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Harlandale ISD: First grader receives letter from the Mayor
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First grader receives letter from the Mayor

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It is not every day when a school receives a letter from the Mayor and it is even rarer when the letter is addressed to an individual student. Imagine the surprise when Columbia Heights Elementary School’s Principal Priscilla Lighthall saw such a letter sitting on her desk September 11th.

“I was just about to open the letter when I noticed that it had a barcode and read ‘Office of the Mayor’ in the return address,” she said.

It turns out the letter was addressed to first grader James Sears.

During the beginning of his kindergarten year, James took his very first field trip to the San Antonio Museum of Art and along the way he noticed trash, junk and clothes littering the streets. James was so disturbed he told his teacher and suggested they tell someone about it. Lisa Gronatakas suggested he write a letter to Mayor Julian Castro. James did just that.

James spent the rest of the year waiting for a response but when he never got one, Ms. Gronatakas took to Facebook and sent the Mayor a message about the letter. The Mayor responded and ensured her that he would write back.

On September 12, as James was sitting in class, Principal Lighthall and Ms. Gronatakas surprised him with the Mayor’s letter. He read it in front of the class, “Thank you very much for your letter to me regarding the cleanliness of our city. I share your concern about the litter among our highways.” Afterward, Ms. Gronatakas made a copy of it and handed James the original to keep and he excitedly said, “I get to keep the best one.”