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The Madera Tribune

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Urged to ‘choose Matilda’ for new school

February 14, 2017

Thought you might be interested in our story and the Choose Matilda High School Campaign we are doing for naming the new high school in Madera that will be built and funded by measure G. 
Matilda Verdu Torres, was my Mother-in-law, who was an educator, and provided 37 years of service to Madera Unified School District.


She was one of the early pioneers who developed the four Career Schools at Madera High School, what is known now as the North Campus, which provided students the opportunity to receive and earn college credits through Advanced Placement (AP) College Prep Classes.


She changed the lives of thousands of her students, their families, and the community, molding her students to be the successful and productive citizens that they are today including myself, her daughter-in-law.


Testimonials: “I had a very abusive situation at home. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for this woman. She was there for me when other adults were not. She made certain that I did not sleep out on the streets and that I had a meal in my stomach. She risked her job to make sure that I was safe. I never had the chance to thank her as an adult. I hope she knows now, watching us from above, what an instrumental person she was in my life. No one deserves this honor more than she,” said Antoinette Garza, a student of Matilda Torres.


“I had the privilege of meeting Matilda through family, and she was always caring and warm. I could tell she was a special lady, but when she passed away, I was stunned by the magnitude of people in the community who showed up to honor her. They shared endless stories of the way she had deeply impacted their lives and education. She truly is an inspiration, and with this selection, would continue her life’s work of inspiring students towards a love of learning and caring for one another,” said Armeen C.


There are many more examples on our Facebook page. You can check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/choosematilda. We have a petition proposing Matilda Torres to be the name for the new high school in Madera. I didn’t meet her until I was 22 and even then she made a huge, positive impact in my life and because of her, I went onto receive my Master’s Degree in Social Work, which at the time, I thought it was impossible to achieve.


She changed my life and gave me hope for a good future, which I now have. She did the same for her students. She assisted her students with college applications and getting them into colleges. 
In addition, she went beyond the call of duty and would house them in her home in order to assure their basic needs were being met. Those students were either homeless, neglected, or abused, and some of them were orphans without any adult care provider.


What she gave to the students is hope that will last them a lifetime and beyond, changing their lives positively for the better. She was also the founding member of the California American Mexican Education Association which now has many chapters located in different cities, including Madera and Fresno Chapter. She was president of the Madera Chapter and was also president of the Latinas Unidas Non-profit organization in Madera that promotes higher education and raises money to provide scholarships to high school students.


She has received many awards and great achievements throughout her 37 years of service in MUSD.


She also belonged to the Rotary Club.


I thought this would give you an idea what kind of legacy she left behind and the many great changes and positive impact she made in the educational system, the lives of her students, and the community. Thank you.


— Pada Vang-Torres,
Choose Matilda High School Campaign Team

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