For eight students in Madera County, the Association of Mexican American Educators Madera Chapter’s scholarship awards is helping them with their dreams of a higher education.
Some of them plan on going into the field of healthcare while others are going into the field of education. Each received a $1,000 scholarship award.
Jennifer Álvarez wants to become a pediatrician while Jennifer Chávez wants to be a pharmacist and Estrella Flores Gil wants to be a nurse. Gisela Reina José José, Leslie Munguía, Alexa Saavedra, Danielle Andrea Sánchez and Joanna Vega López wants to either become a teacher or counselor and work with students.
Saavedra, 17, will be attending Fresno City College in the fall. She would be enrolled in a two-year path program that transfers to Fresno State University with her career goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.
She is the second youngest sibling out of five children and the second in her family to go to college.
“It’s a great feeling,” said her Saavedra’s mother Veronica Muñeton of her daughter being honored.
Jesús Saavedra said he and his wife are very proud of his daughter Alexa who has the opportunity that neither one of them had to pursue a college career.
“She is doing what we couldn’t do,” said Jesús Saavedra of becoming he and his wife becoming young parents and not being able to go to college to raise their family.
The students were recognized on May 16 during the 2019 Scholarship Awards and Día del Maestro Dinner hosted by the AMAE Madera Chapter.
Álvarez, Chávez, José José, Munguía, Saavedra and Sánchez are seniors at Madera South High School while Vega López is a senior at Madera High School and Flores Gil is a senior at Furman High School.
Sánchez was the only student who couldn’t attend the dinner held at Burrito King Restaurant that included an entertainment performance by the folkloric group ‘Folklorico Mizajaoa.
Flores Gil was the recipient of the Friends and Family of Natalie Deniz Scholarship Award presented by John Deniz.
The annual event also recognized the Educator of the year for showing passion for student success. This year that recognition went to Mary A. Fierro, who is the first vice president of the Madera AMAE chapter.
“I wanted to be a teacher since I was six years old,” said Fierro who is now retired. “I had a very successful career… Teaching is very satisfying.”
“I loved my profession,” said Fierro who also shared with the scholarship recipients a few words of advice and encourage them to become educators in the future.
Madera Unified School District Superintendent Todd Lile was the guest speaker at the event.
Lile said as they look back to how much has been accomplished in Madera, it’s important to look forward to the things that still need to be accomplish there.
“Tonight, we have the opportunity to help students,” Lile said adding that those students will be part of a new generation who would create a whole new community.
Lile encourage students to comeback to the community that saw them grow up after they are done with their college education and consider their hometown to raise their own family.
“This is a great place to raise a family and to make a difference,” Lile said.