Walk into the parent center at Hooper Avenue Elementary School, and hanging from the ceiling—amid a room of seasonal decorations— is a paper snowflake. Several tables placed in the middle of the room form workstations for volunteers.
This is the room where Dora Lopez, who has worked at Hooper for 14 years, spends most of her time. Well-known among teachers, parents and staff, Lopez is known as “the jack of all trades employee that everyone counts on,” said Angie Garcia, a school advisor.
Her role at Hooper goes far beyond the ordinary task of communicating school messages to parents. She organizes volunteer parent teams that assist with campus cleanups. She creates classroom decorations reflecting seasonal change. She also organizes workshops and makes delicious handmade pupusas, nachos and tacos with fresh salsa. In short, she does it all.
For months, Lopez has sewn costumes decorated with a Christmas tree and candy cane patterns for the school’s holiday play. She saves year-round to buy red and white material, stitching together more than 1,000 holidays stockings, one for each student. As Mrs. Santa Claus, with parent elves as helpers, their efforts ensure that each child has a holiday gift to open.
Lopez is just one example of the talented and dedicated staff members of the Los Angeles Unified family. “We don’t know what we will do without her,” said Principal Robin Polito-Shuffer.