Latino graduates receive recognition at annual ceremony

Daily Sundial

The Chicano/a and Latino Graduation Committee hosted its 36th annual graduate ceremony for Latino students and their families at the University Club May 28.

Prior to the event, Christy Cuevas, co-chair of the C.L.G.C. and graduating sociology major, said 60 students were scheduled to participate in this year’s ceremony. The event featured keynote speaker Salvador Duran, a reporter for Telemundo, as well as speeches by several professors. Organizers also said each student would be given 30 seconds to thank his or her family during the event.

The C.L.G.C., which spends the entire academic year fundraising so the organization can host the annual ceremony, recruited students for the ceremony through flier-based marketing and word-of-mouth efforts during GradFest.

“I think it’s very important to have this graduation,” said Maribel Alvarez, C.L.G.C. co-chair of publications and graduating biology major. “It’s a way of recognizing our culture. (Students) feel recognized.”

Students had the option of wearing traditional clothing from their family’s country of origin at the ceremony. Prior to the event, Alvarez said this would give students an opportunity to make a connection to their culture.

“It gives (students) that connection they didn’t have before,” Alvarez said. “I would like to see more commencements like this,” said Agnes Alvarez, secretary of the C.L.G.C. and graduating sociology major. “It’s very rewarding for the (families).”

Agnes Alvarez is the first person in her family to graduate from college. She said her mother is more excited than she is, and is making a lot of preparations for the event.

“I think it’s very special (when) parents share accomplishments with (their children),” Cuevas said. “It’s very satisfying for them to see that.”

As the second person in her family to graduate college, Cuevas went to her sister’s graduation ceremony and wanted to experience it for herself.

“We got to enjoy it more as a family,” she said.

To facilitate the involvement of families in the ceremony, English and Spanish were both scheduled to be spoken during the ceremony, Maribel Alvarez said. The ceremony’s bilingual presentation was meant to be convenient for those parents who feel more comfortable conversing in and listening to Spanish, she said “(This way, parents) can really enjoy it,” Maribel Alvarez said.

A post-ceremony banquet was held at the Westin Hotel near the Los Angeles International Airport that was scheduled to continue until 1 a.m., Agnes Alvarez said.

The total cost of the ceremony was about $10,000, with the C.L.G.C. having already compiled $9,000 for the event a week before finals. The C.L.G.C. programmed a series of fundraising activities to pay for the event, such as churro sales every Wednesday outside Jerome Richfield Hall, a Cinco de Mayo party, and a fundraising night at Shakey’s Pizza. C.L.G.C. also received $1,000 from the Associated Students for the event.