Author Archives: Chris Ardis

Chris Ardis is a retired teacher. She is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager and works with Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill to help schools and nonprofit organizations raise money. Chris is also an education blogger, and you can her blog at the link below. You can reach her at

Seeing Good In Life After Great Loss

These Bananas & Ice Cream scoops were the first Denise and Marshall Eason made in late summer 2016 with their “lucky dozen” ice-cream churners Marshall found in an end-of-season sale.

When Denise Sandoval met Marshall Eason in the hallways of McAllen High School, she didn’t realize it was fate.  Denise moved to McAllen from Monterrey at age 9, already fluent in English and Spanish. Her mom’s first language was English, having been raised in Chicago until she was 13 and her parents decided to return to Mexico. Her father had left his native country to serve in WWII, deciding later…

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Another Journey Begins With VIDA

Mariana Lozano

Growing up, Donna resident Mariana Lozano watched how hard her parents worked and yet how they struggled just to make ends meet. As she watched, she made plans. Her plans were to finish college so she could help them as her family’s first college graduate. “A friend told me I needed to apply to VIDA,” Lozano said.  VIDA is the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement. The nonprofit organization was…

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Winter Wonderland Gives Students A Boost

Talavera Décor & More will be selling wooden hearts painted by hand by artisans in San Miguel de Allende at the Winter Wonderland Market @ IB.

Erica De la Garza Lopez got right to work when she took over as president of Friends of IB for the 2021-2022 school year. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization brings awareness about the McAllen ISD International Baccalaureate school at Lamar Academy. It also develops partnerships between IB parents, local businesses and the community. Additionally, members raise money and provide other means of support to the school and its students. McAllen ISD…

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Nursing A Dream Into Reality

Cristina Martinez

Growing up, Cristina Martinez witnessed her mom’s financial struggle and her resilience every day. Martinez’ mom did not graduate from high school, and yet, as a single mother with three children, she had to find a way to provide for them. “She worked as a custodian for many years to be able to provide,” Martinez said. In January 2020, Martinez, a resident of Pharr, was earning $10.50 an hour working…

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Nurse Gives Back After Receiving So Much

After passing the National Council Licensure Examination, Gilda Lee Sauceda worked at Fresenius Kidney Care before choosing to become a traveling dialysis nurse.

When you learn, teach. When you get, give.  ~Maya Angelou Weslaco native Gilda Lee Sauceda grew up with a single mom who became disabled when her daughter was just 10 years old. She felt grateful that they had a roof over their head and their basic necessities, but the struggles were real. The labels were there — eighth-grade drop-out, GED holder, low-income — but Sauceda did not allow labels to…

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Electrician Blazes New Path With Restaurant

Homemade mozzarella sticks and funnel cake fries are popular menu items at Wing Zone.

On Aug. 16, Marcos Silva, a college counselor for IDEA Public Schools, posted a note about his brother on Facebook.  “My brother is an electrician/builder by trade,’’ he wrote. “After building restaurants across Texas and Oklahoma for others, he threw in his bid and made himself one.” It’s Wing Zone Grill & Tap, which Marcos said “represents a lot more than a wing place.” “It’s the efforts, sacrifice and fight…

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Life-Changing Decision Leads To Nursing Career

Maria Delgado

When McAllen resident Maria Delgado first applied to the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement in 2012 after learning about it from an outreach counselor at South Texas College, the VIDA staff knew she was an excellent candidate. Delgado was a single mother with two daughters, ages 11 and 5, unemployed and on public assistance and a first-generation college student. She served in the National Guard for two-and-a-half years. But…

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Love Of Libraries Extends Globally

On Infotopia for students in grades 5-12 and their teachers, one subject area is languages. By clicking on that link, students can find numerous French, Spanish, German and American Sign Language resources.

It is said that “once a teacher, always a teacher.” The same can be said about a school librarian. Both are on point in the case of Dr. Michael and Carole Bell. Mike taught Spanish and history, including a three-year stint at Edinburg High School, the Hockaday School in Dallas and Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. He earned one master’s in education and another in library science before claiming the ultimate educational achievement,…

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