School health worker is honored as hero

Molly Shore

Marisol Medina is a local hero at McKinley Elementary School.

She was honored at a school assembly Monday morning when the

student body filed onto the playground to acknowledge Medina’s


contribution to the country as a sergeant in the Army National Guard

reserves, where she works in administration.

“You may know her as a school nurse,” Principal Sue Holliday told

the children, “But many people know her as a peace builder for our



Medina, 25, a school district health services assistant, said she

could be sent abroad if the nation goes to war.

“Right now, I found out that I’m not going, but you never know,”

she said.

Medina’s brother, Richard Espinosa, 20, is a Marine on active duty

in Kuwait, and Medina said her mother worries about her children

being in harm’s way.


After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Medina was called to

active duty, and was assigned to airport security at Van Nuys


When she spoke at the assembly, Medina urged the students to pay

attention to their parents, their teachers and all positive role


In addition to honoring Medina, the students sang “Happy

Birthday,” to their school’s namesake, President William McKinley,


who was born Jan. 29, 1843.

At the assembly, the school’s Peace Builders program student

officers received certificates for their leadership.

Officer Hailey Larson, 9, explained that her responsibility as a

peace officer is to hand out slips during lunch and recess to

students who perform acts of kindness toward others, and she takes

these duties seriously.

“You have to be responsible,” Hailey said solemnly.

Fifth-grader Mary Randon said the assembly sent a good message to

her and the other students about heroes.

“My mom and dad are my personal heroes. They’re very strong and

they taught me everything I know,” Mary said.