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Annual César E. Chávez Hispanic Excellence Awards & Scholarship Gala to Be Held October 20 - Event Honors Late Hispanic Leader, Raises Scholarship Funds

The Committee to Honor César E. Chávez and Grand Rapids Community College will host the 2011 César E. Chávez Hispanic Excellence Scholarship Gala on Thursday, October 20 at DeVos Place from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.  The annual event honors the values, traditions and legacy of César E. Chávez, while helping raise important scholarships monies.

Mr. Jaime Martinez, Founder and Board Chairperson of the César E. Chávez Legacy and Educational Foundation from San Antonio, TX, is the keynote speaker.  Mr. Martinez and others from the foundation will be presenting to students at GRCC, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Davenport University this week.


“The Committee to Honor César E. Chávez and Grand Rapids Community College strongly believe in the values of César E. Chávez, and we are proud to work together to honor West Michigan students and community leaders who reflect his life teachings and legacy,” said Committee to Honor César E. Chávez chairperson Lupe Ramos-Montigny. 
Proceeds from the Gala will go toward six $1,000 scholarships for local Hispanic students who attend Grand Rapids Community College. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and dinner of delicious Hispanic food, followed at 7 p.m. by the awards and scholarship presentation. The cost to attend before October 20 is $50 per person, or $60 at the door. Reservations can be made by contacting Jennifer Smith 234-3390.

The CEC Community Award recipients are:

  • Ingrid Gallegos - Youth Award
  • Maria Ysasi -  Golden Citizen Award
  • Rosa Fraga Family - La Familia Legacy Award
  • Fifth Third Bank - Hispanic Advocate Award
  • Los Bandits - Distinguished "Aguila" (Eagle) Award

The 2011-2012 scholarship recipients are:

  • Sujey Garcia
  • Leidy Martinez
  • Rudriguez
  • Maricela Pizano
  • Rixy Rudriguez
  • Cassondra Russo
  • Giancarlo Soto

“Hispanics now make up make up 9.7% of the Kent County population and it is important for our community to see to it that Hispanic youth have an opportunity to reach their full potential,” said GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender. “We know that money for college is getting to be out of reach for many families, and with the help of the Committee to Honor Cesar Chavez, along with other donors, that hurdle can be lowered for some Hispanic families and individuals in our own community.”

“Every person that gains higher education is a benefit to us all.” 

Lead sponsors of the event are:

  • AT&T
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • State Farm Insurance

César E. Chávez founded the United Farm Workers and spent much of his life fighting for social justice. Chávez founded the United Farm Workers union in 1962 to help farm workers improve their working conditions and wages. His tireless commitment to non-violent tactics, such as boycotts, strikes and pickets, inspired countless numbers of people across the country to join the movement for social change.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for nearly 33,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.