Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Rick Gonzales named Citizen of the Year

Davis Citizen of the Year Rick Gonzales is surrounded by his family, including his wife Erlinda and his grandchildren. On the couch are, from left, Analiza Martinez, 16; Cruz Gonzales, 3; and Rosalie Martinez, 20. On the floor are Riana Gonzales, 7, and Ricky Gonzales, 13. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | November 16, 2012 |

Rick Gonzales Jr., who has raised more than $250,000 for scholarships for Latino high school students in Yolo County, has been selected as the winner of the C.A. Covell Trophy, the Davis Citizen of the Year.

“Our annual Concilio dinner in the fall” — which raises much of the money that funds the scholarships — “has taken on a life of its own, and has grown by leaps and bounds,” Gonzales said. “The students that we recognize with scholarships are the leaders of tomorrow, and I’m happy we can play a small role in helping them reach their higher education.”

A total of 575 students have received college grants from the Mexican American Concilio of Yolo County in the past 12 years.

The Concilio has been a Gonzales family tradition. Gonzales’ father, Rick Gonzales Sr., co-founded the organization decades ago; he died in 2004.

The younger Gonzales says the Citizen of the Year award is also a recognition of the work his father began. “I think my Pop is looking down. He’d be so pleased that his legacy continues,” Gonzales said. “He’s the reason we do what we do.”

In its early years, the Concilio advocated for social justice and equality. Starting in 2000, the organization began awarding scholarships to graduating high school students.

“That first year, we had two scholarships,” Gonzales said. This year, he has a goal of 55 scholarships, to be awarded to students graduating from high schools in Davis, Woodland, Winters, Esparto and West Sacramento.

Over the years, Gonzales also helped establish the city of Davis Human Relations Commission, which came into being after the racially motivated slaying of Davis High School student Thong Hy Huynh, who was stabbed to death on campus in 1983. The Davis City Council established the commission in response, charging it to build respect and mutual understanding in the community.

Gonzales was a charter member of the commission and an active participant for eight years as it developed a report examining racial issues in Davis, containing 51 recommendations.

Gonzales also has served for three years as a board member with the Yolo Family Resource Center, and was involved in its “Champions for Children” annual fundraiser. He’s also been active with the Odd Fellows of Davis, helping with bingo fundraisers and other activities.

Other involvement includes the Davis Progressive Business Exchange, the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, the Davis Joint Unified School District’s Targeted Assistance Group and the Woodland Community College Puente Program. He’s also been active as a youth sports coach and a community mediator.

“Throughout his life, Rick has embodied a civic spirit in his many charitable activities,” Bill Ritter wrote in his nomination letter. “His fundraising skills are legendary. He is dependable and a committed citizen who, when he takes on a task, big or small, sees it through to completion.”

Born in San Francisco, Gonzales was raised in Woodland, and graduated from Woodland High School. He then joined the U.S. Army, serving in Vietnam and Germany. Returning to California, he attended Sacramento City College and Sacramento State. He then became a teacher (and in some years a vice principal) in the Sacramento City Unified School District, teaching at Sacramento High, Luther Burbank High and several elementary schools.

Gonzales and his wife Erlinda moved to Davis in 1975, and their children attended local schools. Over time, he became more and more active in the Concilio, and advancing the cause of minorities in what is generally seen as a predominantly white college town.

Gonzales recalls volunteering to organize a minority career day at Holmes Junior High, which his children attended, in 1990. “The vice principal at that time told me that there weren’t enough minority people in professional positions to make for a good career day,” Gonzales remembers. “So I produced 50 people of color to fill that career day. It was a very succesful event.

“The biggest motivator for me,” he added, “is when somebody tells me I can’t do something. Then I feel I can prove otherwise. I’ve done that over and over again.”

Gonzales retired from teaching several years ago and devoted himself to expanding the Concilio’s scholarship program, and closing the achievement gap between different ethnic and demographic groups in the local schools.

“I hope that one day we produces a document on how we closed this gap,” he said. “This is such a shame that we still have a big achievement gap in Davis. It’s almost incongruent — we have high test scores, but we still leave out a group of students, for whatever reason. That gap needs to be closed.”

The C.A. Covell Citizen of the Year Award has been given annually since the 1940s, and Gonzales appears to be the first recipient from a Hispanic/Latino background.

“I’m honored to be chosen,” he said. “I hope to be a good ambassador representing the city of Davis in my many endeavors and committee work. We’re all on this journey, and my journey has taken me throughout Davis, meeting people along the way. I feel that every board I’ve served on, I’ve come to the table with ideas and input. I feel good about moving a committee forward. I am action-oriented; I have some energy.”

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    School district may redevelop downtown site

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
    Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

    DUI suspected in crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Scots vote to stay in UK

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Storyteller will draw on music, dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free workout class set at library

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis maps available at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Reception benefits endangered gorillas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Davis hosts its own climate change rally

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Qigong classes available for heart health

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Sick of being the bad guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Project has safety risks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Learn more about Paso Fino

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Educate homeless with dogs

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

    By Our View | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Return to previous plan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Save the ‘pine cone place’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Affirm our community values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Take Zona and Bama this week

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

     
    A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Taylor Morrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Norcal Land

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Robin Garland

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Dana Hawkins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Marcelo Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Bob Bockwinkel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Juan Ramirez

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    James Hanna

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    First Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24