As we get older we begin to ponder questions like whether the world is a better place because we are here.
Judging by the outpouring of grief and the wonderful stories being shared, there is no doubt that educator and coach Mary Bustos made a huge difference in her short 51 years on this earth. Bustos, a West Las Vegas math teacher and head volleyball coach, died November 13 after battling a rare blood disease for nine months.
The fact that she continued to teach and coach despite her deteriorating health says a lot about this woman, an Oklahoma native who made Las Vegas her home.
She was the type of educator who stayed late to help students who were struggling and who even invited students to drop by her home if they needed help. And they didn’t even have to be her students.
Bustos was just as dedicated when it came to helping students with their extracurricular activities; as Las Vegas City Schools Superintendent Sheryl McNellis-Martinez put it, Bustos was always helping kids.
Many tributes poured in after news of her death broke.
“Mary’s legacy will be that she gave life her best, never gave up and always sought to bring out the best in people,” said Luna Community College President Pete Campos.
“She was like another mother,” said Josh Brito, who played on the Stu Clark title team along with Mary’s son, Justin.
“She was a person who led by example,” said longtime friend Richard Tripp. “She was a true inspiration for her players, and she was a class act role model for not only her kids but for her students as well.”
Teachers don’t get paid much, but, as Bustos demonstrated, they have an opportunity to change the world one kid at a time.
Bustos had that down to a science.
As we enter this Thanksgiving week, let’s remember to send up a prayer of thanks that Mary Bustos decided to make Las Vegas her home. This community is better because of it.
Let’s all strive to be a little bit more like Bustos by giving life our all and going out of our way to help others. And for all the other educators like Bustos in our community quietly changing the world one student at a time, we send up a prayer of thanks for you as well.