PHARR - PSJA ISD's Pathway Toward Independence (PTI) program hosted a dedication ceremony at their LIFE House on Wednesday, April 18 to honor the memory of former PSJA Education Foundation President Joel A Gonzalez.

The PTI program promotes the continued development of vocational training skills and/or functional independent living skills to assist special needs students in becoming emergent adults in the community. The LIFE House or Learning in Functional Environments Home, was created for special needs high school students that require functional independent living skills.

A new Sensory Garden was added to the LIFE House's backyard thanks to a PSJA Education Foundation Mini Grant and other contributing partners. Earlier this year, Mr. Gonzalez, who had served as the PSJA Education Foundation's first President since its inception in 2013 passed away, leaving behind a legacy of altruism for his community. As PSJA High School's 1984 Valedictorian, Gonzalez loved his PSJA community and through his volunteerism would advocate for the improvement of education and opportunities provided to the youth of PSJA.

"This dedication means a lot to our family," said his son Justin Gonzalez. "Knowing my father was so involved in the PSJA community and impacted the lives of so many children is a great honor."

Like his father, Justin is a proud alumnus who graduated from PSJA High School in 2012. He and his twin sister Jenna hope to continue their father's legacy by remaining active in the PSJA ISD community.

According to the PSJA PTI Program Director Veronica Quintana the Sensory Garden would not have been possible without the help and support from the PSJA Education Foundation and various community sponsors.

"We are honored to dedicate this beautiful garden in memory of Mr. Gonzalez," said Quintana. "We thank him for his endless support and dedication to our students."