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2018 Latino Spirit Award: Chauncey Veatch a champion for Latinos

The Army veteran and school teacher Chauncey Veatch, center, received the 2018 Latino Spirit Award - Friend of the Latino Community on May 7 at the State Capitol.
The Army veteran and school teacher Chauncey Veatch, center, received the 2018 Latino Spirit Award - Friend of the Latino Community on May 7 at the State Capitol. Califonria Latino Legislative Caucus

There are so many things that Chauncey Veatch loves about the Latino community, but the main one is the community’s family values.

The Army veteran and school teacher received the 2018 Latino Spirit Award Friend of the Latino Community on May 7 at the state Capitol.

“There are so many things to like, but the first thing that always comes to me are family values,” said Veatch. “As much as I’ve really been privileged in enjoying working with my student, the frosting on the cake is watching the pride of the parents in the achievement of their children. Nothing tops that and to be part of that.”

Every year, the state Latino Legislative Caucus honors Latinos in a variety of categories that range from athletics to business to public service to human rights. The annual ceremony serves as a reminder of the rich and diverse talent within the Latino community which is a source of inspiration to all Californians.

The 17th annual Latino Spirit Award ceremony took May 7, at the state Capitol during the Assembly floor session.

The recognition for Veatch is like a promise he has been able to keep in serving the Latino community.

Veatch said he was 13 years old when he was introduced to a migrant community in Salinas Valley. Then when he was 19, Veatch meet farmworker leader César Chávez.

Inspired by Chávez, Veatch worked as a United Farm Workers volunteer registering voters.

“I was able to help register voters,” he said.

After duty in the U.S. Army, Veatch sought to continue his service by entering the teaching profession.

“After my Army time, I was able to come back and I selected the Coachella Valley and applied to jobs,” he said of choosing the Coachella Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) because of the large migrant farmworker community. “I’ve been in heaven because it is the most wonderful community. It’s like a dream fulfilled, couldn’t ask for more.”

At the school district, he asked for classes filled with non-English speakers, students with special needs, pregnant teens, and students involved with gangs or drugs.

“They’ve done remarkable things,” Veatch said of his students adding that many of them had picked becoming teachers themselves as a profession. “I am very proud of them.”

He is proud that his students’ newfound academic success serves as a powerful model for the younger members of the community and that they represent a transformative vanguard, which bodes well for the future.

Veatch took the tough kids, the disillusioned, and filled them with hope. His impact on his students was recognized in 2002, as Veatch was named National Teacher of the Year and was honored at a White House ceremony.

For Veatch’s students are his heroes.

When he was told of the Latino Spirit Award, Veatch said one of the first thing that came to his mind was his gratitude for his students.

“I know exactly why, when name national teacher of the year, why I was successful because they tough me,” Veatch said of his students. “Everything that I needed it to be successful, it came from them. I am just a place mark for this outstanding community.”

“This particular great honor, give me a chance to say thank you to them again,” Veatch said.

María G. Ortiz-Briones: 559-441-6782, @TuValleTuSalud

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