Soboba celebrates at Rose Salgado Elementary School groundbreaking

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The decision to name San Jacinto Unified School District’s eighth elementary school after Soboba Tribal Member and community leader Rose Salgado was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees in April 2022. Hundreds of supporters and friends, along with members of Salgado’s family, gathered at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the school on Dec. 11 at 600 N. Vernon Ave. in San Jacinto.

In March 2022, the SJUSD Board of Trustees allowed the community to submit names to be considered for the proposed elementary school, provided they met the guidelines. Among the many submissions was one from longtime resident, community member and current SJUSD Board Trustee President John I. Norman. He submitted Rose Salgado’s name with several comments. “Rose was born, raised, attended schools, graduated and worked in the San Jacinto Valley. She became a leader and icon in the valley through participation on many boards, including SJUSD two separate times,” Norman wrote. “She was instrumental in seeing the Soboba Aquatic Center at San Jacinto High School come to fruition. She believed in the valley and wanted each and every student to have a positive and strong academic and personal/social foundation.”

Salgado, who passed away in May 2021 at the age of 65, served on the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Tribal Council for 28 years and served on the boards of many other organizations in the valley.

The crowd was welcomed by SJUSD Superintendent David Pyle who took a moment to introduce all the dignitaries that were present, noting he had never seen such a great turnout for a groundbreaking event.

A Tribal blessing was given in the Cahuilla language by Steven Estrada and in Luiseño by Monica Herrera, and then translated into English by Estrada. He said they asked the Creator to watch over everyone who was there that afternoon and to bless the school and all the students and teachers who will be there in the future. “We are thankful for the special woman for whom this school is to be named for,” he continued. “A woman who dedicated so much, not just for her Tribe but also for this whole community. Rose believed an education was important for everyone who provided support for so many great causes. We thank the officials who thought about Rose Salgado and all the contributions she made to this valley. Put your blessing on her, her family and all those she cared so deeply for.”

Norman spoke fondly of Salgado at the groundbreaking saying, “When I speak about Rose, I speak from the heart. I can’t think of any greater tribute to an individual than to have a school named after her so that her legacy can live on and the children that go through these doors each and every day will still be affected by Rose Salgado; I know I am and will continue to be. The children of our valley are lucky and fortunate to have these beautiful surroundings, and to be touched by the memories of Rose.”

Soboba Tribal Council Chairman Isaiah Vivanco said, “What an honor to have one of our own have a school named after them in this valley. It goes without saying that Rose made an impact wherever she went.” He said she was always very proud of the Tribe’s accomplishments and worked really hard, putting in many years and effort, to get the Soboba Casino Resort built. He said when the doors opened, it was one of Rose’s most prized moments. “And I know she is looking down and sees this groundbreaking and when the school opens, it will be another one. She was never one who required the spotlight, but I believe Rose is looking down on us today with a huge smile, knowing that she made an impact on everybody here. I’m proud to say Rose was a friend of mine. She encouraged me to do some of the things I’m doing today and I’m thankful for that. I want to thank San Jacinto Unified School District for this incredibly huge acknowledgement. On behalf of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians and Rose’s family, we’d like to thank you for that.”

The Inter-Tribal Bird Singers shared a couple of songs “in honor of the late Rose Salgado to honor everything she did and the legacy she left in our community and the land we stand on.” Following their performance, Salgado’s close friend and Soboba Foundation Sponsorship Coordinator Andrew Vallejos shared a few words.

“Schools are named for leaders, for contributors, for those who made a difference in their lifetime. We all know Rose was that person,” he said. “What you may not know is that she truly was that person even behind closed doors. She was constantly thinking about, talking about, inquiring about or researching what she could do – technically, what WE can do – to improve upon service to others, in her community and our communities. We all know Rose knew how to work; we all know she knew how to play/have fun/laugh and make others laugh, but I think what made her truly great and why we should and are naming a school after her, is not only her commitment to service, but her ability to make things happen. She could motivate people to take action – to think/listen/ask/speak up and change things for the good of all. I often think about what other contributions Rose would have made had she not left us at such a young age. I guess what they say is somewhat true, ‘the good do die young,’ which means some of us have many years to go. But I am proud and grateful to have been witness to the remarkable strides she did make. This school will stand as a testament to Rose’s dedication to youth and education and that will continue to make a huge difference in the lives of so many.

Salgado’s granddaughter, Avellaka Arviso, shared her remarks. “On behalf of our entire family, I would like to thank you all for being here today. This is a very proud moment for all of us and we truly feel blessed to honor the legacy of grandma Rose in such a meaningful way. My grandmother Rose was pushy. She pushed buttons, she pushed people, and she had the perseverance to stomp out ignorance, bring people together and improve educational opportunities for everyone. She knew that a strong education meant a better quality of life, and it was her mission to help further that education for her people and all of those within her reach. As we gather today to commemorate the groundbreaking of the Rose Salgado Elementary School and envision classrooms filled with students for generations to come, let us be reminded of the groundbreaker that Rose Salgado was. Let us be inspired by her example to use our time on this earth to lift people up, motivate them to better themselves, and provide the resources required to be all that they can be.”

Pyle concluded the ceremony by thanking all who attended and saying, “What an incredible moment this is to be starting a new legacy for hundreds of thousands of students in the future who will come to this school that has so much history and meaning behind it.”

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