San Isidro Students Exploring Their Community

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SAN ISIDRO – A group of students started exploring the services available in their small community of San Isidro as a project, but it soon turned into something bigger.

The town is in north Starr County. The census of 2010 reported its population at just 240.

“We are off the map, yet we are just as vital as any other town,” Celinda Alvarado, a career and technology teacher, said. “As an educator, I’m always interested in finding a positive in whatever we learn. A reason for learning.”

And thus, the idea of exploring the community was born.

“First it started as a project where we each had to get an organization or service and we had to do some research on it,” San Isidro ISD senior Joselyne Montoya said.

The first subject was the San Isidro Fire Department. In 1981, it was the school district that bought the first fire truck as a way to save on its insurance. A fire truck to protect the school.

“And within time, the community residents learned there was a brush truck available so they started calling for service when they had a fire,” San Isidro Fire Chief Bernabe Benavides said.

Benavides was a senior at San Isidro when the school district decided to give the fire truck away.

“And my dad, Benito Benavides, offered his property and he built a garage for us and that’s where we housed the truck,” he said.

At first it was all volunteers. Now it is funded by the county, has five paid and certified firefighters with a substation west of Rio Grande City. And at San Isidro, they also provide space for a sheriff’s office, Border Patrol and EMS service.

“I learned a lot about San Isidro’s history,” senior Aimee Solis said. “It was pretty exciting.”

They do plan to publish their findings and make those findings available to everyone in San Isidro.

“Community service is when you’re helping all your community in any way you can, to make it a better place for the people in your community,” Marlen Soto, another student at San Isidro, said.

Other subjects include their religious services, restaurants, ranching and oil industry.

“At one time our school was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one the best schools in the nation,” Alvarado said.

It started out as a group of students exploring their hometown.

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