NewsPositively San Diego


Students, parents rally to replace school groundskeeper's truck lost in fire

Mejia has worked at Santa Fe Christian for 25 yrs
santa fe christian - clemente mejia.png
Posted at 5:13 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 21:11:51-05

SOLANA BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) -- Students, staff, and family at Santa Fe Christian School came together to turn a tragedy into a lesson of community and service. When the school's beloved groundskeeper lost his truck to a fire, they raised funds to gift him a new one.

The perfectly kept plants and landscaping at Santa Fe Christian School are all thanks to Clemente Mejia.

"I've worked for 25 years," Mejia said proudly.

For a quarter-century, he has been a groundskeeper at the small Solana Beach private school. But the students say he is so much more than that.

"He has been such a bright light on our campus that we don't know what we'd do without him," senior Sandy Cameron said.

But on the morning of December 3, 2021, tragedy hit the campus.

"I saw billowing smoke and flames," Cameron remembered.

The only car for Mejia's family of six mysteriously went up in flames. Cameron and her friend Dante Rotchford immediately created a gofundme page. Their goal was to raise $10,000 to help replace Mejia's truck.

"This shows how tight-knit we are. Within six hours, we had like 20K already raised," Rotchford remembered.

Within a few weeks, 240 people donated more than $30,000, enough for a 2015 Toyota Tundra. Mejia and his family chose the car from Mossy Auto Group earlier this week. Friday morning, the seniors were able to see their fundraising efforts come to fruition.

With his new keys in hand, Mejia was elated.

"Open!! Look at my truck!" he said with joy.

Mejia said it is a big upgrade from the 1996 Ford F-150 with broken heaters.

"When you go on this one, you feel like a big man!" Mejia laughed. He said the truck was so tall, he planned to install a step to climb into the driver's seat.

Clemente Mejia is now the big man on campus who says he is forever grateful to his Santa Fe Christian family.

"These young kids, all of us, we're the next generation, and we can really make a change if we really want to," Cameron said.

Mejia said because his new truck is a four-by-four, he is so excited to take his family up to Julian and drive in the snow.