Celebrating Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans
25th Annual Recognition Celebration Fetes Thousands of Students
By: Mimi Ko Cruz
About 300 graduates and graduation candidates were recognized May 11 at the 25th annual Chicano/Latino and Native American Recognition Celebration at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel. The Class of 2013 includes 2,850 Chicano/Latino and 59 Native American students.
As Latinos become the largest ethnic group in America, President Mildred García told the students, “your journey is to become role models and change agents for our country. Ustedes van a llevar este país a un lugar mucho más alto y esperamos que sigan aprendiendo. Keep learning. Keep doing the things that you love. Take the opportunity to do what you love with passion and always remember the institution that gave you a fabulous faculty and staff, a tremendous educational environment and a good academic degree.”
José F. Moreno, chair and professor of Chicano and Latino studies at Cal State Long Beach and president of Los Amigos of Orange County, delivered the keynote address at the event, which was sponsored by the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association.
Moreno noted that the number of Latino college graduates still lags far behind other ethnic groups and, therefore, those who succeed deserve special recognition. “In 1988, 11 percent of Latino graduates from high school attended a UC or Cal State,” he said. “Now, 25 years later, it’s only 14 percent. We must work hard every day to make sure that the dreams of our parents become a reality.”
The student speakers were Rebecca Avalos (M.A. communication studies) and Melisa Montaño-Ochoa (B.A. Spanish). Both first-generation college students thanked their parents, mentors and Cal State Fullerton for the opportunities afforded to them during their years on campus. Avalos has been admitted to the University of Colorado with a full scholarship to pursue a doctorate in communication studies.