POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009 - 2:52pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:32pm
Tom Peña knew Alberto Garza for nearly 20 years. they opened two schools in Edinburg together and he says right before the spring break they both found out they actually had more in common than what they thought. They lived in the same Brownsville neighborhood during their childhood years.
But today, the band director for Economedes High School in Edinburg, said his final goodbyes to not only a long-time friend, but to also the hardest-working man Peña knew.
“It’s like our principal said, he was the leader of leaders. You can't replace experience. It’s going to be a big hole. It’s just one of those things you can't replace.”
Peña says Garza dedicated his entire life to his students and with him gone; the school district will now have the tough job of replacing Garza. But not only will the district suffer, Peña says Garza’s students will also have a difficult time getting over the loss. If he wasn't teaching or volunteering, Peña says Garza was traveling. Garza was fortunate enough to travel to several countries, including Spain, Japan and México. But this last trip was a must for the teacher. Peña remembers Garza mentioning right before the break, that he was yet to visit a village near San Luis Potosí, México and he was ecstatic about finally going. But he never got the chance to tour that village.
His life ended Monday when a 23-year-old truck driver slammed into the tour bus Garza was on, killing 11 people, including Garza and leaving many more injured.
Garza was laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetery in his hometown, Brownsville. Garza would have turned 53 on Monday.