Journey Through LaVina Elementary

Journey Through LaVina Elementary


By Jesus Navarro, Principal of Lavina Elementary School

AS I SIT in my office at La Vina School, I’m in disbelief. I’m amazed, and at the same time, I feel blessed and humbled for being able to be the Principal of La Vina School. When I think back to when my family and I first arrived in Madera, sadness creeps into my mind. It’s depressing to think of the situation we lived in during those times. We were so poor that sometimes our dinner came from the food our neighbors would be kind enough to share with us. My family was one of the families that would receive a meal, clothes, and toys on special holidays from generous people. We humbly accepted what was given to us and felt a great sense of gratitude. 

My hope is for students to experience the same feeling of belonging I experienced when I went to this wonderful school. Reflecting on my experience as a non-English speaking youngster, I can say it was a frightening and frustrating time. I was unable to understand what was being said to me. I had no way of communicating with my teacher. What helped me was the fact that migrant aides would come and pull me out of class to teach me English. As a matter of fact, one of the aides was Ms. Estella Molina, who was a Kindergarten teacher at La Vina School when I became the school’s principal. She was instrumental in helping me acquire proficiency in the English language. I was elated to be able to work alongside her. Another great teacher, who helped me, was Mrs. Lile. She was my fourth-grade teacher. Mrs. Lile was so amazing and dedicated. She tutored me after school in reading throughout the entire year when I was a student at Eastin-Arcola School.

I transferred to La Vina when I was a 5th-grade student. Mr. Clegg was an outstanding teacher who made me feel welcomed as soon as I set foot in his class. Mr. Michael Lennenmann was my 6th-grade teacher and my track coach. He inspired me and had high expectations for me to go to college and obtain a better life. Mr. Lennenmann has kept in contact with me throughout the years. He called and wished me good luck on my first day as the principal of La Vina School. 

Mr. Lile was also an excellent teacher who inspired us to work hard and get an education. When I became La Vina’s principal, he called and congratulated me. Another great teacher who helped me throughout my college education was Mrs. Bigger, as well as Mr. Bigger. They both had a significant impact on my life, but sadly, both have passed away. I have great memories of all the teachers from La Vina. They all genuinely believed in and cared about us. When my brothers and I would start the school year 3 to 4 weeks late because we were helping my parents through the grape season, the teachers at La Vina worked extremely hard to help us catch up academically. For that, I will forever be grateful. Thanks to these excellent teachers, I was able to learn English, attend college, and receive a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s degree.

My vision for La Vina School is to continue providing students with a superior education. I want to make students and families feel welcome when they come to La Vina. My hope is for students to experience the same feeling of belonging I experienced when I went to this wonderful school. The staff and I want the children to know we have high expectations for them. Our goal as educators is to give them the necessary tools to be successful, in education and life, so that they can become productive members of society. We believe in our students, and we want to make sure they believe in themselves as well.

My hope is for students to experience the same feeling of belonging I experienced when I went to this wonderful school.

Maria Alcorn, La Vina Elementary School
Mr. Navarro surprising the 2019 La Vina Champion.

Recent News / Novedades