Honrando a Nuestros Estudiantes (Honoring Our Students)
Virtual Celebration 2021
The annual Latinx/Chicanx Recognition Ceremony, Honrando a Nuestros Estudiantes (Honoring Our Students), is a Los Rios Community College district-wide event that celebrates the accomplishments of students that have earned a certificate and/or degree or are transferring to a four-year university. For the 2021 virtual ceremony, we are honoring students who are completing their goals by the spring 2021, fall 2020, or summer 2020 semesters. Register early to receive an "Honrando Puro Pari Pack" that includes a decorative sash to wear, party decorations, and other mementos! Students will receive the link to the virtual ceremony after they register.
This wonderful ceremony began in 2009 at Sacramento City College. Starting in 2010 Los Rios Community College Faculty and Staff have come together to organize a celebration that honors our Los Rios Latinx students for completing their community college goals. It is hosted on a rotating basis throughout our district so that parents and significant others of our Latinx Community can come on our college campuses and feel the welcoming spirit and pride that we have as a District. This celebration is a demonstration of our commitment to the education and advancement of Latinx Students and to familia.
In 2011, eighty-five (85) students registered to participate in the event which was hosted by Cosumnes River College and welcomed a grand total of four hundred (400) attendees which included family members, distinguished guests, faculty, and staff. In 2016, 146 students registered for this event and welcomed nearly eight hundred (800) attendees. Last year was at Cosumnes River College.
In 2017, the planning committee voted to adopt Latinx as part of the ceremony. The X in Latinx is gender inclusive for people who identify as trans, queer, agender, non-binary, gender nonconforming and gender fluid. By changing the name, we hope to foster an environment for students to freely express all identities including: socioeconomic, ethnicity, culture, ability, sex, gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality, citizenship and religion. To learn more about the terms, please visit:
Students are encouraged to invite their family and friends to attend the Ceremony, which includes, live music, appetizers, refreshments, and a keynote speaker. A colorful sash and printed certificate are presented to each student participant as mementos of this celebration. Our previous keynote honored speakers have been Jose Hernandez, former NASA astronaut; Dolores Huerta, American labor leader and civil rights advocate, Dr. Luis A. Godoy, UC Davis Surgeon, former CRC graduate, Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, Liliana Ferrer, Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento, CA.
Keynote Speaker Archives
NASA engineer Jose M. Hernandez wanted to fly in space ever since he heard that the first Hispanic-American had been chosen to travel into space. “I was hoeing a row of sugar beets in a field near Stockton, California, and I heard on my transistor radio that Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz had been selected for the Astronaut Corps,” says Hernandez, who was a senior in high school at the time. “I was already interested in science and engineering,” Hernandez remembers, “but that was the moment I said, ‘I want to fly in space.’ And that’s something I’ve strived for each day since then.” And now that hard work is paying off. He was selected to begin training in 2004 as part of the 19th class of astronauts as a mission specialist.
One of four children in a migrant farming family from México, Hernandez—who didn’t learn English until he was 12 years old—spent much of his childhood on what he calls “the California circuit,” traveling with his family from México to Southern California each March, then working northward to Stockton area by November, picking strawberries and cucumbers at farms along the route. Then they would return to México for Christmas, and start the cycle all over again come spring.
After graduating Franklin High School in Stockton, Hernandez enrolled in the University of the Pacific in Stockton, where he earned a Bachelors in Science in Electrical Engineering and was awarded a full scholarship to the graduate program at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he continued his engineering studies and earned his Masters of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Dolores Clara Fernandez was born on April 10, 1930, in Dawson, a small mining town in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Her father Juan Ferånández, a farmworker and miner by trade, was a union activist who ran for political office and won a seat in the New Mexico legislature in 1938. Dolores spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California where she and her two brothers moved with their mother, following her parents’ divorce.
Upon graduating Dolores continued her education at the University of Pacific’s Delta College in Stockton earning a provisional teaching credential. While teaching she could no longer bear to see her students come to school with empty stomachs and bare feet, and thus began her lifelong journey of working to correct economic injustice.
Dolores found her calling as an organizer while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO). During this time she founded the Agricultural Workers Association, set up voter registration drives and pressed local governments for barrio improvements. It was in 1955 through CSO founder Fred Ross, Sr. that she would meet a likeminded colleague, CSO Executive Director César E. Chávez. As a result, in the spring of 1962, César and Dolores resigned from the CSO, and launched the National Farm Workers Association. Dolores’ organizing skills were essential to the growth of this budding organization. While the farm workers lacked financial capital they were able to wield significant economic power through hugely successful boycotts at the ballot box with grassroots campaigning. As the principal legislative advocate, Dolores became one of the UFW’s most visible spokespersons.
At age 58 Dolores suffered a life-threatening assault while protesting against the policies of then-presidential candidate George Bush in San Francisco. A baton-wielding officer broke four ribs and shattered her spleen. Public outrage resulted in the San Francisco Police Department changing its policies regarding crowd control and police discipline.
At 83, Dolores Huerta continues to work tirelessly developing leaders and advocating for the working poor, women, and children. As founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, she travels across the country engaging in campaigns and influencing legislation that supports equality and defends civil rights. She often speaks to students and organizations about issues of social justice and public policy.
There are thousands of working poor immigrants in the agriculture rich San Joaquin Valley of California. They are unfamiliar with laws or agencies that can protect them or the benefits that they are entitled to. They are often preyed upon by unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of them. They often feel hopeless and unable to remedy their situations.
In high school, Luis Godoy struggled mightily, at one point he dropped out to avoid gang activity that would have set his young life off on the wrong foot. This son of California farmworkers became a father during his senior year of high school and after graduation, he got married and worked as an X-ray technician.
But today? He’s Cardiothoracic Surgery resident physician.
Now, he gives advice to other aspiring health care professionals. Godoy believes the mentorship from peers helped him keep his dream of a medical career alive and strives to be that example for others now.
Once, this seemed impossible, yet in his mid-20s, Godoy decided to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. So he attended Solano Community College, transferred to UC David where he earned a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences and then got accepted to the UC Davis School of Medicine.
Godoy followed his passion to UC Davis, where he found people willing to believe in him and opportunities to help lift others up to achieve their dreams as well.
Lupita Cortez Alcalá joins the California Student Aid Commission from the state Department of Education where she served as Deputy Superintendent of Instruction and Learning Support. She has spent her entire career championing better educational outcomes for students.
Ms. Alcalá has a decade of experience in government and legislative affairs including an appointment by former Governor Gray Davis to his administration where she served as Deputy Legislative Secretary for K-12 and higher education issues and liaison to the education community.
Ms. Alcalá is a native of Tijuana, Mexico and a recipient of a Cal Grant B Award which assisted her in achieving higher education. She is currently Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and a participant in the prestigious Aspen Action Forum. Lupita is a PUENTE Advisory Board Member and a Mariemont Elementary school site council member.
Ms. Alcalá holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at San Diego and a master’s degree in planning administration and social policy from Harvard University School of Education.
On January 24, 2017, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as the 33rd Attorney General of the State of California, and is the first Latino to hold the office in the history of the state.
Attorney General Becerra previously served 12 terms in Congress as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. While in Congress, Attorney General Becerra was the first Latino to serve as a member of the powerful Committee on Ways And Means, served as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and was Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.
Prior to serving in Congress, Attorney General Becerra served one term in the California Legislature as the representative of the 59th Assembly District in Los Angeles County. He is a former Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. The Attorney General began his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.
Born in Sacramento, California, Attorney General Becerra is the son of working-class parents and was the first in his family to receive a four-year degree, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Stanford University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His mother was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States after marrying his father. He is married to Dr. Carolina Reyes, and they are the proud parents of three daughters: Clarisa, Olivia, and Natalia.
Ms. Ferrer has been a Mexican Career Foreign Service Officer since 1992. From October 2013 through May 2017, she served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Mexican Embassy in Paris. Before assuming her posting in France, she was Head of Section of Political and Border Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2013, where she also served as Congressional Affairs Officer (House of Representatives liaison) from 2007 to 2011 and Assistant Deputy Chief of Mission from 2005 to 2007.
Prior to her posting at the Embassy in D.C., she spent a year at Harvard University as a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs doing research on lobbying in the United States. In Mexico City, Ms. Ferrer has served as: Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Special Advisor to the Undersecretary of Economic Affairs and International Cooperation; and as Director of United States Bilateral Relations. She has also been commissioned at the Mexican Consulates in San Diego and Los Angeles as Consul for Economic, Political and Mexican Community Affairs, and in Guatemala City as Mexico’s Deputy Consul General.
Ms. Ferrer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of California, Davis, and her Masters in Pacific International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego, where she was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Center for US/Mexican Studies. As the daughter of a diplomat herself and having worked for the Association of National Olympic Committees (1987-1989) prior to joining the foreign service, she has lived and/or worked in various parts of the world.
During the academic year 1995-1996, Ms. Ferrer taught: Doing Business in Mexico, International Business Management, and Introduction to International Business at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Introduction to International Business at the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Georgetown University from 2010 thru 2013.
Ms. Ferrer is the mother of two children, María Cecilia who was born in March of 2000, and Alexander who was born in January of 2002. She is married to Douglas Smurr.
Dr. Manuel Alejandro Pérez is first a son, brother, hermanx, tio, padrino, and esposo. Beyond this critical and important time with familia, Manuel has also committed over 15 years of service and work experience in the California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), California Community College, and private university systems in California. He currently serves as the Interim Assistant Vice President for Equity & Community Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer for San Francisco State University. In this role, Manuel leads and supports campus climate and diversity initiatives to close the educational equity gap at the University, which includes management and leadership of identity-specific cultural centers. He is also part-time faculty in the Performing Arts & Social Justice, Latin American Studies, and International & Multicultural Education programs at the University of San Francisco. In his recent teaching experience, Manuel launched the first-ever “Folklórico, Danza, and Culture” course at the University of San Francisco as a way to teach about social justice, artivism, and identity through dance.
Prior to his SF Bay Area work experience, Manuel served as the Dean of Student Development and Dean of Equity Programs & Pathways for American River College (ARC). Over the course of his eight years at ARC, Manuel was responsible for equity and student success initiatives for underserved communities, student leadership and engagement programs, six Federal TRIO grants, the development of guided pathways for feeder middle and high schools to the college, and more. As a California community college transfer student from the Los Rios Community College District, Manuel enrolled in courses at both Cosumnes River College and Sacramento City College. He is proud to have served as a Student Services administrator in the same system that first introduced him to the possibilities of transfer in the first place.
Manuel received his Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Ethnic Studies from Santa Clara University, and his Master’s degree in Communication Studies from San Diego State University. He completed his doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco in International & Multicultural Education. Manuel is a scholar practitioner whose passion for performance, artivism, and story is grounded in his 23 years of experience with Mexican danza and folklore. His research explores testimonios of identity, community, and agency within social justice cultural performance, specifically through traditional Mexican folklórico.
People have stories to tell, and organizations that actively engage the community in the pursuit of justice and that value the lived experiences of people are what motivate Manuel the most. Manuel considers himself a scholar practitioner with a commitment to innovative practices that inspire imagination and strengthen inclusive spaces in our communities. He credits his passion for community engagement on his upbringing as a first generation son from a migrant, immigrant, and Spanish-speaking household. His passion has led him to co-found a non-profit organization that centers the experience of Mexican history, art, and movement in a traditional Mexican folklórico company named Grupo Folklórico Los Alteños. He also serves on various other Boards of Directors, including boards for Grupo Folklórico Los Alteños, SF Pride, and the University of San Francisco Alumni Board. His presentations, trainings, and discussions in education speak to this dynamic of engagement because Manuel believes in the power of transformational change and leadership that is rooted in and for the community.
Mario Rodriguez, Honrando Chair 2021
Event Date and Time
This year's celebration will be held online. Details will be emailed to participants after they register.