ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – After months of getting the word out about potentially naming a school in honor of his cousin, fallen United States Army Sergeant Reuben Marcus Fernandez, Ruben Delagarza, Jr. said Monday’s school board meeting left him feeling optimistic.
The Abilene Independent School District (AISD) board voted unanimously Monday to change the names of Robert E. Lee Elementary (where Sgt. Fernandez attended), Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson Elementary, Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary and John H. Reagan Elementary.
“However, cautiously excited,” he said. “My cousin started that petition, us sending emails to board members because it wasn’t just me, it was myself, several of my cousins,” he said.
Delagarza, Jr. said the real work starts now.
“I want to give such a convincing argument that I put the ball in their court, where they’re going to have to respond to us and bring a stronger argument to the table as to why they will not put his name on the school,” he said.
Supporters of the school name change and members of the Hispanic Leadership Council addressed the decision made by the Abilene ISD school board.
“But what was so inspiring about that, a national movement made its way to Abilene,” Samuel Garcia said.
“To even having a conversation about the school names, because we do recognize this is something that doesn’t necessarily have to happen, even though it needs to happen,” Chris Daughtery said.
Ruben said honoring a native Abilenian who walked to halls of AISD like his cousin would mean everything to his family, but he understands his cousin’s name won’t be the only one brought to the table.
“But I can guarantee you that they will be deserving of having their names put on the school just as my cousin,” he said.
The process to officially send names in will start Oct. 1.
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