When Allison Vargas, 33, a 6th-grade teacher at Bud Rank elementary in Clovis was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, the Bud Rank community stepped in to lend a helping hand.
Through student initiative and help from the community, Vargas was given a chance to take a step back and spend more time with her husband and young daughter.
“The response from the community has been overwhelming. The Bud Rank and Harlan Ranch community has rallied behind Mrs. Vargas and many have never met her or have students at Bud Rank,” Bud Rank Principal Ryan Gettman said. “It really shows what great students, parents, and community members we are lucky to have.”
Although the goal was set at $5,000 by Emma O’Neil, the student who created the GoFundMe account “Mrs. Vargas’ Year of a Lifetime”, since March 20, the page has reached over $21,000 for Vargas and her family.
Over 260 individuals from the community and around the area have given in order to help a teacher that has given so much for her students and staff over the years. She’s become a “a teacher that students love and respect” according to Gettman.
“She’s funny, sarcastic, and cares for all her students. As a former parent of hers, my son still considers her his favorite teacher,” he said on what Vargas means to Bud Rank. “This showed this year as students quickly saw her passion for teaching in the short time she was in the classroom. She is a teacher, students remember their entire lives.”
Vargas took a leave of absence to continue her fight, while also looking to spend deserved time with her family. The goal is to give Vargas and her family the choice to go anywhere they want and so far, they are making good on that promise.
Vargas has a one-year old daughter Everly and her husband Jose Vargas, who is the Granite Ridge Intermediate Band Director and was voted Middle School Band Director of the Year in California recently.
As a family the Vargas’ have given back to the community both as special people, but unique educators.
Vargas left the classroom on April 1st, but her class has been in good hands all year. When Vargas had to take a temporary leave earlier, Russ Jenkins stepped in and offered a hand. Jenkins continued to help out as the two educators shared the duties.
Jenkins would teach in the mornings and Vargas would come in the afternoon.
But on her last day, Jefferson elementary principal Jeff Tifftick bought pizza for her entire class after seeing the GoFundMe page that was set up in Vargas’ honor.
“Both teachers have been great all year and it shows in the classroom that has become very tight knit and a family,” Gettman said. “The students were sad when it was announced Mrs. Vargas would be taking a leave, but they quickly moved into support mode.”
You can donate at the GoFundMe here.