TAMIU dedicates a collection to the deceased lecturer


It is sometimes made evident by what those around him say. In the case of Ms. Frances “Panchita” Gates Rhodes, retired long-time TAMIU Senior Teacher, the words and tears of her family, friends and colleagues had a great impact on her. university.

Panchita died in January 2021 due to COVID-19, which rocked the university and those who knew her.

“Panchita was the heart and soul of the faculty of this university,” said TAMIU President Dr Pablo Arenaz. “She really was.”

She loved TAMIU as much as she loved reading and children’s literature in education. She has read hundreds of thousands of books in her lifetime, advocated for a focus on literature for children and young adults, had an unparalleled love for the written word, and used it all to empower teachers. current community.

To immortalize and commemorate her dedication to children’s literacy, TAMIU on Friday unveiled the Dr. Frances “Panchito” Gates Rhodes Children’s Literature Collection, which contains more than 15,600 books. The books in the collection commemorate all of Rhode’s research and teaching in these areas, TAMIU says.

Daughter of Panchita, Bianca Rhodes stood at the podium, through her tears, thanked the university as she believes the dedication to children’s literature was the nicest gesture that could have been done in her honor .

“We always knew my mom loved what she did. From a young age she knew she could make an impact by teaching, by helping people grow, ”she said. “It was just something she kept doing”,

Children’s literature is important because it improves the development of language skills and critical thinking, provides the foundation for learning, helps children appreciate their culture and heritage, as well as those of others, said Bianca.

She went on to say that it helps develop their emotional, intellectual and creative growth, while strengthening their personality and social skills.

To sum up all of these efforts and Panchita’s goal, the university placed a plaque with her photo in the middle of the newly dedicated section. In the midst of the unveiling of his plaque, the quiet of the library was cut off by the awws, sighs and light sobs of the attendees.

“Dr. Rhodes was a strong advocate for her discipline, her students, her colleagues and TAMIU. The students, graduates and colleagues she inspired easily number in the thousands. With this collection, her orbit will continue to grow. ‘expand and inspire others for generations to come,’ said TAMIU Provost Thomas and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Mitchel.

Rhodes was with the university for over 38 years before retiring in May 2020. Arenaz said his dedication has enabled him to train generations of teachers within the community of Laredo and possibly in the – beyond the joys of literature. This involved having children read around 130 books throughout their school year, which might have been overkill if they were books over a hundred pages, but the number was a point of humor. which lightened the dedication.

In fact, it was clear that in telling stories of Rhodes, the mood continued to lighten when Mitchell said she was the heart of the institution, an older sister to faculty members and a second mother for new generations of university staff. .

“If you had any problems or wanted some good advice you would go to Panchita,” he said. “She was very nice, big-hearted and no one had a bigger heart than her.”

She was a student at Laredo State University, where she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees before leaving the city to earn a doctorate in linguistics. She continued her career holding various positions within the university over the years, including being a member of several committees within the university.

Mitchell said she was a model citizen of TAMIU Faculty and that he hopes her legacy and involvement with the faculty will be emulated by new faculty members. As decisions are made over time within the university, their input is necessary and vital.

They pointed out that Rhodes’ emphasis on children’s literature stems from her belief that students need a comprehensive understanding of literature and vocabulary, as well as the implementation of that understanding in writing. . Mitchell said that in addition to reading the 130 books, Rhodes asked the students to write reviews of the books they read and discuss them.

In the future, his legacy and commitment to children’s and young adult literature will continue as long as there are students who seek to broaden their minds and delve into the thousands of books available.

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