Retired teacher, now a volunteer at HMC, looks back on her teaching days

HARLINGEN — Beatrice “Bea” Robledo loved her job teaching pre-kindergarten children.

Now that she’s retired, Bea has turned her attention to patients at Harlingen Medical Center, where she’s been a volunteer for four years.

“This is awesome. It’s really rewarding,” she said.

“The ‘thank yous’ and the blessings I get here at the hospital, and how easy it is to talk to anybody here. The people are very friendly.

“It makes me want to get here and I look forward to coming.”

The first thing she does is visit patients. She passes out flowers, the newspaper and a welcoming card, thanking them for choosing HMC.

“And we also ask them questions, like, is everything OK? And everything is positive,” she said.

But she does more, including volunteering for special events at the hospital. “Whenever they need me, I’m here. Where ever, whatever they need me for.”

One of the rewards, she said, is the blessings from patients.

“My rewarding thing is, they bless me about three times before I leave the room. ‘Oh, thank you very much and God bless you,’” she said.

“So, I’m fully blessed by the time I leave,” she joked.

Bea, 66, lives in San Benito but was born and raised in Santa Monica, a small ranching community south of San Perlita.

“If you blink, you’re going to pass it,” she jokes.

She went to school in Lyford, where she would eventually end up teaching for 39 years.

She became a teacher after receiving encouragement from the superintendent. As a student, she often stayed after school to help other children with their reading and other assignments. And the superintendent noticed.

After she graduated, the Lyford school district “took me under their wing.”

She became a teaching assistant and at night and during the summer she took classes. She would graduate from what was then called Texas A&I University in Kingsville. That’s when she went from being a teaching assistant to a teacher.

Bea began as a third grade teacher at Lyford Elementary School, but eventually became a teacher for pre-kindergarten children.

“Those were my best years, with the little ones,” she said.

“The kids were so innocent. They are always hugging you. They’re about this high, around your knees, and they’re there hugging your knees.”

She looks back fondly on her years helping “the little ones” grow.

“The thing is, they start without even knowing the numbers and the letters and the colors,” Bea said.

“And you can see them blossoming, just like a flower. They’re like sponges, they soak it all in.”

When she retired, Bea was asked to go back and tutor. But she decided she wanted to go in a new direction.

“I said, you know what, I want to do something with a hospital. I’m going to go a different route, and it’s been rewarding.”