New security equipment installed at a Uvalde school is the first step of a multi-layer approach to help protect students and staff.
The new cameras and electro-magnetic locks were part of a donation to Sacred Heart Catholic School, thanks to a company out of San Antonio.
The new addition comes as many families of Robb Elementary are exploring new education options for their kids.
Within the last week, Sacred Heart's new enrollment numbers doubled. A big factor in these decisions, officials say, is security.
"I feel safer because I know that she's safe. Nobody imagines you're going to go through something like this, especially in a small town," said Gina Garcia, whose daughter attended Robb Elementary School.
Garcia's daughter is now making the switch from a public to private education.
"Her attitude changed with school. She didn't want to do anything with school. She was like, 'I want to homeschool. I'm scared.' She was terrified," said Garcia. "I didn't want to send her back to the school district."
Garcia's soon-to-be 4th grader was inside Robb Elementary when the shooting happened. Attending Sacred Heart was an answered prayer, Garcia says, thanks to the help of a private donor.
"I was blessed to be able to have a donor because I am a single mom and it is hard financially. That was one of the biggest barriers of her not being able to attend," she explained.
Marisela Roque, whose children are 4th and 5th grade students, will also send them to Sacred Heart this fall.
"I feel like my kids are safer there now because [the principal is] putting security cameras and changing out windows. He's doing a lot of change just to secure the school," said Roque.
The Archdiocese of San Antonio started a million dollar campaign to help Uvalde by providing tuition assistance, a full-time counselor and security at Sacred Heart.
Principal, Joseph Olan says Convirgent Technologies installed cameras inside and outside the school.
"They donated a $42,000 security system of mag locks, they're coming back with security key cards," said Olan, who adds that fencing and protective doors and windows are next on the list when funding comes in. According to a Facebook post, a video/audio outdoor monitor that all visitors will need to use to be vetted before entering the school will also be included.
“We have a corporate culture of service, but this project was an incredibly special mission," said Rick Alexander, General Manager of Convergint Technologies. "It was a humbling experience, and a very special day of giving back for our team.”
Sacred Heart ended the last school year with 55 students. They have the capacity for 170 students, in Pre-K 3 through 6th grade.
A dozen who enrolled for next school year, Olan says, came from Robb Elementary.
"We do have over 60 registration packets out currently. I am meeting with parents on a daily basis," said Olan. "Security, counseling, tuition assistance. I think those things right now are the three main concerns for families."
Olan anticipates having between 150 and 170 students this upcoming school year. He says if more contributions for tuition assistance come in, that will open the door for more families to help Sacred Heart reach capacity.
While Catholic Extension and Catholic Charities are helping with tuition assistance, more help is needed to reach the archdiocese's campaign goal. Olan says San Antonio philanthropist, Harvey Najim, also contributed a substantial amount.
The archdiocese is aiming to provide three years of tuition assistance for students who transfer to Sacred Heart. To support the campaign, text UVALDE to 210-750-6712.
Registration for Sacred Heart is from May 30 through July 14, with late registration July 15.
When KENS 5 interviewed Principal Olan, the school just wrapped up Wellness Wednesday, where members of the archdiocese provide counseling for the community. This upcoming school year, Sacred Heart will have trauma response for all staff members, including social emotional development training so they can help students who need long-term assistance.