When Dr. Joaqun Garca High School opens, it will be the first high school in Palm Beach County to bear the name of a prominent Hispanic figure. 2,600 pupils will attend the school on Lyons Road, west of Lake Worth Beach. It will debut in 2023 fall. Supporters, coworkers, and friends of Garca were moved to tears as the school board decided on Nov. 2 to rename the institution in his honor. At age 65, Garca passed away in November 2021.
At the meeting before the vote, more than a dozen people praised his accomplishments and spoke about his legacy, and approximately 30 people wore white shirts to demonstrate their support for the new name. Who is Joaqun Garca, though? What is his legacy, and where did he grow up?
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Five things concerning him are as follows:
García was born in Cuba, schooled in the Dominican Republic
Garca was born in Havana in 1956, but he spent his childhood in Spain before moving to Puerto Rico. He has lived there ever since. He attended the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, which is located in the Dominican Republic, to acquire his medical degree.
He Was Passionate About Lgbtq+ Issues
Both Garca and his husband, Xavier Garca, were highly active in LGBTQ+ rights organizations in Palm Beach County. Garca was married to Xavier Garca. Garcia was on the board of directors of the Compass Community Center from its inception and also did volunteer work for the International AIDS Education Foundation.
Rolando Barrero, who owns an art gallery in West Palm Beach, said that when he first established his shop, Joaquin and Xavier were the first people in the LGBT community to greet him and welcome him in.
He stated two of them, “Both of them are great models of community leaders.” “They were the first two people in the area to say hello to us when we moved here. That’s how involved they were in the process. They were aware of the establishment of a new company, and they served as ambassadors for it.”
He Was a Co-owner of El Cid Animal Clinic
In January of 1995, Garcia established the West Palm Beach Animal Clinic as a private practice. Because of his contributions to the clinic in 2016, he was considered for the “everyday hero” award given out by TrustBridge Health.
García Was Recognized With a Spanish Order of Chivalry
Garcia worked extensively with community organizations such as the Guatemala Mayan Center, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Haitian groups. In recognition of these and other contributions, he was given the Order of Civil Merit (Orden del Merito Civil), which was first bestowed in 1926 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain as a way to honor civic qualities and service to the community.
He Was a Founding Member of Hec
Garca was one of the original members of the Hispanic Education Coalition of Palm Beach County and served as the organization’s chairman for a total of twelve years. Hispanic students make up 37% of the total population of the Palm Beach County School District, and this organization works to organize and lobby for greater educational opportunities for those students.
Garca was a staunch proponent of bilingual education and actively participated in the creation of scholarship programs. When people of the community think back on Garca, they say that they consider the impact that his representation will have on subsequent generations of Hispanic kids. Carmen Garca’s statement to the school board was that “it is history in the making.”
“I just pray that each and every one of you understands how important this is not only to our Hispanic community but also to every child that gets the opportunity to see that someone who looks like him or that has a name that they can relate to will be able to see that there’s an opportunity for them,” she said.
“Not only is this important to our Hispanic community but also to every child that gets the opportunity to see that someone who looks like him or that has a name that they can relate to.