An author, who spoke to Ernesto Serna School’s eighth-graders about a family member’s rise to the high levels of the U.S. government, wants students to plan for their future and understand there are no barriers that cannot be overcome.
Dennis Garcia wrote “Marine, Public Servant, Kansan: The Life of Ernest Garcia” about his cousin, the grandson of Mexican immigrant field laborers, who went from a being a poor student in elementary and high school to become the first Hispanic sergeant of arms for the United States Senate. Ernest Garcia escorted President Ronald Reagan to the podium to deliver the State of the Union address in 1986.
Ernest Garcia rose to be a lieutenant colonel in the Marines before retiring, traveled around the world, met with Pope John Paul, and worked with many prominent politicians.
“I wanted to relay the inspiring and amazing story of my cousin’s life and his experiences,” Dennis Garcia said. “I am using those experiences to encourage and inspire students to put forth an effort and improve their efforts to concentrate of their students. Even though they are just in the eighth grade, I wanted to let them know they are just starting and they have to work hard.”
Ernesto Serna School Principal Alejandro Olvera wanted his students to learn from an author with an inspiring story to tell.
“We never had the honor and the privilege of having a published author at our campus, I think, especially for the middle school kids,” Olvera said. “So, I thought this was a good opportunity for them. For them, it really changes the way they think. It’s not just coming from the teacher or principal. It’s coming from somebody that has lived life. Somebody that knows of other people’s struggles and the importance of school.”
Ernesto Serna was the first school on Dennis Garcia’s book tour. He also had a book signing at a Las Cruces Barnes & Noble that same day.
“I chose El Paso because my family’s roots and their ultimate success went through El Paso,” Garcia said. “This was their first step in the United States. My great grandfather is buried in Concordia Cemetery. I thought this would be a good place to begin trying to build inspiration with the book and encouragement with the kids.”
Olvera loved the immigrant story and the struggles Ernie Garcia overcame. How the Kansas-native didn’t prioritize school, disregarded his grades and almost missed his opportunity for success. He wanted students to understand the endless opportunities afforded…