MARIA is the grandmama of Hillcrest. Not because of her age–she doesn’t look a day over 20–but because of her warm nature, patience, and tasty cinnamon rolls. She helps keep the school running by covering us with prayer and our tacos with spicy salsa (Taco Thursday is pretty much our favorite day of the week). A natural people person, Maria loves the “family-oriented” nature of Hillcrest and the “beautiful spirit of the kids.” Many students, especially those who work for her in the kitchen, come to see themselves as one of Maria’s kids. When they see her outside of school, she is more likely to hear, “Hi, mom” than “Hi, Maria.” She keeps our cafeteria seasonally decorated and our bellies eternally full. We love you, mom!