Those who worked with her say she was like a sister to them all. "More like family, more like sisters there, as a team," said Diana Castillo, a first grade teacher who worked very closely with Hinojosa.
Principal Severo Alvarado said Hinojosa was an important part of the first grade team. "I think she was like the superglue that kept them together," said Alvarado. "She, by her example, being such a great teacher, good role model for the kids and the staff members, I think she was kind of just that glue that kept them going."
"I just can't imagine being without her," said Pam Riojas, another first grade teacher. "We'll be ok, she's still with us."
Hinojosa was on her way to Fort Worth to visit family Friday when a truck flipped over and hit her car on S. Loop 289 near University.
Those who worked with her everyday say she was a passionate teacher to her students, and that she worked to make sure her first graders succeeded.
According to Castillo, the students are handling the news better than the teachers could have expected. "The kids came to me this morning and said to me, 'Ms. Hinojosa passed away,' and I said 'Yes, I know she's gone, but she's in a better place,'" said Castillo. "They're very accepting, more so than we are, we're taking it pretty hard as a staff."
"Her sense of humor. she kind of embraced everybody, and especially her team," said Principal Alvarado.
And she was also considered selfless, and was always looking out for those around her, students and colleagues a like. "She never took the time to worry about herself, she was always worried about everyone else," said Castillo.
The first grade teachers lost a key part of their team.
"I just want her family to know that we loved her and we're gonna miss her greatly," said Riojas.
Castillo and Hinojosa shared teaching spaces, among other items at school. For Castillo, Hinojosa's smile and presence will be greatly missed. "That has been the hardest for me, just knowing that she's not there," said Castillo.
There are counselors available at Harwell Elementary this week for any parent, student, or teacher who needs help dealing with this loss.