Letter to the Editor: Looking for teachers from Hurley, NM who taught at Ray Unified School District

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I attended Hurley Elementary School and would like to obtain a copy of photographs of my classmates. I have been telling this funny story about one of my classmates there, and since I am now retired with a little extra time on my hands, I would like to see if I can remember her face. This is the story;

I was born on August 1, 1949 and attended Hurley Elementary School when I was 6 which would mean that I attended 2nd grade in 1956. One day in the music class of that year I was standing in a large circle. A little red haired girl crossed the room, walked up to me and asked “Do you love me?” I didn’t recall ever speaking to this girl or even seeing this girl previously. I probably wanted to say “who are you?” But I said “NO” just to get to the heart of the issue. I did not know that saying no to a lady was a sin and she slapped me hard across the face and with a huff returned to her side of the room.

I have remembered her since then, but I never knew her name. I must not have been too traumatized because her face has not haunted my nightmares. But then, I don’t recall what she looked like other than her hair was red. My family moved to Kearny, Az a few months later in 1956 for my father’s work at Kennecott Copper and we would never have crossed paths again, that I am aware of.

Possibly I could contact her and make her laugh too. It is really too funny to let the story go unrecorded and would like to record it now. At Kearny I graduated with honors in the top 10 of my class from the Ray Unified School District, and awarded with the National Honor Society.

After Kearny I attended Arizona State University for engineering and my number was called for the Vietnam War draft in 1970. I hired with an engineering firm in Phoenix to await my assignment in the Army. But, an odd thing happened, the war ended and I did not have to report. My employer was impressed with how I ran his office and asked if I would stay and eventually partner with him. Long story short; I am now retired from engineering and living in Valencia, Spain.

I had about 1000 engineering projects in the USA over 40 years, and also two large projects in Spain. The first was a 920,000 square foot micro-electronic fabrication and office complex for AT&T just outside of Madrid. I believe the only reason I was assigned that project is that I spoke a little Spanish. My role was intermediary between the Spain Architects/Contractors and the USA microchip fabrication equipment suppliers. This is ironic because my mother discouraged speaking Spanish in the house to avoid prejudice and I did not learn the basics of Spanish until High School with the Ray Unified School District. As a result my Spanish was very poor at the beginning of the project but better than anyone else in the Pennsylvania office of 700 people.

I plead with the NM and Arizona educational system to emphasize to students the benefits of learning another language. Another language opens more opportunities. My engineering skills were strong and although my Spanish skills were poor, the little that I knew helped my career tremendously. Currently in Spain, the government is pressuring teachers at all levels to learn English or lose their license. Teachers here are scrambling to learn English. My other project, outside of Gijon Spain, was a $500million gold mine. The gold deposit was originally worked by Iberians as early as 2000 B.C. and later by the Romans until their empire collapsed in 400 A.D.

I am enjoying my retirement in Spain with my lovely wife of 38 years. One of my goals here is to connect with the Spanish side of my roots. One of my ancestors was Diego Luis Gallego de la Serna that arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1626. Another of my ancestors was Captain Cristobal de la Serna that in 1710 received a grant for the land that is now occupied by Taos, NM. In 1720 the Governor of New Mexico ordered the Villasur expedition to arrest French insurgents in the mid-West. Captain Cristobal was one of the many Spanish soldiers that were ambushed and killed in Nebraska by the French. I am researching the Spain military records to recreate his regimental flag and present  it to  my nieces so that our  ancestor is more than  simply a name. I would like them to know him as family.

In the Hurley Elementary school playground I was approached by an adult. A teacher I assume.  I do not recall his name, let’s call him Joe. I was sitting alone, as I often was, apparently I was very controversial for that era. My grandfather was red-haired, green eyed Spanish and passed as white. As a result my mother was gifted a house in the “white” area of Hurley. That could explain why I went to school there. But, I look very “Mexican” and in the playground I recall

some of the teachers would tell my classmates to not play with me. I believe that I was the only “Mexican” at Hurley Elementary at that time. I am guessing Joe took sympathy on me and one day sat next to me.  He said “you can be proud to be Mexican. Many of the Spanish and Mexicans donated money to the Americans to help in their War with England.”  It was kind of an odd thing to say to a 7 year old. The only reason I remember this so clearly is that when we moved to Arizona, a few months later, I told this story to a teacher at the Ray Unified School District. He laughed and said “Spain did not enter the war until it was almost over.” It was embarrassing to be ridiculed.  Years later I stupidly repeated this exercise and again was ridiculed and that is why I remember this so clearly from such an early age.

In the year 2001 I met Dr. Thomas Chavez when he lectured on the role of Spain in the American Revolution. In his lecture he pointed out that in 1780 the subjects of the Spanish King were asked to donate for the American cause. In addition to the collections obtained from the Spanish Empire approximately $640 million (today’s dollars) was collected from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California. This can be found on page 214 of his book “Spain and the Independence of the United States, An Intrinsic Gift.” This figure is difficult to assess accurately, page 224 & 225 can help with converting 1776 currency to present day. This and an internet web page were  used  to calculate  my conversion.  These American Southwest donations were received from a very high percentage of the King’s Spanish, Mexican and Native American subjects and is detailed in his book. If your ancestors were a Spanish subject in 1776, in any part of the world, there is a good probability that they made donations to the American Revolution. And, if your ancestors were Spanish military the probability is almost 100% due to loyalty to the crown and peer pressure. Both my father’s and mother’s family were military.

The Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution have created a special category for the Hispanics that donated to the American cause and can be found on their website.  I would like  to find “Joe” and thank his family. I do not recall Joe very clearly, actually hardly at all. I simply recall him as thin, with dark hair possibly 25-35 years of age, face shaved clean. It is possible that Joe was aware of the role of Spain in the American Revolution by his own family’s stories. Although this fact is known in Spain for the USA in 1956 there was obviously no other resource to know this. I would like to contact his family and forward their name to Dr. Chavez. If you have photos and names of staff from 1955 and 1956 I would appreciate that those be copied to me as well.

You can forward the photo copies to me by email if you wish. Or, you can forward hard copies to my address in Spain or my family in New Mexico or Arizona. You can also view my wife’s facebook page with photos of the both of us all the way back to our retirement to Spain in 2014. It is a non-restricted facebook under JulieAJacobs@outlook.com and can be viewed by the public.

Thank you very much for your kind assistance in helping me to find the little red haired girl and “Joe.”


Frank Serna Ozuna

Calle Alberique 20, Puerta 23 Valencia 46008

Spain FranciscoOsunaSerna@outlook.com Mobile: (01134) 602 213 519

Staff (5113 Posts)

There are news or informational items frequently written by staff or submitted to the Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner, Superior Sun, Pinal Nugget or Oracle Towne Crier for inclusion in our print or digital products. These items are not credited with an author.

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