By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
May 1, 2013
All you need to know about Diana Rojas is that she has two Labrador retrievers named, wait for it, Cheech and Chong. That should give you a glimpse of the sense of humor of Mrs. Diane Rojas, Gladstone Elementary School’s Hero for 2012-2013.
The mantra, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” aren’t just words to Diana Rojas, it’s more a way of life. Sound cliché? Well, follow Diana Rojas around for a day and see if you don’t start to live it as well. From her desk at the Guadalupe Center in the morning, then off to the food pantry to hand out supplies to neighbors in need, after that, a board meeting, then off to seek donations from the business community to continue Guadelupe Center’s community mission, then off to Gladstone Elementary where she’ll do everything from running a reading lab for students to counseling a student who may be headed down the wrong path. It’s a day in the life of a neighborhood hero. Just an ordinary person, doing extraordinary things.
Well, last Friday, Diana Rojas, in front of her school family as well as her immediate family, finally received some recognition for her 28 years of diligent work in not only the Westside Community, but also for her mentoring work at Gladstone Elementary.
Corralling and directing elementary students for a 90-minute program might seem like a nightmare to some, but to Gladstone Elementary organizers, the show and the ceremony came off flawlessly, including a session of the honoree going Gangnam Style with Mrs. Brock’s third grade class.
The class, with the guidance of Mr. Rainmaker Bob Walkenhorst, even wrote a song dedicated to Rojas entitled “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Walkenhorst worked with the students during a 90-minute session and was highly complimentary of the students, noting that they indeed were incredibly focused for a whole 90 minutes on this song. Anyone with elementary age children knows that’s a monumental feat!
The Gladstone Elementary School Hero series began in 2002 as a way to honor people in Kansas City who made a difference in their community. Past honorees include, most recently Ollie Gates, Major League Baseball Umpire Steve Palermo and Gladstone Elementary Vice Principal Tearo Condit.