Éxitos in Spanish means successes and that is what the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative (CLC) and the Latina/o Caucus at UNC-Chapel Hill celebrated on Friday, May 9, 2014. The successes of Latina/o graduates and those who have worked to support and promote the Latina/o community were acknowledged and thanks were given to family, friends, faculty, staff, and administrators who helped students achieve their goals. Each student received a CLC lapel pin to wear on their graduation gowns the following Sunday when they processed at commencement.
“We have so many people who are working to advance the Latina/o culture both on campus and in the surrounding communities,” said Josmell Pérez, multicultural programs assistant director for UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and coordinator for the CLC.” It is important that we recognize the graduates for their achievements. Many of them serve as role models to other Latina/o and non-Latina/o students and demonstrate how resilience and hard work can result in achieving your goals.”
William Vizuete, an associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering, was the keynote speaker. He shared the story of his immigrant parents and the sacrifices they made to help him succeed in school and how he carries on that tradition in his family. He urged the graduates that as they make a new path for themselves to remember they now have a shared responsibility to help others just as their family and the UNC community helped them.
Chancellor Carol Folt congratulated the graduates on all of their accomplishments. “You have achieved your own dream of graduation,” she said, “but you have also made Carolina a stronger, better place for those students who will come after you.”
As part of the experience of celebrating Latina/o culture and success, Paul Cuadros, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, played a trailer from an upcoming six-episode documentary for NuvoTV called “Los Jets.”
“Los Jets” follows the story of a high school soccer team in Siler City, NC that Caudros coaches. The television documentary stems from Caudros’ book, A Home on the Field, which was the 2009 Summer Reading Program selection for incoming first-year Carolina students.
Several students featured in the documentary are mentees in the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI), a program in the Center for Global Initiatives at UNC-Chapel Hill that provides higher education opportunities for Latino youth in North Carolina. Through the completion of a structured three-year program, students from under-resourced high schools are mentored by Carolina undergraduates to develop an enthusiasm for higher education and prepare academically for college success. The mentees receive assistance in the college application process and guidance on applying for scholarships in order to make college enrollment a reality.
About the CLC
The CLC has created a network that connects various groups on campus involved in academic and cultural projects and programs to develop a greater awareness of Latina/o issues, cultures and identities. By building collaborative relationships across campus and the community, the CLC provides a supportive environment for students, faculty, staff and alumni to discuss and understand important issues that affect the Latina/o community. For more information regarding the CLC, contact Mr. Pérez at firstname.lastname@example.org. For other diversity news, visit diversity.unc.edu.