East High offers silver lining in family tragedy (Pueblo Chieftain)

28 Jun

East High School teacher Ray LeMasters will never underestimate the hearts or the pocketbooks of the school’s community.

Earlier this week, LeMasters, who teaches social studies, gave more than $1,400 to the family of East freshman Thomas Sanchez. The money was donated by students, staff and some community members.

\”This is just a testament of how good the people are over here to raise this type of money,\” LeMasters said. \”A lot the kids here don’t have a lot of money, but they were still able to give what they could. They gave a quarter here and a dollar there, and in the end it all added up.\”

\”I’m very proud of what we here at East have accomplished with this.\”

The money will go to help support Thomas and his sisters, Jenifer and Valerie, who lost their parents in a murder-suicide in October.

Thomas Sanchez, 45, killed his wife, Gina, 43, and then killed himself at the family’s East Side home.

LeMasters said shortly after the students and staff heard the tragic news, the school began collecting money to help the children. Jenifer graduated from East in 2001 and Valerie graduated in 2002.

\”That day or two after, a collection went throughout the school and we came up $500,\” LeMasters said. \”I was so thrilled with that initial response that I decided to continue it further with the hope of getting as much as we could before Christmas.\”

LeMasters said students in his Young Adults Providing Support (YAPS) group also went out into the community to solicit donations from neighboring businesses.

\”They were able to get contributions of $50 and $100 from the businesses,\” he said. \”They really came together to help out this family.\”

LeMasters said he anticipates a few hundred dollars more will be collected before the end of the month.

\”We’re still waiting to hear from a couple more businesses,\” he said. \”But we wanted to go ahead and deposit what we had right now so the family could have it for Christmas.\”



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