Former Student of Irene Garza Speaks Out

KRGV-TV, Channel 5
December 09, 2017

[with video]

A former student of Irene Garza spoke to CHANNEL 5 NEWS.
     Garza was murdered in 1960. John Feit, a former priest, was convicted Thursday in her murder and sentenced to live in prison.
     Garza's former student Maria Olivares now lives in California. She spent her early years in McAllen, where Irene Garza taught her in elementary school.
     "She was kind, generous, and she did help all of us that she went down the aisle, making sure our work was done," said Olivares.
     The former student said Garza would even buy students shoes when they needed them.
     Olivares said she was devastated because she had a special bond with Garza since they both spoke Spanish.
     "When her life was cut short, we were really hurt. But, it wasn't talked too much about. They didn't want the children to know too much about what had happened to her, but the adults knew," said Olivares.
     She said back then, there were no grief counselors available like there are now-a-days.
     As a young student, she said they were left with little answers when their teacher didn't come back to school after attending confession at church.
     "She'd do that every week. She was a devout Catholic, and then she just didn't come back. They told us she wasn't coming back and we were going to get someone else. Where is she? What happened? Is she sick? And they couldn't tell us anything," said Olivares.
     Olivares always hoped her teacher would get justice.
     "We never forgot her life...her story. We always followed it, and every year we would look and call our friends in Texas 'what's going on in the case?'" said Olivares.
     On Thursday, Olivares said she and so many others who loved Irene Garza got some closure as former priest John Feit was found guilty of murder.
     "I am so glad today that he is found guilty and will stay in prison until his dying day," said Olivares.
     Olivares said she will never forget Irene Garza.


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