EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District recently hosted its annual general assembly at the Bert Ogden Arena. The event kicked off the start of the school year and included an exceptional performance by the fine arts students and a special visit from an astronaut.

“We are very proud and grateful of our teachers,” said ECISD Board President Robert Peña Jr. “For the coming year, we want to certainly encourage them, get them excited and help them any way that we can to make it another successful year and hopefully extend those by leaps and bounds.”

Edinburg CISD is the largest employer in Hidalgo County with approximately 5,000 teachers, principals, staff and administrators, most of whom attended the event for the first time in the newly constructed Bert Ogden Arena.

The celebration opened with a parade of the 43 Teachers of the Year, who marched alongside their principals, staff and students from their respective campuses.

One of the high points of the occasion was a 45-minute electrifying performance by students and their directors from the district’s Fine Arts Department. The theme for their show was titled, “Turning Dreams Into Reality.”

“The students were the highlight of the show. They had a great message,” said ECISD Interim Superintendent Gilbert Garza Jr. “This show was tremendous. It’s all a reflection of Edinburg CISD. It’s about great teaching, great students and a great family we have at ECISD.”

Another memorable moment was hearing from the keynote speaker, Jose Hernandez a retired NASA astronaut who was part of the crew of the Space Shuttle mission in August 2009. Hernandez also served as Chief of the Materials and Processes Branch at the Johnson Space Center.

“One of the biggest messages I like to give to teachers is I tell them the story about my second-grade teacher in terms of how she changed our life by coming over and talking to my parents,” Hernandez said.  “It’s a very nice story of how a teacher took her time out of her schedule to come to my house and completely changed the trajectory of where our family was going and that’s how I became an astronaut.”

Hernandez also shared his incredible journey of growing up as a migrant farmworker in the San Joaquin Valley in California and how he turned his dream of becoming an astronaut into a reality.

“I believe when they listen to my message the teachers are going to be able to resonate and relate to my experiences,” he said.  “Hopefully, the grand plan is to motivate them to go into the classroom and have a very successful year with their students.”