ECISD announced the six names that will adorn its new schools, beginning with four new elementary schools in the fall.
The board voted unanimously at their regular meeting on April 28, to designate the following names to the new schools:
A fourth high school will be named after legendary EHS coach Robert Vela following a motion by Trustee David Torres and second by Greg Garcia.
A new middle school will be named after former school board president Elias Longoria Sr.; motion by Greg Garcia and seconded by Carmen Gonzalez.
A new elementary school on Alberta Road will be named after Edinburg’s first Hispanic mayor, Alfonso Ramirez; motion by Carmen Gonzalez and seconded by Greg Garcia.
An elementary school on Davis Road will be named after Edinburg Sergeanettes founder Dr. Kay Teer Crawford; motion by Omar Palacios and seconded by Greg Garca.
An elementary on Rooth Road will have a dual name — the school will be named after former Edinburg coach R.C. “Fito” Flores and Iraq War soldier Mark Anthony Zapata; motion by Robert Peña.
An elementary sister school to Cano-Gonzalez will be named after one of Edinburg’s earliest educators, Macaria Gorena; motion by Ciro Treviño and seconded by Carmen Gonzalez.
At the same time the board also approved the principals of the new schools. The principals were transferred from existing schools in the district. They are:
Carolina Desiga-Lozano from Villarreal Elementary to Crawford Elementary.
Sonya Rodriguez from Eisenhower Elementary to Ramirez Elementary.
Victoria Martinez from San Carlos Elementary to Flores/Zapata Elementary.
“We wanted to make choices that represented an overall impact to different people. I think everybody can honestly say they were impacted in one way or another by all these individuals. I think as it pertains to education within our district, I think these are exemplary examples of that,” said board President Omar Palacios following the naming of the new schools.
“Obviously, you have to look at the pulse of the community, too. What is the community telling you? Well, I think the community is going to be very satisfied with the names,” Palacios said. “I’m not going to sit here and say the entire community is going to be satisfied, regardless of who we pick, but I think we did the best for the majority of the community.”
For some families, the selection of the names meant a small measure of closure for loved ones who passed before their time. The family of Iraq War soldier Mark Anthony Zapata, who died in 2004 and was given a dual-name designation along with Edinburg coach Fito Flores at the new Rooth Road campus, say a gap has been filled with the board’s decision.
“I was a kid growing up in the same neighborhood with Mr. Flores. My parents and his parents all knew each other. Really, it’s an honor to have Fito Flores and my son side by side,” said Daniel Zapata. “Whatever we can do for that school, and for Fito Flores, it will be an honor. Now, the one we have to work on is Christopher Ramirez, who is the other fallen hero from Edinburg.”
The dual name distinction was made by Trustee Robert Peña, who served nine years in the Marine Corps and is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s.
“It was just a very difficult task. Being a former military person, of course I take kindly to somebody like Mr. Zapata and his sacrifice to our community and our country,” Peña said. “By the same token, having served for many years here in the City of Edinburg, I take great honor in having known the history of Mr. Fito Flores, which is just unbelievable. It was only befitting that both individuals be named for the school. I wish we would have had seven schools but, when we made the discussion, well I just thank the school board.”
Trustee Ciro Treviño, who was also on the district shortlist for name consideration to its new schools, withdrew his name following a lengthy executive session. “I’m a boardmember, I think I would be better off (withdrawing),” Treviño said.