Uvalde fourth grader and her family try to find joy again in start of new school year

Gina Garcia, daughter Flor Lara, spoke to KSAT12 about path to normalcy, finding hope

While the community of Uvalde slowly heals following the tragedy at Robb Elementary School, there are new stories of resilience and hope as a new school year begins.

UVALDE, Texas – While the community of Uvalde slowly heals following the tragedy at Robb Elementary School, there are new stories of resilience and hope as a new school year begins.

Gina Garcia and her now fourth grade daughter Flor Lara, who used to attend Robb Elementary, talked to KSAT 12 about their path to normalcy and finding hope.

“Like activities, art, sports, and just stuff that makes me happy,” Flor said, describing what brings her joy.

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That’s the stuff that her mom Gina said is what they have been focusing on as a family to help heal and move forward since the school shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers.

But it’s taken a lot of work to find those moments of joy again.

Flor was in 3rd grader and inside the school during the day of the horrific shooting. Some of those that died were friends and relatives to Gina and Flor.

It’s why two days after the tragedy, they both began counseling, something Gina originally never thought they would need.

“To be honest, no, because as in Hispanic culture, for the most part, they don’t believe in counseling,” Gina said. “It’s kind of it is what it is. And you move on. But this is different. It’s a different time we’re living now.”

Flor sees either a private counselor or one through her new school -- Sacred Heart Catholic School -- almost every day. Gina has gone to a handful of sessions as well, and she said it gives her patience and helps her while Flor continues to unpack the trauma she experienced.

“It gives you a way of understanding as a parent how to deal with their emotions,” Gina said.

Flor said through counseling, she has learned to express how she feels through art and finds comfort in talking to someone she can trust.

“Like you talk to them and like, they make you feel better,” Flor said. “Like it’s like somebody to talk to.”

When she draws, she said she feels peace and joy. She said playing soccer has also helped her find happiness again. Gina said they also take part in many community events and focus on family outings, like Sunday church and meals.

“I think it’s helped us a lot as a family, it has Flor and me to be able to move forward and be able to understand the emotions of the process and to try to be able to kind of, um, learn how to, how to live with it and be positive and try to find some peace and joy in our life,” Gina said.

There are still some hard days, Gina said, but she understands that is part of the grieving process.

Flor said she also knows it’s okay to laugh again, finding that laughter at her new school in the classroom from her teacher.

“Right now, my teacher. (He makes me laugh), he is really funny,” Flor said.


About the Author:

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.