Join the party
What: Mexican American Concilio of Yolo County’s Recognition Dinner/Dance and Scholarship Fundraiser
When: Saturday: 5:30 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. awards, 9 p.m. raffle/dance
Where: Waite Hall, Yolo County Fairgrounds, Woodland
Tickets: $30, available at the door or by calling 530-758-2331
Celebrate today’s college-bound high school teens, and give their future plans a boost with a scholarship.
And recognize community leaders — past and present — whose work has promoted achievement in the community.
That’s the tried-and-true strategy for the annual Recognition Dinner/Dance and Scholarship Fundraiser, organized by the Mexican American Concilio of Yolo County. The dinner/dance on Saturday will mark the 29th year for what is now a local tradition.
It all happens — year after year — through the resourceful efforts of organizer Rick Gonzales Jr., who works for months to solicit donations, arrange advertisements in the program, sell tickets, identify the most worthy recipients for the scholarships, solicit media coverage, recruit people to help on the night of the event itself, and more. It’s a project that becomes more than a full-time job during portions of the year.
But when you visit with Gonzales, whose father was a co-founder of the Concilio, he always wants to talk about the high school seniors receiving scholarships, who come from schools in Davis, Woodland, Winters, West Sacramento and Esparto.
“They are our future!” Gonzales declares with enthusiasm. “The students are the highlight of the evening, as they give short biographies about their lives and dreams.”
Gonzales mentioned two scholarship recipients from Davis who will be featured on Saturday.
“Adriana Jimenez has been in the United States for 2 1/2 years. She is from (the Mexican state of) Jalisco. She would like to continue her studies as a college student at Sacramento State, majoring in criminal justice. Her ultimate goal is to become an FBI agent,” he says.
“She is now a senior at Davis High, and she tells me her teachers are very supportive. She has a 3.5 GPA (grade-point average), and every day, she goes to Davis High’s Academic Center, where she works with student tutors from UC Davis to improve her skills. Adriana’s mother is very supportive and encourages her.”
He continued, “Marco Gomez is also a senior at Davis High. He would like to become an electrical engineer, and attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or UC Davis, or UC Berkeley. He has a 4.2 GPA. He would like to become a computer hardware designer for Intel or AMD (Advance Micro Devices).
“Marco has been an assistant at the Explorit Science Center, helping kids with lab activities. This past summer, he was in the physics engineering camp at UC Davis, helping seventh- and eighth-grade students with the lab projects,” Gonzales added.
Gonzales also likes to emphasize the breadth of the community support for Concilio’s scholarship program.
“This year, we have 120 sponsors, even though many people and companies are still in a tight economic situation. Our 51 sponsors from Davis lead the way. We also have 39 sponsors from Woodland, and 30 more from elsewhere in the county.
“Concilio would like to thank each and every sponsor for their contribution to our scholarship program.”
Gonzales singled out DeLuna Jewelers of Davis as a business that has given significant support to Concilio’s scholarship efforts over many years.
“Our goal for this year is to award 55 scholarships to Yolo County students planning to attend college,” he said. “We serve 14 high schools and continuation schools, as well as Woodland Community College.”
Last year, six students at Davis High School received scholarships, plus four students at King High, and three at Da Vinci Charter Academy, Gonzales said.
“In addition, we will honor 10 adults for what they’ve done to improve live in Yolo County,” he said.
The honorees from Davis are:
* Educator Marlene Bell, who taught for many years locally at North Davis Elementary and Pioneer Elementary schools, and served a mentor to beginning teachers. She was elected president of the Davis Teachers Association, and served as a regional leader in the California Teachers Association.
“Her passion for public education is proven through decades,” Gonzales said. “We will recognize her with our Education Award.”
* Davis police Chief Landy Black, who will receive the Board of Directors Award. “Landy did a lot to clean up Picnic Day after the fiasco several years ago, soliciting help from surrounding agencies,” Gonzales said. “And there have been far fewer racial incidents (relating to the Davis Police Department) than before his watch. Landy sees the relevance of hiring bicultural officers to relate to the community.”
* Activist G. Richard Yamagata, who is affiliated with the Davis Progressive Business Exchange and the Davis Community Network, among other groups. “He helps the community in so many ways, we will recognize him with our Board of Directors Award,” Gonzales said.
“We will also give memorial scholarships named after three individuals who have passed on, and are still helping students,” Gonzales said. “The families of Mel Trujillo, Mary Lou Hernandez and Jerry Kaneko have continued their legacy by creating memorial scholarships in their names, helping students further their education. All three of them were also recognized by Concilio for their efforts while they were alive.”
Since the Concilio started giving scholarships in 1998, more than 630 scholarships have been awarded to local students, Gonzales said, representing “more scholarships than any other organization in Yolo County.”
— Reach Jeff Hudson at email@example.com or 530-747-8055. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHudsonDE