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Santa Fe Christian Schools community raises over $30K to help groundskeeper buy a new car after fire

The students of Santa Fe Christian Schools rallied to give money to long-time employee Clemente Mejia, after his car burst into flames at school.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — On Friday morning, Clemente Mejia, a groundskeeper who has been working at Santa Fe Christian Schools for nearly 25 years, parked his Ford truck across the street from the school like any other day.

An hour later, flames were shooting up from under the hood of his car. An electrical problem was to blame.

"A lot of thoughts were going through his head," said Mejia, speaking through a translator. "He didn't know what he was going to have to do."

Seniors Sandy Cameron and Dante Rotchford were just arriving to school when they saw the car in flames.

They found out later that the car belonged to Clemente, the groundskeeper who has been a familiar face at the school for so many years.

"Clemente is just known as such a hard worker," said Cameron. "All of the groundskeepers because they just keep our campus so nice and presentable and clean, and all of their work just doesn't go unnoticed."

The students moved quickly to organize a GoFundMe campaign, with a goal of $10,000. The students thought they were being ambitious, but the generosity of the school community shined brighter than ever.

"Within two hours of releasing the GoFundMe, we raised over $15,000," said Cameron. "As of yesterday, we ended up capping the GoFundMe with an overall total of over $32,000."

In just a few short days students, parents and faculty were able to raise more than enough money for Clemente to buy a new truck.

The generosity of the school community picking up someone who had dedicated so many years of his life, to making Santa Fe Christian a better place to learn.

"He just wants to bless the school and bless everybody who was able to pitch in to help him out," said Mejia's translator. "It feels like this is his family and he really wants to end his work career here."

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