You never know whose path you will cross when you travel, and travel is a very large part of what I do as Heart Screening Director for West Texas, the Texas panhandle and beyond. I have met some extraordinary people and forged many new friendships. One school district that has grown very dear to my heart is Laredo ISD. LISD started their ECG heart screening program with the help of GBOGH start-up funding.
That first year (2018-2019), together with Laredo ISD’s dedicated school nurses and athletic trainers, we screened 1,353 young LISD hearts! And we know of at least 2 young lives that were saved with that initial screening! Thank you to our extremely generous and loyal GBOGH donors, as their monetary gifts made it possible to cover the $27,060 cost of that screening!
After last year’s initial ECG heart screening, Laredo ISD School Board members approved the purchase of 9 ECG systems for their district – that’s over $22,000 unbudgeted dollars the Board CHOSE to find in their budget to spend for their students to ensure their heart health! Not only that, the Board also approved district funding to cover the cost for the student’s ECGs! And, not only that, but LISD will be offering ECGs to all students in grades 7-12, regardless of whether they participate in extracurricular activities! What overwhelming commitment to student health and well-being! I totally understand, now, the heart of the matter.
Imagine my surprise when I showed up early in November to conduct training for what I thought would be an audience of 10-15 and was met by 78+ Laredo ISD school nurses and athletic trainers! It really tugged at my heart strings. I was equally amazed to learn that one of the School Board members was present as well, and it was my honor and pleasure to meet and visit with Dr. Minita Ramirez.
After meeting with Dr. Ramirez, it became explicitly clear to me that Laredo ISD is the effortlessly cohesive and dedicated force for students it is because everyone has the same energy, enthusiasm, dedication and determination for the students’ health, safety, happiness and success. It does my heart good to see this level of commitment to ALL students!
I hope other Texas districts see what Laredo ISD is doing and will follow their “heart”y example.
-Jane Kitten, Heart Screening Director for West Texas and the Panhandle