The Houston Independent School District is observing Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15, by honoring the Hispanics for whom many of the district’s schools are named.
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the contributions made to this country by people of Hispanic descent, including those whose ancestors immigrated from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
HISD features 22 schools that recognize the contributions of Hispanic civic and community leaders, who range from educators and civil servants to local restaurateurs, newscasters, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and even Nobel Prize-winners.
Below are six more HISD schools named after notable Hispanics. Last week we featured the first six as Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off.
DeZavala ES – Opened in 1929, this school is named for Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala (1789–1836), who was a distinguished Mexican statesman and diplomat. He was given the responsibility of colonizing Texas and led the struggle for its independence. He was elected interim vice president of the New Republic.
Farias ECC – Dedicated in 2005, this early childhood center honors Armandina Farias, an HISD educator who worked for the district more than 35 years. She began her career in 1960 at Zavala Elementary School and served as the principal of both Lee and Jefferson elementary schools. She was still working at Jefferson when she passed away. Farias was inducted into the National Hall of Fame of Hispanic Women in Leadership in 1990.
Gallegos ES – This school is named for Mario Martinez Gallegos, the late husband of former HISD board member Olga Gallegos, who was a firefighter with the Houston Fire Department for 21 years. He died of cancer in 1990 after retiring as a captain. Gallegos also served in the Navy during World War II and was a commander in the American Foreign Legion. The school opened in 1992.
Garcia ES – Dedicated in 1992, this elementary school is named after Marcario Garcia (1920–1972), who was a graduate of Sam Houston High School and fought in World War II. During the course of his military service, Garcia won two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars with Valor, and a Bronze Oak Leaf. He also won the nation’s highest award for valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was presented to him in 1945 by President Harry S. Truman. By the time Garcia retired, he had attained the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank possible.
Herrera ES – John J. Herrera was the 21st national president of the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC). The son of a San Antonio policeman, he was descended from one of the 14 original families to settle that city. The school named for him was built in 1992.
Laurenzo ECC – One of the first two facilities built by HISD to serve prekindergarten students exclusively, this school opened in the autumn of 2004. It is named for the Ninfa Rodríguez Laurenzo, a much-loved Houston restaurateur and community leader who recognized the importance of early childhood education. Laurenzo opened her first Mexican-food restaurant in 1969 in a converted warehouse on Houston’s east side. Over the next 10 years, she parlayed that restaurant’s success into a multi-million-dollar empire. The school named after her is located in the same neighborhood as her original restaurant. She died in June 2001.
SCHOOLS: We would like to retweet photos of your Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. Please include @HoustonISD in your Tweets, along with the hashtag #HispanicHeritageMonth.