Gloria Estefan, first-grade teacher reunite

Estefan visits former school Winston Elementary

Author: Marilyn Moritz, Reporter,
Published On: Aug 30 2013 05:47:44 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 30 2013 05:50:56 PM CDT

Long before "Conga" or "Get On Your Feet," Gloria Estefan was a shy 6-year-old girl going to school in the Edgewood School District.

Fifty years later, on the eve of Festival People En Espanol where she will headline the entertainment, the seven-time Grammy winner returned to Winston Elementary and a reunion with her first-grade teacher 81-year-old Dorothy Collins.

"I have such wonderful memories of this place," Estefan said.

It was 1963 when little Gloria sat in Mrs. Collins' class, the first year faculty was integrated.

"I'm just so glad that even though you are a celebrity, you have not forgotten me," Collins said.

"Never," Estefan replied as the two hugged.

Estefan was born in Cuba. After moving to Miami at the age of 2, her family re-located briefly in San Antonio. It was a pivotal year.

"When I started school, I spoke no English at all," Estefan said. "She took special care to teach me and within six months, I won that reading award from the bad boy who called me 'stupid.'"

Estefan credited her former teacher's patience and passion for putting a shy little girl on the road to confidence.

"She was so important to me," she said. "And I think teachers sometimes don't realize the impact you have on a daily basis."

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