HARLINGEN — Compassion, dedication and selflessness.
Those are just a few qualities Harlingen native Mario Luna possesses.
For his dedication to his job as the Forney school district fine arts director, Luna was awarded the Forney Chamber of Commerce Helping Hands Award earlier this month.
“It is a very humbling experience to have received this award from the Forney Chamber of Commerce,” Luna said.
“I have been raised to help others when I can, so I have merely been doing what I’ve been raised to do.”
Luna has been with the Forney school district for 11 years and has been the director of fine arts for three years.
Through this new administrative role, he has met many more city employees and friends who have helped him promote the arts in Forney.
“With the population a little under 17,000, we are a tight-knit community with a lot of support of the arts from the district,” Luna said.
In recognizing Luna with the award, Forney Chamber of Commerce Board Director Mary Elsbecker said Luna coordinates and promotes concerts, performances, artistic displays and competitions for their children.
“His efforts allow individuals to witness and experience the incredible artistic talents of our Forney children, not only in Forney, but in all of North Texas, across the state and even nationwide,” she said.
“He is dedicated to being at every event, whether it’s a band concert, an art display or competitions all over the state, making sure everything runs smoothly.”
Born and raised in Harlingen, Luna attended Ben Milam Elementary, then Coakley and then graduated from Harlingen South in 1998.
He attended Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and then obtained his graduate degree at Texas A&M University Commerce in music and education.
His parents, who still live in Harlingen, are Elivorio and Maria Luna.
“I owe my success first to my parents,” Luna said. “They have raised me and my brothers and supported us through our careers.”
He also owes his success to the many mentors he had here in Harlingen.
“Mr. Dennis Lester, still with the district, showed me the passion of music and percussion. I was very fortunate to have great music programs that valued the importance of the arts and proud to see the district continues that approach today.”
Luna said his current district, Forney ISD, has supported him throughout his career. The small town feel of Forney is a special comfort to Luna.
“Everyone knows everyone and we are supported by the administration and community to promote the arts,” Luna said.
“I am co-chair of the Forney Arts Council and we help promote the importance of the arts in our community through various ideas and projects. I helped found the Forney Community Band a few years ago that gives concerts in the summer to our community.”