School memorializes student who passed away with honorary graduation

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas — The graduating class of 2020 for the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District will forever hold a special place in the heart of two women.

Adrian Paz, a life skills student, was born with a lung condition and it impacted his development from birth.

The Harlingen South student passed away on November 8,, 2019 with friends and family by his side.

Janice Maldonado, HCISD special education nurse, was by Paz’s aid from 3 years old until in his final moments.

“I feel honored that his mom was willing to let me be there. I was there in the room was with them when he passed and I felt honored for that,” said Maldonado with tears in her eyes.

Adrian’s mother, Blanca Belmontes called Maldonado her son’s second mom and a hero.

Friday’s virtual graduation honored Adrian as an honorary graduate.

In 2018, Paz graduated with his class, however, students enrolled in Life Skills education are eligible to remain in school until the age of 21 and graduate for a second time, explained Maldonado.

The honorary graduation for her late son is a bittersweet moment but as always, Belmontes is proud of her son and thankful for HCISD.

“I feel like if he’s alive.”

To view Harlingen South’s 2020 graduation click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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