Let me first introduce myself. I am Linda Contreras and came to Santo Domingo with my husband and a small son in August 1962. I started working at CMS in January 1966 when the school was located on Av. Máximo Gomez where now stands the Teatro Nacional. During the first year and a half I taught health three days a week and at that time would also see children for health issues on emergency basis. When the school later moved the high school students to its present location, I was offered the position of school nurse among other duties. It was considered to be so far from any medical facility that there was concern that in case of a medical emergency on campus there could be a long delay in getting medical assistance to the school or transferring the patient to a medical facility. At that time Av. Sarasota had not been constructed so to gain entrance to the school you had to take a small, rather rough road from Av. 27 de Febrero. There are some of you who may remember me; some very well, others vaguely and some not at all. I have many fond memories of students and faculty members who were there, especially through the early years, as the school began to develop and make its mark on education in Santo Domingo.
The CMS high school students were the first to be moved to the school’s new location. At this time I was hired as the HS secretary and also the school nurse. There was a small couch in the corner of the office where a student could lie down, if necessary. The area was closed off by a curtain. When the elementary school was completed in 1968, the students were finally together on one campus. The health office was then located in a small room in the Administrative Building. Later a new multi-office building was constructed and the High School Office, the HS Counselor’s Office, the Psychologist’s Office and the Health Office were relocated. That’s the building were the current Health Office stands today.
I was so fortunate to have been associated for twenty seven years with such a wonderful organization as CMS. I worked with many different directors, faculty members, health office assistants and maintenance personnel. I laughed and yes, cried with these hard working people. I saw our diverse student body grow, not only with American and Dominican students but also students from many other nations and cultures. I took care of these students as I would my own children. I talked to parents, not only about health issues but about problems and situations at home that they were reluctant to discuss with anyone else. I saw CMS grow from its infancy to where it is today, one of the best and notable schools in Santo Domingo.
My four children, two boys and two girls, attended and graduated from CMS. They have become caring and responsible men and women, three with children of their own. They understand the importance of a good basic education from the start. All four children studied abroad and all were prepared to meet the challenges that were placed before them. Two of my children are doctors, one is a lab tech and one has a major in history and a minor in education and the road of their journeys began at CMS.
It´s true, the physical structure of a school doesn’t make a good or better school but the good men and women who teach in these classrooms DO. When better facilities are provided and the curriculum is expanded to meet the goals and needs of the students in this ever changing world, with the leadership of good teachers, then students can reach their full potential. CMS must see that the students have the best opportunities for a well-rounded and complete education so they may meet the challenges of tomorrow.
It has come the time when the school needs to move one step forward in its project of renovating the campus. The school master plan is at a stage where they are in need of constructing brand new athletics facilities as the gymnasium is almost forty years old. Tuition goes to cover 95% of the school’s operating budget, thus to make such project a reality CMS relies on the generosity of our community members like you.
The Alumni Association and the school administration want to recognize my twenty seven years as school nurse by launching a fundraising campaign to name the current and modern health facility THE LINDA CONTRERAS HEALTH OFFICE. The cost of naming that space after me is US$85,253. I have accepted such an honor and now ask you to step up and support this project which in the end will benefit our young sharks and even your own children.
Our goal is to unveil the plaque with my name on the entrance of the health office on March 15th, 2013 for the school’s eightieth anniversary celebrations. With your donation of at least US$100 sent by March 1st, 2013 we could reach our goal
I truly count on your generosity; your school needs you and I strongly encourage you to support your alma mater.
CMS School Nurse
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