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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

West Side Teacher Who Won 2019 Golden Apple Award Badly Injured After Being Hit By Bus, Family Says

The family of Leticia Raygoza, a teacher at Phoenix Military Academy, started a GoFundMe to help pay her medical bills.

Leticia Raygoza with students.
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GARFIELD PARK — A 2019 Golden Apple Award-winning teacher from Chicago who recently had a new baby was badly injured when hit by a bus out of state, her family said.

Leticia Raygoza teaches AP Spanish language and literature at Phoenix Military Academy in East Garfield Park, where over 90 percent of her AP students pass their exams for college credit. She was honored in 2019 with the highly competitive Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Injuries from the crash left her badly hurt and in need of more surgeries to save her arm and leg. A GoFundMe campaign was set up by her family to help pay medical bills and support her recovery. It’s already raised more than $27,000 of the $40,000 being sought. GoFundMe officials publicized the campaign to help it reach its goal.

Raygoza is the primary breadwinner of her family, which includes her newborn baby, a young son and daughter. She gave birth just months ago, but experienced complications with the epidural including a cerebrospinal fluid leak, her cousin Griselda Perez said.

While traveling out of state for a postpartum doctor visit to get help managing complications, she lost sensation in her legs while crossing a street and was hit by a bus, Perez said in the fundraiser.

Multiple surgeries will be required for to repair Raygoza’s arm and leg that were injured. Her family said she is fortunate to be alive but they fear she may lose her limbs if the surgeries are not successful.

Principal Ferdinand Wipachit and assistant principals Margaret Miles and Charles Malek said Raygoza is an extremely popular member of the staff who has taught Spanish or math at Phoenix since 2007.

“Ms. Raygoza is an amazing person, parent, teacher, role model, and inspiration to countless children and adults alike,” the administrators said in a statement. “Please keep sending Ms. Raygoza and her family support and positive energy in any way, shape, or form.”

Leticia Raygoza winning the Golden Apple Award.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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