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

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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Faith Inspires Launch Of Blessings Box

Kim Edwards-Garza holds her premier Overflow of Blessings Box.

Most mornings, while enjoying a cup of coffee, Kim Edwards-Garza spends this quiet time before her workday with God. “I fill up my soul with His Word, and it enables me to tackle any problem or stress I may have that day,” she said.  Born and raised in McAllen, and a graduate of Memorial High School, Edwards-Garza earned a degree in marketing at St. Edward’s University in Austin. She later…

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A Comeback Greater Than The Setbacks

Adela Tann

Adela Tann had her future all figured out. She completed the Patient Care Technician program at South Texas College in 2013 and enrolled in the college’s Vocational Nursing program, graduating in 2015. Next on her list was earning the title of registered nurse. But before she could pass the National Council Licensure Examination, Tann moved to Iowa to help care for her sister, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In…

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ICED CUBE Mirrors Flavor Of The RGV

The ICED CUBE Strawberry Supreme Raspa begins with any snow cone flavor. Vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, and sweet cream are added to create this supreme raspa.

At 16, Eliza Garza’s father ignited the raspa flame within her. Her dad saw that South Padre Island needed a raspa stand. He believed his family could run it every summer. Garza carried that flame with her as she finished high school and worked as an event planner, fundraiser, energy broker and idea generator. Last year, a friend of Garza’s took charge of the Beach Resort at South Padre Island…

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Making the Impossible Possible

Jorge Sanchez thought he had the perfect plan in place after graduating from high school. He earned a scholarship to St. Edward’s University in Austin, where he planned to major in biology with a concentration in biological sciences. But as he calculated the cost for tuition, room and board, and books, Sanchez realized this plan did not make financial sense. “Even though I was given a scholarship to study at…

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Retired Teachers Find Calling In Vintage

Former McAllen ISD teachers Debbie Garcia and Alicia Garza are now living their retirement dream as owners of Treasures From The Attic & Co.

Debbie Garcia and Alicia Garza met at a neighborhood block sale on Nyssa Avenue in McAllen over 15 years ago. It was a chance encounter neither guessed would lead to a sisterly friendship and a business partnership. That is exactly what happened. The two women already had a few things in common when they met. Both were teachers in the McAllen school district. Garcia was an English teacher at DeLeon…

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Overcoming Adversity for a Better VIDA

Eva Alvarado

When the staff at Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement think of Eva Alvarado, two words come to mind: perseverance and resilience. Alvarado is a divorced mother of three, two who are adults and now live on their own. Her youngest, a 14-year-old son, lives with her in Brownsville. Two years ago, her youngest was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, dyslexia and autism. Alvarado quit working because he required all…

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