Students Organize to Raise Scholarship Funds

Olga Ramaz

Adorned with colorful papel picado (tissue paper banners)and miniature pi§atas, Plaza Vaquero lent itself to an evening of Latin American music, food and friendship on May 12 in an effort to raise book scholarship funds for undocumented students at the spring Pe§a, event sponsored by the Association of Latin American Students(ALAS), in conjunction with Voces del Ma§ana.

“In the past Pe§a has supported a number of other educational causes, like schools in Nicaragua and other places,” said Greg Perkins, an Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) counselor and adviser for Voces del Ma§ana. “I think that ALAS and professor [Carlos] Ugalde decided that there is a strong need right here [on campus] where we have so many students that are struggling.trying to get an education but they are denied financial aid benefits.”

The students that Perkins is referring
to are the AB-540 students (undocumented students). Their legal status in this country makes it impossible for them to receive any financial assistance which then makes it difficult for them to complete their educational goals. However, Perkins believes that there is a bigger problem facing these students.

“It’s not just the scholarships,” said Perkins, explaining how “empty” it would be to just focus on monetarily enabling these students to get degrees when they are not going to be able to use them for jobs.

An estimated $1,300 was generated at the Pe§a. A portion of the funds will be used to host a conference on campus, happening on June 1 in Kreider Hall, in support of the passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).

According to the National Immigration Law Center, the DREAM Act addresses the situation
faced by young people who were brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented immigrant children who have since grown up, stayed in school and kept out of trouble.

Passage of the DREAM Act would allow for these students to obtain a legal status in this country.

Yazmin Moreno, co-president of Voces del Ma§ana, expressed her gratitude with ALAS for taking an interest in the club’s cause.

Guest Rosario Iba§ez shared Moreno’s sentiment and said that ALAS’ interest in Voces del Ma§ana’s cause was “perfect.”

“Promoting education is the best thing one can do,” she said. “Education should be accessible for everyone, regardless if they are undocumented.”

According to Moreno, ALAS approached Voces del Ma§ana with the idea of organizing a Pe§a in benefit of AB-540 students. Both clubs divided the workload needed to make the event a success.

“[Holding a Pe§a] is extremely important, not only because financially we get to help each other, it’s important because it shows that two clubs can come together and work on an event,” said Moreno. “People can learn from each other and set the example to better the Glendale College community.”

Guests at the Pe§a were treated to an assortment of Latin flavors. From food and music, to hand crafted jewelry, people were given an opportunity to take in a dash of Latin American culture.

Iba§ez’ husband, Vladimir, has been attending Pe§a’s since his childhood, but this was the first time he attended an ALAS sponsored Pe§a.

“It was very well organized [and you have to] give credit to the people that made the Pe§a possible,” he said.

According to Ugalde, professor of Latin American Studies and adviser for ALAS, said that the credit for the success of the Pe§a goes to those in attendance and ALAS members, past and present, who continue to doing a “great job” supporting and organizing
the event.

Before the evenings end, Ugalde
presented Elisa Felix, ALAS president, and member Cindy Sanchez with the Arnulfo Garcia Scholarship and the Teresa del Rio Scholarship, respectively, for their display of “wonderful leadership among their peers.”
Ugalde believes that Pe§a was a success and reiterates the importance of supporting noble causes.

He said, “we are not going to change the world with only ALAS, but we can do something inside the college to help our undocumented brothers and sisters continue their education without the stupid obstacles of borders, and the stupid ethics of this government.”