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Everyone at Donna ISD who knows Maricela Cavazos will describe her as a hard worker who is efficient, thorough and well-liked by her peers.

It is because of her strong work ethic, professionalism and many years of service to the Rio Grande Valley Educational Support Staff Association (VESA) that she was selected as the organization’s Outstanding Support Member of the Year. Cavazos was recognized recently at VESA’s 51st Annual Bosses Banquet with a plaque and bouquet of flowers.


“I am very honored and humbled to accept this award,” Cavazos said. “I love my job and Donna ISD. It’s my home away from home and my colleagues are like family to me. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or do anything else.”

Three of Cavazos’ colleagues and VESA members – Lisa Gonzalez, Ofelia Barron and Gracie Valdez – submitted her name for consideration. Her nomination form read in part “Maricela is a well-respected employee in the school district. Her co-workers will tell you that she is always willing to help anyone.”

Cavazos has held many positions with the school district for the last 33 years. She has been Teacher Aide, Administrative Assistant, Invoice and Purchase Order Clerk, Purchasing Assistant, Paraprofessional Salary Officer and Secretary for Human Resources, a position she has served for the last 29 years.

“Apart from all her responsibilities at Human Resources, Maricela is also the Teacher Retirement System point of contact,” according to the nomination form. “She is constantly meeting with employees who are retiring or looking into retiring. She explains their options and helps ensure that all their paperwork is filled out properly and completely. She also meets with families after they lose a loved one and assists them with the final paperwork to submit to TRS.”

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Posing with Maricela Cavazos are Ofelia Barron, Lisa Gonzalez and Gracie Valdez.

Cavazos’ ability to want to help and nurture others is also evident in her personal life. After her husband passed away in 1993, she was left to raise her two sons and daughter as a single parent. Later, she took on the responsibility of raising three of her grandchildren. One is in college, and the other two are in high school.   

“I always talk to my grandchildren about the importance of pursuing a college degree,” Cavazos said. “It is important to me that they get the education that they need so they can be successful in life.”

When she is not with her grandchildren or working, Cavazos is actively involved with VESA and the Texas Educational Support Staff Association (TESA), both of which are professional organizations for educational support staff. Her co-workers said that she always looks forward to TESA’s annual Summer Work Conference where she can learn new things, see her TESA colleagues and make new friends.

“As you can see Maricela has faced many challenges in her life, but she persevered and encourages her children and grandchildren to do the same,” the nomination formed stated. “That’s why we feel that she is deserving of this honor.”