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Family Focused

Family Service Inspires Reagan Senior

By Amy Morgan

 

Reagan Senior PAL Supports Siblings, Other Students

By Amy Morgan

 

Ronald Reagan High School senior Olivia Redmond stands poised to spring forward in life. In just a few short months, she’ll head off to nursing school at either Texas Tech or University of Central Florida, leaving behind her close-knit San Antonio Family.

 

“Family is my whole life,” she said. “I’ve never been without them for more than a week. I know they will be cheering me on.”

 

Olivia and her two siblings, junior Logan and freshman Lourdes, moved to Stone Oak with their mother during Olivia’s freshman year. While Olivia originally joined the volleyball team, her mom’s stage three breast cancer diagnosis in February 2020, coupled with the pandemic, motivated Olivia to step back.

“I knew she (her mother) needed the help at home,” Olivia said. “It was bitter-sweet – I got to spend a lot of time with her, but it was very, very scary.” Thankfully, after radiation and chemotherapy, her mother is cancer free. The family circled the wagons during the crisis and remain close. Olivia now cheers for Logan on Reagan’s soccer team. She’s made it a point not to miss a game yet.

 

Olivia drives Lourdes to Reagan, then heads off to her own classes at North East’s Career and Technology classroom to obtain a medical assistant’s certification. Olivia’s learned how to take vital signs, give injections, and suture as well as understand patient records and medical office technology.  Olivia’s wanted to be a nurse since childhood. The NEISD program prepares any eligible district student for the certification exam without the expense of paying for the class privately.

 

After CTEC, Olivia returns briefly to the Reagan campus, although her activities as a PAL mentor often take her to Stone Oak’s middle and elementary schools. “I love hanging out with my PALees,” she said. “It’s honestly life-changing to know what those kids go through and try to help them.”

 

Olivia joined other PALs at the district-wide Special Olympics track and field meet this spring. Each PAL encouraged an individual student. “It was really priceless to see their little faces light up at the awards ceremony,” she said.

 

Olivia was personally impacted when the PAL sponsor, Coach Kevin Hernandez, passed away from COVID last year. “He impacted my life like no other,” she said. “He always made sure I could attend PALS and still stay safe for my mom during COVID. He cared for so many others so deeply, he was such a good person. It’s ironic that my mom is fine because of the care he took, and then he dies.”

 

Olivia leads PALS suicide prevention team. “COVID took down so many people’s mental health,” she said. “This is real.” Many on the Reagan campus wear purple on Wednesdays in support. “A kid I was close with passed away from suicide and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer all in two weeks. If I were to let issues take over, I wouldn’t be able to get through life,” Olivia said. She finds strength in her faith.

 

“God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers,” she said. “God is trying to show me his way through life.” Like her mentor, Coach Hernandez, Olivia’s hopes to make others’ days better.

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