Spanish teacher Amalia Muro thought she was attending just another pep rally for her beloved students last week. After all, during her 47 years of teaching she had been to so many.
This was no ordinary pep rally however. Hundreds of students, co-workers and Ross alumni had gathered at the school to celebrate the career and dedication of an educator who had dedicated a lifetime to the service of the students at the East-Central school.
Muro was greeted by an earnest standing ovation — a clear sign that the she has earned the utmost respect from the students and staff at Ross Middle School.
“It’s time. I leave with a heavy heart (but) I need to heal,” Muro said referring to a disc surgery she recently had. “Otherwise, they would have to drag me dead from the school. I’d stay here forever.”
Muro is known for her commitment to education and her die-hard support of Ross Middle athletics. She says she can count in one hand the number of football games she has missed throughout her tenure at the school.
Dozens of Ross alumni were at hand during the pep rally to announce the creation of a scholarship fund that bears her name. They handed her a plaque and a giant check that represents the initial donation into the scholarship fund.
The Ross football team also unveiled a special helmet sticker the team will wear in her honor starting this week. The sticker is of an apple with Muro’s name.
“She calls the players her babies,” said Rebels coach Roman Abuhamidan. “If you didn’t have someone to cheer you on, that was her job. She didn’t care if you had her in class or not. She was there for you.”
Abuhamidan presented her with a miniature helmet featuring the new insignia and a Ross jersey embroidered with No. 1 fan.
Principal Jason Yturralde presented Muro with a special plaque on behalf of the faculty and staff. He thanked her for her dedication to Ross and acknowledged the legacy she leaves behind.
“It has been my greatest honor to be here at Ross with you, Ms. Muro,” he told her, just before reading the heartfelt message engraved on the plaque:
In appreciation of your lifelong dedication to the education of our students
For believing in children, for guiding through example, for inspiring with passion
For living through love, for leaving an incredible mark on the future
For touching the human soul.
You have made all the difference.
Alum Joe Zubia read a special letter on behalf of his brother, J.D. Zubia, who fondly remembers Muro from his middle school days in the mid-1970s. The letter describes how J.D.’s school years were plagued by tough times at home and how he recalled Muro checking in and counseling him.
“Ms. Muro could have just left me alone and let me go about my school day but she has always loved her students enough to go out of her way for them,” the letter read. “I am now a school administrator and when, to this day, I train our teachers on what it means to care, I tell them this story about my favorite teacher – not just at Ross, but ever.”
The crowd rose to their feet when Ross Alumni Association president Edmundo Calderon announced the Amalia Muro Scholarship available only to Ross students.
“Ms. Muro has dedicated her life to her students and has made an impact not only in the classroom, athletic fields, after school programs, but in their lives,” Calderon said. “The love and devotion she has given to the thousands of students can never be measured. As alumni, we cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for us.”
The ceremony included appearances by former and current students and faculty and who offered a hug and a single rose. The Burges High School cheerleading squad and drumline, which included some of Muro’s former students, were also present to honor her.
A video showing photos of Muro’s tenure at Ross – from the black-and-white shots of her early years to the digital pics taken just this year – were greeted with cheers from the crowd.
“She understands us. She would be there for me,” said current Ross eight-grader Melissa Luna, who had had had Muro for two years. “I love her and will miss her a lot. I thank her for everything.”
The end of the pep rally ended with yet another standing ovation following Muro’s emotional message to the students and the entire Ross community:
“You know that I love you. You will always be my babies. I will love you forever,” an emotional Muro said. “Be good. Do well. Educate yourself. Respect your teachers and your parents. Know that my heart stays with you always.”