The significance of Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, was not lost on some students and staff.
But even those event attendees who were not familiar with Cinco de Mayo’s history agreed on the role that the college should play in honor of the day.
“There should be more diversity and activities here, so everybody can find out about each other’s ethnic background,” said student Manuel Bracamonte.
Rosemarie Chavez, student fees assistant technician, said, “I think it’s good because it’s a day of celebration, and it gives different cultures a chance to get together and get to know more about each other.”
Guillermo Medina, a media production major, said, “I think it’s good. They should celebrate it. They did the memorial for the Armenian Genocide,” so why not Cinco de Mayo?
At the celebration, held at Plaza Vaquero, four campus groups-Delta Sigma Omicron, the fitness center, Disabled Students Programs and Services and women’s soccer-presented a Mexican buffet.
Many people in attendance expressed their full support for the cause to which the proceeds are allocated. Rozik Avanesian, instructional computer lab technician at the High Technology Center for students with disabilities, said she supports the event “because it’s for the students.”
Event attendees dined on carne asada tacos, chicken tacos, Mexican rice, pinto beans, salsa and chips. Garnish included cut cilantro, diced onions, corn tortilla chips, two types of shredded cheese and both red and green salsa. All of the food for the fiesta was donated.
“Instructors, students—everybody brings a little something,” said coach Jon Gold, director of the fitness center.
Proceeds from the sale will be divided among Disabled Students Programs and Services, women’s soccer, the fitness center and Delta Sigma Omicron. All of the money will be used for programs and services for GCC students.
Food servers came from the ranks of the faculty and staff as well as the student body. Gold manned the barbecue pit from early in the morning until the event ended, at 1 p.m.
Tina Andersen-Wahlberg, senior high technology specialist/instructor and director of the High Technology Center, worked the cash table. Jorge Acevedo, president of Delta Sigma Omicron, secured large donations of food and sodas from Jon’s Markets.
“They’re real good friends of mine, and they contribute all of the time,” Acevedo said. “They’re the ones who inspired me to get the club started.” Delta Sigma Omicron is a campus club that describes itself as “dedicated to making the college experience positive for all students regardless of any disability.”
The Cinco de Mayo celebration at GCC originally began with the Cinco de Mayo barbecue five years ago. Gold said a former coach who worked with students who had medical problems wanted to establish a camp for them at which trained health care professionals, including doctors, would attend. It was successful.
Other students and other programs have benefited from the Cinco de Mayo festival and fiesta. George Mena, head coach of the women’s soccer team, said, “It [the proceeds] enables us to buy things for our program that the college can’t pay for because of the budget cuts.”
Alma Minger, a liberal studies student, said, “I think it’s very nice that students and teachers” are joining together and working for a common cause that benefits students. She was in the last group of a long line of supporters who purchased meals.
Roxana Yvonne Quintinilla, who plans to major in industrial engineering, said, “I go to the HTC and I see how important it is for disabled students” to be able to have access to high technology and receive specialized instruction. “I want to support them.”
The barbecue was so well patronized that Dr. Lee Parks had to go out for an additional 25 pounds of carne asada and 250 corn tortillas.
Well before time for the event to end, Andersen-Wahlberg said, “At this point. I think we’re pretty much at where we were last year or maybe a little bit better. It’s going well. I think we sold, probably, at least 150 meals today.”