June 27, 2003

18 Years of Awarding Scholarships to Our Youth

18 years ago, in 1985, the local League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 2842, started out by giving $200 dollars in scholarships to five high school students. This was LULAC’s first luncheon recognizing the need to encourage, award and assist local Hispanic students as they strived to achieve educational success.

Veronika Muñoz, educator at Rice Elementary, presents LULAC Incentive Awards to Ariel Bayless, Sandra Rodriguez, Mario Diver, Sarah Sandoval, and Roxanna Cueva.

From those humble beginnings the annual luncheon and awards program has grown to today’s totals where 54 students were recognized and $11,000 in scholarships and incentive awards were presented this last weekend at LULAC’s 18th Annual Awards Luncheon.

Under the direction of their president, Bea Estrada, LULAC members have devoted themselves to this, one of their most important endeavors each year, where they work all year long to raise the funds, identify the deserving students, and putting the awards program together.

This year, with the theme being “Education is your security in life and your passport to eternity” the awards program featured Master of Ceremonies Vic Salazar, Anchor, NBC 7/39 news and Keynote speaker Dr. Rudy Castruita, Superintendent of Schools, San Diego County.

The road to educational success starts with our students in pre-school. These young students from Head Start are our future and through the incentive awards they are well on the way to great success.

Dr. Castruita enlivened the audience with his personal story of how he overcame poverty, a language barrier, and the fact that he received no institutional encouragement or assistance in his early years, and that through the love of his grandparents, in particular his grandmother, overcame all obstacles and was able to achieve his dream – to become a teacher. Dr. Castruita closed his remarks by reminding the parents the importance of empowerment to create change and success within the schools.

Following the inspirational speech, led by the 4 and 5-year-old Head Start students, the 54 students were presented and recognized for overcoming their personal obstacles and achieving success.

From the five scholarships handed out in 1985 to high school students, today’s awards and scholarships that are now, not only given to high school students, but to college students and to pre-school and elementary students, as incentive awards, recognizing the fact that the road to educational success starts during the first critical years of education.

This year the 2003 Anheuser-Busch Sales of San Diego sponsored the Scholarship Awards Luncheon.

Receiving the Anheuser-Busch Eagle Achievement-Adult Scholarship from John Castillo is Victoria Perez.

Of course the LULAC awards program would not be as successful as it is without the support of corporate sponsorship such as: Macy’s, Home Depot, Home Town Buffet, Blockbuster, Viejas Enterprises, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Sunset Towing, Sav-On, San Diego Padres Baseball Club, San Diego Zoological Society, La Prensa San Diego, San Diego chargers, Smart & Final, and Bank of America.

Also contributing to the scholarship fund included: Cherie Morante, American Legion Post 6, The Dunn Family, John & Lezette Davis, Frank & Irma Manthei, and Andree Reynolds.

Presented scholarships were: Araceli Lopez UC Irvine; Victoria Perez, National City Adult School; Raul Garcia, Julian Garcia, Alejandro Guerrero all from Castle Park High; Carla Lopez, Natalie Palacio, and Leticia Hu from Montgomery High; Vanessa Guzman, Hilltop High; Daniel R. Gonzalez, Eastlake High; Leticia Fierro and Viridiana Enriquez from Sweetwater High.

Receiving Encouragement Awards were: Hilda Samona, Tana Reynosa, and Denise De La Mora from Southwest Middle; Eric Nunag and Arysa Gonzalez from St. Charles Catholic; Daniela Garay, Mar Vista Middle.

Head Start Motivational Awards went to: Ariel Dominguez, Soledad Guerrero, Lizbeth Pereda, Belen Garcia, Matthew Torres, Edwin Meza.

Sixth Grade Incentive Awards were given to: Christina Tremper, Vannessa Valle, Amanda Broderick, and Raquel Morris from Mendoza Elementary; Ian Tiev, Karen Carrasco, and Rosa Miranda from Howard Pence Elementary; Christal Chavez and Iris Carrasco from John Otis Elementary; Stephanie Aguilera, Ariana Arroyo, and Cristobal Castro from Feaster Edison Charter Elementary; Luz Campos, Sialoren Spaulding, and Jessica Tames from Emory.

Connie Smith, Principal, Juarez-Lincoln Elementary, presented awards to Jessica Esquival and Jofalle Vindua.

Incentive Awards also went to: Sarah Sandoval from Nestor; Sandra Rodriquez from Lincoln Acres; Roxanna Cueva from Harborside; Mario Diver and Ariel Rose Bayless from Rice Elementary; Jofalle Vindua and Jessic Esquival from Juarez-Lincoln; Ada Ming Chan and Priscilla Cante from Nicoloff Elementary.

Vic Salazar ended the luncheon on a personal note recalling that LULAC was his good luck charm. It was two years earlier Salazar was up for a TV Emmy; later that evening he won his first Emmy. And once again this year Salazar was up for another Emmy and was hoping that the LULAC good luck would hold forth and that he would again win his second Emmy.

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