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EPISD officially celebrates the opening of Dr. Joseph E. Torres Elementary School

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(El Paso Independent School District -- Aug. 19, 2021) -- The faculty and staff of Dr. Joseph E. Torres Elementary School on Thursday gathered in the library to commemorate the opening of their new campus, a consolidation of Fannin and Bradley elementary schools.

The $20.4 million Northeast elementary school, named in honor of the late dentist and philanthropist, officially opened in the 2020-21 school year during remote learning without kids and teachers. Yesterday’s festivities gave the faculty and staff an opportunity for a live celebration of their consolidated campus with an extremely proud and grateful Mark Torres, son of the late Dr. Torres.

“It’s beautiful,” Mark Torres said. “I’ve been fighting cancer for a year and a half and I’m glad I’m here to see this day. I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible for these young minds. He’s looking down on you and thanking you all and I thank you all with all my heart.”

The EPISD Bond project includes a 50,000 square foot building addition with new classrooms, administrative offices, multipurpose room and library. The former Bradley Elementary, which has been incorporated into the new Torres, also received major renovations as part of the Bond project.

“The kids love the building, the state-of-the-art technology, the playground itself is unique and distinct, the library is beautiful for all the kids to enjoying,” said principal Kathleen Ese. “We’re really enjoying this wonderful building that we have thanks to the Bond.”

PE teacher Alisha Leverette, who has taught at Bradley for 15 years, also loves the new building – especially the gym – and how it’s united the teachers of the consolidated campuses.

“The combination of the Fannin teachers and us working together and seeing the kids together, brings us joy,” she said. “It’s been amazing – just being back and being around kids and interacting with the kids.”

Second grader Jayce Givens was among a few students attending the ceremony. He likes his new school and looks forward to learning especially in the science labs. 

“It’s nice and fancy,” he said. “It has a nice smell.”

The ceremony concluded with Mark Torres, Ese and Board of Trustee Israel Irrobaldi officially dedicating the new school with a ribbon-cutting. A visibly emotional Torres couldn’t contain his pride for the honor bestowed on his dad.

“We want to make you proud,” third grade Glenda Centeno exclaimed from the crowd of teachers.

With that, Torres gave a thumbs up.

“He was a loving man,” Torres said. “He did a lot for a lot of people in El Paso. He didn’t get into dentistry to become rich. Please honor him and please become just the way he was – a kind and loving person.”

 

By Reneé de Santos

Photos by Leonel Monroy Jr.