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Trinity Standard - Local News

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Students, teachers mourn loss
Trinity Standard -

BASTROP —On Monday Oct. 14 Trinity High School (THS) and Trinity Middle School (TMS) suffered a great loss when Art teacher Isaiah Mendoza was killed in a car accident near Bastrop. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Mendoza, 25, was traveling back to Trinity on state highway 21, when his vehicle hydroplaned on the wet surface into oncoming traffic. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Mendoza's beloved pet dog, Paco, was traveling with him and was also killed. "Isaiah was a beloved member of our staff. Students, parents and faculty truly loved his passion for teaching and art. He was in the process of raising funds to take students to visit art museums in Europe next summer," stated TISD superintendent Dave Plymale. Students of these campuses have grieved hard for what they call "More than a teacher." Their grief has made this huge effort to keep his memory alive in their classrooms still. The Tuesday morning after his death students ganged the hallways and counselor's office wanting to do more than just move on with their daily routines. Students came up with the idea of posty notes and a wall was dedicated to Mendoza, filled with posty notes written from students of each campus. With sayings that he had for them like, "Sorry I'm awkward" and "Anyone can draw", and sayings that they had for him like, "Thanks for being weird with us" and "you changed my outlook on life". Mendoza's most common saying was "Everything will get better, trust me". These kids did just that, with the idea that Mr. Mendoza accepted everyone for who they were, never criticizing any kid for any reason. Many of the THS and TMS students wrote letters to his family, explaining how great of a teacher he was and how missed he will truly be. Since Mendoza was originally from Austin, and his family was not here to see how much of an impact his life was on the lives of others here in Trinity, the students wanted to make sure that his family knew how much he meant to them. Another tribute was a little harder to orchestrate. Jennifer Kepmton, THS counselor, struggled to find a tree to plant in Mendoza's honor. When she contacted Phil Morrison he accepted the job and handled all of the details. "I'll take care of it" Phil stated. Morrison construction crew dug the hole for the tree. Gary and Sandi Mossman along with Timberlake Nursery donated the tree. "We chose a maple tree because that tree is easily identified by its leaf pattern. The leaf pattern, like Isaiah Mendoza, is unlike any other leaf patter and can be easily seen through a sea of trees," Jennifer Kempton stated. The tree was planted on the North end of the parking lot……


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