Cristano Luna, 91, is recognized by the SAISD board for his academic achievements. Photo by Bekah McNeel.
Cristano Luna, 91, is recognized by the SAISD board for his academic achievements. Photo by Bekah McNeel.

At a scheduled business meeting Monday night, the San Antonio Independent School District board recognized 91-year-old Cristano Luna for his academic achievements. Over the past three years, Luna has faithfully attended three night classes per week at Highlands High School’s Adult Education Program. His final course concluded on May 26.

“Mr. Luna is a very inspirational individual,” said SAISD Board Trustee James Howard. “It reminds me and should remind us all why we sit on this board.”

Cristano Luna, 91, accepts honorary GED from SAISD Trustee James Howard. Photo by Bekah McNeel
Cristano Luna, 91, accepts honorary GED from SAISD Trustee James Howard. Photo by Bekah McNeel.

Luna serves as inspiration for many San Antonians with similar stories to his. He left school in second grade to help support his family. He eventually served at Kelly Air Force Base, and retired after 38 years of service. When his wife of 60 years passed away, Luna enrolled in reading and math classes to keep himself busy. As his skills increased, so did his confidence.

Mimi Hudspeth, Luna’s teacher, expressed admiration for his dedication and consistency. He rarely missed class and showed interest and commitment to continued learning. He has even expressed interest in beginning another course in September.

Luna’s achievement is testament to family involvement. While the district continually expresses the need for parent involvement in the education of their children, Luna’s family serves as an example of commitment to growth across all generations. Luna’s daughters, Rose Mary (a retired SAISD teacher), Mary Alice and Mary Imelda, not only enrolled him in classes, but they dropped him off and picked him up from class for three years.

“I want the whole of SAISD to get this inspiration,” Howard said.

Howard awarded Luna with an honorary GED and recognized Luna’s many family members in attendance to show their support, including his great-grandchildren.

Along with honoring Luna, the SAISD board approved the local innovation plan portion of the district’s progress toward a District of Innovation designation. In a public hearing before the meeting, SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez outlined plans to allow campuses to design their own plans, due to the district in August, as part of the next phase of the designation process.

The district has elected to pursue three exemptions as part of the local innovation plan: class size, length of school day, and school year calendar. Campuses will have freedom to implement flexibility for class size and length of school day. The school year calendar will be implemented district-wide.

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Top image: Cristano Luna, 91, is recognized by the SAISD board for his academic achievements.  Photo by Bekah McNeel.

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Bekah McNeel

Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog, FreeBekah.com, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.