By Jennifer Stanko
Fifteen years of students, parents, teachers and friends gathered at Fuentes Elementary Saturday to reminisce on the anniversary of the school’s opening.
The event was part of the Fuentes Family Reunion, which was held as an event for past or present students, parents, and faculty.
According to Fuentes Elementary School Principal Gina Butcher, the event was more than just a fundraiser.
“This event is not a fundraiser, but a ‘fun-raiser’ for the school and is a celebration of community,” Butcher said.
Mariachi music filled the air as the adults played catch up and children enjoyed face painting, a petting zoo and bounce houses.
Tara Madden, a former teacher at Fuentes Elementary, said she flew all the way from North Carolina to attend Saturday’s event.
“This is such a special place and I could not miss it,” Madden said.
According to Butcher, what makes Fuentes so unique is its sense of family and high spirits.
“We are not of the same blood, but of the same belief,” Butcher said when describing the Fuentes Elementary sense of family.
Attendees also gathered to reminisce on the school’s namesake, the late Susie Fuentes.
Fuentes was a Kyle native and spent most of her days volunteering at Kyle Elementary School, reading to and mentoring the students.
The community knew of Ms. Fuentes’ dedication to literacy and children, and recommended that this elementary school be named in her honor. The school board unanimously confirmed their request.
At the time of the dedication, no other school was named after someone who was not famous. But to everyone who knew Fuentes, she was a local icon.
Bob Fuentes, Susie’s son, reminisced about his mother and recalled that although she did not have a formal education, she was dedicated to providing education to children. He stated that when his mother found out that the school was going to be named after her, she said, “I thought you had to be dead for them to name a building after you.” He laughed and told her it was being named to honor her.
Principal Butcher, stated, “We believe in community and literacy just like Susie Fuentes, and we will carry on her legacy.”
The attendees truly feel that legacy is being carried on today.
This was the first of many expected reunions for the school. There is no set schedule yet for the next reunion, but the plan is to have one every five years.