PHOTO CREDIT: HOLYOKE MAYOR’S OFFICE
PHOTO CAPTION: Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia takes questions from Mater Dolorosa School children during his Catholic Schools Week visit to the school.
HOLYOKE — “What do you like the most about your job?” a little girl asked Mayor Joshua A. Garcia during a February 1 school visit.
The Mayor gestured at the eager faces of the children in the bleachers and replied, “This!”
He continued: “It can get overwhelming being the mayor. But when I get an opportunity to speak with our city’s youth and see your young faces it immediately warms my heart and reminds me why I’m here serving as Mayor.”
Mayor Garcia had been invited to the school as part of Mater Dolorosa’s observance of Catholic Schools Week. Special guests had been invited to the school throughout the week. An all-school assembly was organized for the Mayor’s visit. He greeted the children and invited their questions.
The students variously asked — among many other questions — what the Mayor does all day, why he wanted to be the Mayor, how elections work, how much he is paid and who he looks up to.
To that last question he answered, “My mother.”
He told the students that his mother, who was born in Puerto Rico, had a disabling hip condition as a young child. An outreach team from the Shriners Children’s Hospital visited the island looking for children with special bone conditions. His mother was one of a handful of disabled children they brought to the Springfield facility for treatment after which she and her mother settled in the area. He spoke of his mother’s determination to provide him and his sister with a good life and opportunities for success.