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January 2016

MUSD Partners with Banc of California, gives toys to nearly 800 Garfield elementary students

GiftsFormer Student, Bank Executive Gives Back to Alma Mater

Santa Claus came early with lots of toys for nearly 800 students at Montebello Unified’s Garfield Avenue Elementary School, which serves transitional kindergarteners to fourth-graders in Bell Gardens. All 755 students at the school received brand new toys donated by Banc of California on December 17.


Santa presented toys that included dolls, board games, toy cars and trucks, among other items to students individually. He was assisted by one of his elves and Richard Smith, president of Banc of California’s private branch in Century City, and Monica Navarro, the branch’s managing director.


Navarro grew up in Bell Gardens and attended Montebello Unified schools, including Garfield Avenue Elementary.


“Ms. Navarro has a huge heart and it is so nice of her to think of us,” Principal David Hernandez said. “Because the school environment was very positive and nurturing to her, she felt it had much to do with her success in the banking industry and wanted to give back.”


Navarro took the time to meet each of the 755 students.


“I told our students to always remember this act of kindness and that when they are older to remember to give back to their schools that prepared them for life like Ms. Navarro did,” Hernandez said. “This was truly a great event for Garfield Elementary. The kids are very grateful for the toys they received.”


An appreciative MUSD Superintendent of Schools Susanna Contreras Smith looked on as Smith and Navarro spoke with the students.


“On behalf of the District, I would like to thank Mr. Smith, Ms. Navarro and Banc of California for making today possible,” Contreras Smith said. “We especially appreciate Ms. Navarro’s efforts to give back to her school and community during the holiday season. Thank you for being here and for reminding our students of the importance of her education here at Montebello Unified.”