Anita Garcia was born on August 25, 1963 in Edinburg, Texas with an athlete’s heart. Her life long love of sports began during her elementary years when she discovered the Dallas Cowboys. Her jr. high and high school years in Edinburg found her participating and excelling in track and field and in particular cross country, a sport requiring a strict regimen of training and commitment to which she was well suited.
Upon graduation in 1981, she went on to attend Austin College in Sherman, Texas. After completing her studies, she worked at Scott and White Medical Center in Temple, Texas for a time before returning home to the Rio Grande Valley. With a growing desire to be involved in sports, Anita enrolled at UTPA and earned her Kinesiology degree. After a few years spent coaching at an elementary school level, she decided to expand her involvement in athletics and to take it a step further. Anita returned to UTPA and joined the Athletic Training program and earned the credential of Certified Athletic Trainer.
Her first job took her to Nikki Rowe High School where she immersed herself in her new role, a role that encompassed various sports. But here she found something even more than a career. She discovered the true heart of sports - the athletes. And in her case, the student athletes and the spirit that they embodied – sacrifice, hard work, competition and team effort. All characteristics that marked the culmination of her life and career.
Due to her illness, Anita was unable to return in the Fall of 2003 to Economedes High School in Edinburg where she had served as Head Athletic Trainer since its opening. On February 5, 2004, one year after being diagnosed with cancer, Anita passed on.
In her memory, the Garcia and Valdez families have contributed annually to the VATA scholarship program to honor her life and more importantly, Anita’s love of the game. It is her family’s hope that the recipient of the VATA Scholarship awarded annually in her name, will carry forth the spirit and legacy of Anita’s life.