Five and half miles away from Parish Episcopal School sits Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa, M.D. Elementary School (Cigarroa), a PreK – 5th grade school serving 635 students, most of whom are considered disadvantaged – 96% to be exact. Of the 3rd – 5th grade students, 37% are not proficient in reading and 47% are not proficient in math. Since 2013, through its partnership with Commit! (a coalition of Dallas organizations working to benefit students throughout Dallas County, from cradle to career), Parish has formed a relationship with Cigarroa to serve the elementary school’s student body in several ways. Last year, Parish 6th graders, whose service focus is literacy, and the Upper School Book Club collected more than 700 books so that each Cigarroa student could take a book home for summer reading. The 6th grade students also frequently visit Cigarroa to read to its 3rd grade students during the school day.
Likewise, Parish Upper School students have built a tutoring program for Cigarroa’s 3rd – 5th grade students that now includes Saturdays. Parish sophomore Amanda D'Auria is a part of the “10 Saturday Schools” and said, “I tutored my student in math [during the first session]... I am confident that by the end of the lesson he was feeling good about it. I hope to not only help him with his studies, but that we will develop a relationship where he feels like I am a big sister to him. I'm excited [to] go back!”
Adding to what is already a strong relationship, Parish community members came together this holiday season to help support the students of Cigarroa in another way.
Because of Parish faculty/staff, parents and students, the School was able to deliver: 50 new navy blue uniform pants for all ages; more than 180 new board games and puzzles that will help ease the burden of the holidays and bring joy to many Cigarroa families; and 20 large packing boxes full of snacks, because often a student’s last meal for the day is at school, and Cigarroa works to provide nutritional snacks to help fuel their students until the next school day.
As highlighted in a recent DISD Common Sense newsletter, "Parish and Cigarroa are one great example of a mutually beneficial partnership" among public and private schools. As Parish students live the messages of the ParishLeads framework, by sharing their time, talents and donations with Cigarroa without expectation of rewards and empowering the potential in the Cigarroa students, they are also leading their own community by example.
Parish is grateful to work with its friends at Cigarroa, and thankful to the entire Parish community for its collective leadership through service to others this holiday season.