PHARR - The Consulate of Mexico in McAllen in partnership with Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD and the City of Pharr hosted a special ceremony to celebrate the donation of over 168,000 1st-6th grade Mexican textbooks to sites across the US who host a Plaza Comunitaria, a program sponsored by the Instituto Nacional para la Educaciόn de los Adultos (INEA). PSJA ISD hosts one of these sites, which assist adults who immigrated from Mexico to finish their elementary and middle school education.

The event was held Friday, Nov. 15 at the PSJA Garcia Parent/Community Education Center in South Pharr. This center serves as host to Mexico’s Secretary of Public Education Department as they offer courses for all community members interested in finishing their education.

Of the 162,000 textbooks the Mexican Consulate will be donating throughout the US, 225 textbooks will help parents in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD's Plaza Comunitaria continue their education. According to Mexican government officials, over 2 million textbooks have been donated to the US since 2000.

"Mexico doesn't forget Mexican nationals outside of the country," said Dr. Miguel Antonio Meza Estrada from Mexico's National Commission of Free Textbooks (CONALITEG) during the event. "Knowing two languages is better than one."

In addition to providing books for the Garcia Elementary Plaza Comunitaria serving adults, textbooks were also given to help students at Garcia Elementary participating in the PSJA Dual Language Enrichment Program.

"At PSJA ISD we take pride in offering Spanish classes from Pre-K through 12th grade through the PSJA Dual Language Enrichment Program," said PSJA Superintendent Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo. "Our students graduate with a Seal of Biliteracy recognized by universities and employers across the state and nation. Thank you to the Mexican Consulate and officials for this generous donation and choosing our school for this ceremony."

The event included performances by Garcia Elementary students, and the special recognition of nine Mexican nationals who completed coursework through the Plaza Comunitaria. Five of the nine honorees were proud parents of PSJA ISD students: Maria Concepcion Flores Muñiz, Sergio Pecina Cruz, Sandra Espinoza, Sandra Zermeño, and Clemente Piña Padron.

For Maria Concepcion Flores Muñiz, grandmother of three PSJA ISD students, finally finishing her elementary education meant a lot to her and her family.

"I am so happy. As parents we have to keep going and keep pushing for our kids," said the 83-year-old who is also taking ESL classes through the PSJA Parental Engagement Program. "Thank you to everyone who made this possible."

Among the graduates was also Escobar Elementary Head Custodian Sergio Pecina Cruz who completed his elementary education and is now inspired to pursue a GED.

"Thank you to PSJA ISD and the Mexican Consulate for offering these opportunities to help us continue our studies," said the 42-year-old. "My kids who attend PSJA ISD are always encouraging me to continue my education and are super proud of me. They are my inspiration."