Esther Murguia Garcia ’81

Attended: Episcopal Middle School (a former cooperation between St. Luke’s Episcopal School and TMI), grades 6-8; TMI, grades 9-12…

Attended: Episcopal Middle School (a former cooperation between St. Luke’s Episcopal School and TMI), grades 6-8; TMI, grades 9-12

At TMI: National Honors Society, Who’s Who, Student Council President, Senior Class President, Academic Award – Spanish, Most Representative Student Award, Varsity Cheerleader, Softball, Basketball and Volleyball, Homecoming Princess

After TMI: Earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South (Sewanee), a Master’s Degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University); taught preschool at St. David’s Episcopal Church, San Antonio, Spanish Teacher at TMI and Austin Community College, Project Coordinator for At-Risk Students for the Lulac Educational Service Center and was an administrator at the Texas Education Agency (TEA)

Currently: Lives in Austin, married, mother of Clarissa, age 8. Active member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Austin, including serving as past Chair of the Outreach Commission and Vestry member, Board member of the World Mission Board for the Diocese of Texas, Good Faith Committee member, and Diocesan Representative. Also, volunteers at her daughter’s elementary school

In her own words:
When I think of TMI, I think of all the blessings in my life. My years as a student there shaped my future in ways I never imagined. In 1975, I put on my first uniform and headed off to 6th grade at the old campus in Alamo Heights thanks to the vision and support of former headmaster, Rev. Clifford S. Waller.

At the time, Rev. Waller was the head of Santa Fe Episcopal Church, a mission church my family attended. In my parents Rev. Waller saw a couple who were good, spiritually strong people who valued education for their children and were willing to go the distance to make it happen. In me and my siblings he saw children who would benefit from a TMI education and he went to work on our behalves. Rev. Waller secured scholarship monies for me through the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas to attend TMI, until I graduated in 1981. I was the first of my immediate family to attend, although I was preceded by my uncle Rev. Richard Aguilar (’75). I was shortly followed by my sister Susan (’82), my brothers James (’87) and Joseph (’89) and finally, my younger sister, Jennifer (’95). My aunt Yvette Aguilar (’81) soon joined us.

When we started this academic journey it was a real geographic journey too. My family lived in a humble home on the West side of San Antonio. Since TMI was located in Alamo Heights, it was difficult for my parents to transport us to and from school. Rev. Waller selflessly took it upon himself to drive us each and everyday along with his daughter Amy (’79) and son Matthew (’81) who also attended TMI. I have vivid memories of traversing the city, moving from what seemed like one part of the world to another, passing the San Antonio Stockyards with their distinct odors, moving through the downtown area and crossing into a beautiful neighborhood with its magnificent homes and manicured lawns, ultimately reaching the top of the hill where TMI stood. As circumstances improved for my family and Rev. Waller’s support became less and less frequent, he continued to stand out in my mind as an angel sent from heaven.

My family didn’t have a lot. Growing up, I was unexposed to many areas of life, or lifestyle, that other kids took for granted: material belongings, family vacations, even many books and magazines. In the classroom, teachers like Mr. (Mario) Rivela, Professor (Bryan) Brown, and Mr. (Jim) Thompson opened an entire world of language, art, history and sparked my desire to learn more. As a result, my interest in Spanish language and culture was born at TMI and jump-started the course of my college studies and my adult career.

After graduation, I attended the University of the South. There again, I found the support of another kind soul, Mr. Robert Ayres, TMI Class of 1944. He was then Vice-Chancellor at the university and his help during my years at Sewanee was invaluable. I studied Spanish, spent a semester at the University of Valencia in Spain, was active in the college life and made many friends, including Mr. Ayres’ daughter, Vera (’79), also a friend while at TMI.

Down the road, I earned a Master’s Degree in Spanish Language and Literature and enjoyed a career in education. While working for the Texas Education Agency in Austin, I met my husband, Omar who was Finance Director for State Funding. After our daughter was born, my husband and I agreed I would stay home to raise our daughter.

The biggest thing I take away from my time at TMI is the importance of giving and giving back. Through service and ministry I hope to touch other’s lives as I was touched when I was in need. Opportunities to serve abound in my church, St. Matthew’s and its over 20 ministries which serve the poor and needy not only in Austin, but around the world. I am most in my element when working with the hungry, the homeless and those less fortunate.

If I hadn’t gone to TMI, I do not believe that I would have reached my potential. I recognize how blessed I am and that I owe it to all the people who reached out to us – Rev. Clifford Waller, (former TMI Headmaster), Bishop Scott Field Bailey, Father (Nelson) Daunt (former TMI Headmaster), Robert Ayres. What an amazing and enriched life I’ve led through the grace of God and because of their ministry to us!