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June 1, 2010 > Scholars honored at San Leandro's first Latino Student Achievement Night

Scholars honored at San Leandro's first Latino Student Achievement Night

Submitted By Robin Michel

The John Muir Middle School auditorium was filled to capacity at the recent First Annual Latino Student Achievement Night, a celebratory event hosted by parent groups of the San Leandro Unified School District (SLUSD) to recognize educational excellence. Over 550 students in grades five through twelve, as well as adult education, were identified by their administrators for scholarship and commitment.

Although not all students recognized could attend the event, the turnout far exceeded what could be considered an ambitious goal for a first year event. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and friends snapped photos and took movies of scholars who received thunderous applause for their achievements-including San Leandro Adult School's oldest graduate, Mr. Edward Carillo.

"All 22 of our adult students honored tonight - as exemplified by Mr. Carillo (graduating at age 63) - illustrate deep commitment to education, in spite of life's many challenges," said Principal Brad Frazier, San Leandro Adult School. "Each of them has shown determination and drive in improving their lives and those of their families."

In her remarks, delivered in both English and Spanish, Cindy Cathey expressed pride in the achievements of the students, saying, "There are 563 students who met the criteria to be acknowledged here tonight and we are enormously proud of them. We also know that they did not get here on their own. Parents, families, friends, teachers, principals, and all school staff would also like to thank you for your support of our young Latino scholars."

The theme of family, including the family of the larger community, was also articulated by the keynote speaker Anthony Chavez, grandson of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, when he spoke to the students:

"I also want to congratulate your parents, teachers and friends. Without them, you would not be here. In the end, we belong to a much larger family...and we have a duty to work for change...we have a duty to ourselves and our families and communities to be lifelong learners...to keep our minds open and curious and to pay attention...education should lead to a life of service....that is what gives life its joy and meaning."

The program showcased performances by Mariachi Azteca de San Jose and the mariachi band headed by SLUSD's own Esteban Zapiain. The SLUSD Board of Education President Mike Katz-Lacabe and Trustees Morgan Mack-Rose, Diana Prola and Carmen Sullivan acknowledged the students achievements. Dignitaries in the audience included San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos, Vice Mayor Ursula Reed, Council members Joyce Starosciak and Jim Prola. But the most important VIPs were the scholars themselves and their families.

The First Annual Latino Achievement Night was sponsored by the San Leandro Unified School District English Language Advisory Committee (ELAC) and District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC); the PTA's and PTO's of Garfield, Jefferson, Madison, McKinley, Monroe, Roosevelt, Washington, and Wilson Elementary Schools; Bancroft and John Muir Middle Schools; Lincoln and San Leandro High Schools; and San Leandro Adult School faculty and staff; the San Leandro High Graphic Studio, Mi Pueblo Market, the San Francisco Foundation, and Kurt Burton Photography.

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