2008-09-26 / Letters

In memory of Maria Elena

I first met Maria Elena Villalobos a few years ago when she volunteered in my class while waiting for her middle school bus to take her off to school. She always greeted the kids and me with her amazing smile and continuously showed her appreciation with everyday acts of kindness—imagine that.

Before school would start each day, I'd share stories of my oldest daughter, Christyna, and how much she loved softball. I was hoping she'd join a team or something when she got into high school. Well, she did—softball.

My youngest daughter, Melanie, also decided to give it a try. Both novice players made the freshman team. I'll always remember how Maria loved throwing the ball from the side instead of overhead.

Out in right field she anticipated some action. The coach seemed to think our daughters did best on the bench, so that's where they sat—a lot. Maria and Melanie decided to make the most of it. Cheering, "peanut butter" and other goofy expressions was much more fun.

Over the last year Belen shared Maria's desire to attend FIDM (The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising). Belen and I had many conversations about our girls attending FIDM. They both applied, presented their projects, and were accepted. Just recently Belen was telling me how the teachers at FIDM treated her like the teacher's pet—they loved her work. She was having the time of her life.

Last week, we all came together as a friend, staff, school district, and community.

Chris Kelley was an amazing asset to all of us. She kept to the important and difficult details. I know the Villalobos family will be forever grateful. Many thank you's to the Mountain Meadow's staff for allowing us to borrow her.

A special thank you to all who gave so unselfishly—you know who you are. In addition, the following were quick to donate and we all appreciate your incredible kindness: Flowerage Florist in Northridge; FIDM scholarship, pictures, and manikins; Black Cat limo; Peloso Photography; Holy Cross Church; Target, and Command Performance Catering.

A special friend helped me to stay focused last week. He kept saying something good will happen because of this. Well, I think that "something good" might be that we all came together as a friend, staff, school district, and community to help support the Villalobos family.

We realized, once again, how blessed and fortunate we are to have each other. Let's keep that feeling in our hearts for Maria Elena and her family. Barbara D'Agati Moorpark D'Agati is a teacher at Campus Canyon School

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