His recent unexpected death left the school mourning while students and staff members reflected on what Garza did to help and encourage others.
Garza, 34, taught social studies and coached football, basketball and swimming. He was also an Advancement Via Individual Determination teacher, implementing a program that focuses on getting first-generation students ready for college.
Garza taught at Fairview since it opened in 2008 and spent one year teaching at Manvel Junior High Schoolbefore that.
“Mr. Ivan Garza has had a profound impact on the Fairview Falcon community,” Principal Bobby Martinez said. “As a teacher and coach, he touched many students’ lives.”
Garza died Nov. 16 after suffering a seizure while eating in a restaurant, said his brother, Imar Garza. A man at the restaurant administered CPR while a woman called an ambulance, but Garza died before paramedics arrived.
“As far as we were aware, he was perfectly fine,” Garza said. “No previous seizures, no history of seizures in our family; so it’s just a shock.”
Fond memories were shared by students and staff members, like the time Garza dressed up as Charlie Brown for Halloween, complete with a bald cap.
Jennefer Bell, a counselor at Fairview, remembered an impromptu career day presentation where Garza stepped in at the last minute for a restaurateur who canceled and spoke off-the-cuff to students about his experience as a restaurant manager.
Garza recently told her that he ran into one of the students in the presentation who is now a restaurant manager and that he was filled with pride.
“He was the type of person that if he considered you his friend, you were family,” Imar Garza said. “He would do absolutely anything for anybody.”
Martinez said that a memorial scholarship has been set up in Garza’s honor to benefit future high school graduates that attended Fairview.
“This will continue his legacy of caring about the educational future of students,” Martinez said.
Donations can be made to: Alvin ISD Education Foundation-Ivan Garza Memorial Scholarship PO Box 2342 Alvin, TX 77512.