a quarter at a time” to raise over $500 this year. Mr. Domingo “Toby” Tobias and Mr. Ponte Moreno, both representatives of the Hays County Veteran’s Memorial committee, were on hand to accept the donation on behalf of the memorial.
In honor of those persons who have served in the military, Hernandez participated in an oral history project wherein students interviewed veterans and made posters in his or her honor. Over 500 posters are handing in the hallways and cafeteria on display. The posters were judged by the members of the San Marcos American Legion Post 144 and the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 144. The winners of the poster contest were: Zorida Vences, Brianna Pratt, Adrianna Garcia, and Angelisa Barrientos (tied for Honorable Mention); 5th place Miranda Doss, 4th place Madeline Bumgardner, 3rd place Carl Ahrens, 2nd place, Caitlyn Banning, and 1st place Samantha Huebner.
All 6th grade students honored veterans by writing a poem expressing the theme: The Price of Freedom. The poems were judged by members of the San Marcos American Legion Post 144 and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 144. Winner were: 8th place Peyton Bonner, 7th place Fredy Benitez, 6th place Rene Vasquez, Jr.; 5th place Amanda Bagget; 4th place Maci Diaz, 3rd place Victoria Rinear, 2nd place Trinity Rinear, and 1st place Natalie Rios. The first and second place winners read their poems aloud for the assemblies.
Also, for the first time, Hernandez participated in the Patriot’s Pen competition sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary. The winners of the essay competition were: 6th place Liza Perez, 5th place Ariel Koska, 4th place Ali Herington, 3rd place Cameron Bustos, 2nd place Kayleb Pettinger, and 1st place Victoria Rinear. Both Pettinger and Rinear read aloud their award winning essays.
Hernandez students sang a medley of patriotic songs accompanied by a slide show.
— IRIS CAMPBELL