For the students of Bateman Elementary, Ms. Roxanna Avila is a consistent and comforting presence in their day. As their student advocate, she greets them in the hallways each morning, chatting, checking uniforms, and asking if they’ve done their homework. She watches over them at recess too, and for those students who attend the after-school program, Roxanna is the woman in charge.
”Everyone knows Roxanna, and everyone loves her,” said Bateman assistant principal Efrain Martinez. “She has an excellent rapport with our students and their families and is always ready to tackle the difficult issues.”
Perhaps the toughest challenge of her career arrived just weeks ago, when a recently-widowed father and his five children arrived at Bateman with nearly nothing to their name. New to the country, the man had come to enroll his children in school. He could not have imagined what support Roxanna and the Bateman community would immediately provide for his family.
In less than a week, Roxanna had mobilized the entire Bateman community, including staff, parents, and LSC members, and had reached out to local churches, businesses and nonprofits to help get the family established.
“Within days, Roxanna had arranged for an apartment to be rented and furniture to be delivered,” said Martinez. “She had also seen to it that food, clothing, school supplies, and other essentials were on their way to this family. Our school office was literally overflowing with donated items.”
The family’s four school-aged children were immediately enrolled at Bateman, and though the after-school program was at capacity, Roxanna found room for them to participate so that their father could work. She also arranged for Christmas gifts to be donated for all five children, and has stayed at Bateman late into the evening to wrap the presents herself.
“The children are adapting well and seem happy, and that’s all due to Roxanna,” said Martinez. “Beyond all of our academic supports, what makes Bateman special is the warm and supportive environment we provide to students and their families. “Roxanna went above and beyond all expectations so that we could welcome with open arms new members to our Bateman family, and in so doing, brought us all closer together in this season of joy and giving.”