BY JACQUELINE MAGNO | HCISD WRITER
At Coakley Middle School, Principal Pedro Sanchez kicked off the start of the school year by gathering the students in the gymnasium where music and cheers filled the air before students headed to their classes.
Throughout elementary schools, principals and staff smiled as parents dropped off their children.
In a hallway at Treasure Hills Elementary, a smiling student, Emmalee Snavely, spoke about her first day of school excitement.
“I’m most excited to see my reading teacher,” said Emmalee Snavely, a 5th grader at Treasure Hills Elementary. “My favorite subject is reading because if you have the right book, you get really interested in it and you can’t put it down. One goal I have for the school year is to get 100 (accelerated reader) points!”
Osman Moradel, an 11th grader at Harlingen School of Health Professions, expressed similar enthusiasm for the year ahead.
“I feel nervous about entering my junior year of high school, but I’m excited at the same time,” he said. “It’s going to be challenging, but my teachers are truly going to prepare us for anything coming our way.”
While Snavely and Moradel are familiar with the hallways of their respective campuses, others are embracing a brand new environment. Erika Galvan, an instructional coach who has worked with the district for 13 years, eagerly began her first year at Treasure Hills Elementary.
“Everyone has been super supportive and welcoming,” Galvan said. “The administration and staff here work really well together, and they made me feel right at home. So even though it’s my first year here, it feels like I’ve been here a long time.”
Galvan takes pride in her occupation as an instructional coach and is determined to help teachers in all ways possible.
“My job is to be a support system for our teachers,” she said. “If a teacher sets a goal or wants to improve their practice, I can go into their classroom, gain insight, and provide tips on how to grow and improve as an educator. By supporting the teachers, I’m indirectly helping the students succeed.”
Yolanda Lopez, a Child Nutrition employee at Austin Elementary, committed to providing students with the best school year.
“We’ve been preparing for the new school year with new recipes in our kitchen,” Lopez said. “We have to get all the ingredients for the meals we serve. It’s very busy because we provide many choices, but it’s worth it for our students.”
Galvan added that a passion for students and their education is key to having a great school year.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Galvan said. “Working with teachers and students makes me feel joy, so my advice to anyone entering this field is to make sure you feel that joy too.”
Most of all, Galvan is excited to see students flourish.
“Though we have summers off, that’s not the real perk of the job. The perk of the job is feeling that warmth when you see your students learn — that ‘Aha!’ moment when they understand a certain concept or idea. It’s a lot of hard work, but that’s what it’s all about.”