Christmas came early for third graders at Lamar, Aoy and Hart elementary schools Wednesday morning. San Antonio lawyer Cesar Ornelas through the Camino Real Rotary Club donated 200 pairs of shoes to the students as part of their El Paso Strong efforts.
“Growing up I was one of these kids,” said Ornelas, who also has an El Paso law office. “I didn’t have new shoes. I had holes in my shoes. My part of giving back to the community is giving shoes just because I didn’t have them growing up.”
The shoes made a difference for the students at all three campuses. Lines of smiling students greeted Ornelas and the Rotary Club members as they handed over boxes of new Filas, New Balance and Pumas.
“I’m happy they bought this for us,” said Zuljeilyn Ortiz, just before getting her shoes. The Hart third-grader kept smiling and saying how happy she was to get new shoes.
It wasn’t too long before she and her classmates had slipped off their old sneakers in favor of the new ones.
“They’re smiling. Some kids are crying,” Ornelas said. “It brings a warm feeling to my heart.”
Hart Principal Angelica Negrete thanked Ornelas and the Rotary crew for thinking of her campus.
“This is wonderful for our students,” she said. “They love the shoes and will remember the people who donated them. They will truly benefit from this gift. It will make them more comfortable and confident.”
A letter written and read by third-grader Amanda summed up how grateful she and her classmates are for the sneakers.
“Thank you for choosing our campus. We really appreciate the shoes. Thank you! We will always cherish these shoes and love them.”