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 Keeping Briscoe Middle School Sparkling
 BPy Alissa Reinhard
atty Avila, Head Custodian at
Briscoe Middle School, has
been a part of the Briscoe family since the day the school opened its doors a decade ago. Patty manages a team of eight custodians and is responsible for the cleanliness of a campus of over 1,500 students – a large task within itself. However, Patty has never faltered, her standards have never slipped, and even in the midst of a global pandemic, the halls of Briscoe have never been cleaner.
“Patty set the tone for us back in 2010 when we opened as a campus,” said Briscoe Middle School Principal Christina Rather. “She has helped create a culture in which
our students, teachers, administrators, and parents all take great pride in our school and it’s appearance. I wish I could take credit for that, but it’s all Patty.”
As students begin to return to in person learning, Patty and her staff are constantly cleaning and disinfecting all high traffic areas like stairwells, hallways and door knobs. Before the pandemic, a crew came in each evening to clean, but now, that shift has been dispersed during school hours to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure we’re keeping everyone safe,” Patty explained.
On October 2, Briscoe and Northside ISD celebrated National Custodian Day,
recognizing the efforts of the hardworking custodians who create and foster a clean, organized and safe environment for school communities. Patty is proud of her work and is grateful to be a part of the Briscoe family.
“I enjoy every part of my job,” said Patty. “ The teamwork and the support from all of the teachers, staff and even students – that’s what I love about Briscoe.”
Pictured L-R , Briscoe Middle School Head Custodian Patty Avila, KENS 5 Meteorologist Bill Taylor & Briscoe Middle School Principal Christina Rather. (Photo Courtesy of Northside ISD)
However, the Torres family did receive an outpouring of love and support from their community and their church, Westover Hills Church – generosity in the form of home cooked meals, transportation and care for their other two children, and monetary donations. It was these acts of kindness that inspired Isabel to start a foundation in her daughter’s name, so that other families facing the same unthinkable circumstances,
   Gabriella’s Smile
would have somewhere to turn for help.
If you would like to learn more about Gabriella’s Smile, donate, or volunteer, you can visit or follow @
strongerthandipg on social media.
“Our goal is to make other families smile, even in the most difficult moments,” said Isabel. “Gabriella never stopped smiling.
This is our way to honor her.”
     The Torres family and a photo of their youngest daughter, Gabriella, who passed away from an inoperable brain tumor in 2015.
BEy Alissa Reinhard
very year, during the month of September, organizations, community members, and families
across the nation affected by childhood cancer come together to raise awareness for the disease. This year, Gabriella’s Smile, a local organization founded in Alamo Ranch, raised nearly $20,000 for children battling cancer and their families. Gabriella’s Smile was founded in memory of sweet Gabriella Elise Torres, a beautiful, six-year old little girl who lost her life to DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).
Gabriella was intelligent, brave, daring and always had a smile on her face. When Gabriella was five years old, her mother, Isabel, noticed that her daughters’ eyes were turning inward and she was having difficulty walking. Gabriella also began complaining of headaches. After a visit to the pediatrician and a consult with a neurologist, Gabriella was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor.
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  “The tumor was fused and intertwined with healthy brain cells,” explained Isabel. “Imagine dumping sand into a patch of grass and then trying to remove the sand while leaving the grass untouched. It’s not possible. The tumor is like the sand – there was no way to remove it.”
Gabriella began radiation, but treatment options were limited. There have been no real advancements in how to fight DIPG in decades.
“It’s a very, very difficult diagnosis and while doctors and scientists have done their best, so far, nothing has proven to really work,” said Isabel. “That’s why it’s so important that we raise awareness about DIPG and other childhood cancers.”
After a courageous battle, Gabriella passed in November 2015, just six months after her diagnosis.
“I always tell people it was an unfair fight,” said Isabel. “There just wasn’t much anyone could do to help her.”
owner of Cornerstone Automotive on September 3, 2020. A plaque was presented on that day as well.
Cornerstone Automotive is a family owned automotive service and repair facility. They were founded on the idea that when they provide the customer with honest answers and solid quality service, they also honor God in the process.
In the years that have passed since their beginnings, Cornerstone Automotive
commitment to providing you, their customer, with work of the highest quality at a reasonable price.
Come by and experience how they can get your car back on the road and performing betterthanever.
They are located at 11030 Culebra Road, in the Alamo Ranch area. They can be reached at 210-688-2000. Visit their website at www.CornerstoneAutomotive. com.
November 2020

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