November 6, 2015 –
PONCE, Puerto Rico - Army Reserve Soldiers from the 471st Engineer Company (ENG CO), 448th Engineer Battalion (ENG BN), spent two weeks at Manuel Toro High School renovating a theater stage. Mrs. Mayra Delgado, theater arts teacher, was very impressed with the professionalism of the Soldiers and their dedication to their job. In order to thank everyone that contributed in making this new stage a reality, she decided to host a small yet remarkable re-inauguration.
“As the theater teacher, I am committed to the quality of education my students receive,” said Delgado “I am extremely proud to be here today with all of you. What I envisioned for my student has become a reality. They have a place to stimulate their minds, get motivated to learn, do and create.”
After being challenged to pursue her goals, Delgado submitted a request for funding and a local pharmaceutical company jumped on board and funded her request. “I was very happy that I got the funding but in the end, it was only enough for the building materials,” expressed Delgado. “Thankfully I know a little about the Army Reserve, (Delgado is married to an Army Reserve Lt. Col.), and I know they have a program to help the local community.”
“I couldn’t do this all by myself and I am very thankful for everyone that contributed to this,” said Delgado. Certificates of Appreciation were handed to the many individuals that helped make this theater teachers dream a reality.
Delgado reached out to the U.S. Army Reserve, 1st Mission Support Command Commander, Brig. Gen. Jose R. Burgos, for assistance with this project and her request was approved. “Each of these projects that help our communities and our schools will always have my full support,” said Burgos.
“We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to help our community,” said Burgos. “When we heard about this project, we knew this was something that we had to help with. These community engagements are very important to us, it not only allows us to give back to the community but it allows us to show the community that our Soldiers are not only here to go to war.”
Burgos also thanked the Soldiers of the 448th ENG BN for their investment and commitment to the project. He recognized how truly committed the Soldiers are to these projects because they grew up in communities such as these. “We all come from communities that have challenges but thanks to our perseverance, dedication and personal motivation, we are able to get to where we are today. What we want to show, through our Soldiers, is that we believe in our youth. We have to believe in those that will take our nation to the next level,” said Burgos.
With the support of the school staff and director, Delgado was able to commit herself to the renovation of her theater stage and hosting her re-inauguration event.
Ms. Yadira Carrasquillo, Director of Manuela Toro High School, thanked everyone that contributed to the project and emphasized on how important it is to maintain the students motivated and involved with their education since the education system is constantly going through changes.
"It is gratifying to see how the community stepped up to lend a hand to our school. I don’t have words to describe how grateful I am to the Army Reserve and to our drama teacher for doing everything possible for our school to receive all the help needed." said Carrasquillo.
Mr. Jose Manuel Alamo, Fine Arts Project Facilitator for the Institute of Guarabo in Puerto Rico was among the many guests present. "I am really happy to be here because Mayra is a hardworking teacher that is really dedicated to her students. I am so grateful for the 1st MSC Soldiers for making this possible, for all their work and everything that they have done for the school, the students and this project,” said Alamo. "I am glad to know that the Reserve Soldiers are working towards helping the communities and at the same time creating a bond of empathy were the community gives to the Soldiers and the Soldiers to the community. It is important that our students see that no matter what path you take in life you should always be able to give back to where you came from."
Delgado’s former students came together and performed a short skit which ended with a ribbon cutting for the new stage. Guests laughed and enjoyed the performance. Delgado expressed her wishes for this to be the first of many performances on her new stage.