CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A big party celebrating the end of the school year and the 110th birthday of George Evans Elementary School commenced on Wednesday.
Complete with student birthday wishes, balloons, cupcakes, a parade and a special appearance by Miller High School's Drum line, this birthday bash was filled with fun but it was also a bittersweet blast from the past.
Lori Casiano is a first grade teacher at Evans and has worked there for eight years. However, her history at Evans goes deeper than that.
"I started here in kindergarten," Casiano said. "Many of the students here come to school with their siblings and their cousins, and that was me. It’s pretty nostalgic every time I walk in because I have those memories of being here with them or having my grandparents pick me up after school."
Casiano said she can relate to her students with her own experience and understands what a lot of her own students are going through. She does her best to make sure they feel the way she did when she went to school.
"I remember the room that I was in. I was in room five, I remember my teacher and I just remember always having a good time here. I always felt welcomed and it always felt like a family," Casiano said.
The building that is the current Evans Elementary School was built in 1967.
However the original old frame building was constructed in 1913 and used through 1950. According to district records, it is the oldest named campus that hasn’t been demolished by either hurricanes or new construction.
This next school year, Evans will be under the name T.G Allen while the current T.G Allen on 18th Street gets renovated.
Raul Munoz is the physical education teacher at Evans and has been there since he started teaching 23 years ago.
"This is an older building, but its a special place," Munoz said. "The building is not what makes the school. The people make the school. I know we’re in the downtown area, but to me this is a beautiful community because the people make it beautiful."
The school has had former World War II veterans come back and talk about their experience. It has also came across local public names like the Galvan family from Galvan Ballrooms and Mr. Cantwell from Cantrell Mattresses.
Munoz did not go to school at Evans, but grew up in the area. He feels proud to have made a difference in the same community for the past 23 years.
"We put a lot of hard work and invested a lot of our time into teaching," Munoz said. "Here at George Evans we have to put a little extra for those kids. We aren't only teachers; we're second string parents. We're role models. The staff has taken a lot of pride into being that role model for our students. If I had to describe George Evans in one word, it would be love."
Teachers like Casiano and Munoz will continue making a difference with their students and communities, even with change to come. When that change comes, the George Evans memory and family will always remain.
"The eight years flew by. It was an incredible experience and I know that were all sad that our school is closing, but I think we’re all ready for the next adventure with T.G Allen," Casiano said.