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Stockton honors Cesar Chavez with projects, school dedication
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Stockton youngsters annually celebrate Cesar Chavez Day held on March 31. - photo by Photo Contributed

Students at Cesar Chavez High in Stockton are learning more about their school namesake.

“I know many of our teachers have been incorporating (the legacy of Cesar Chavez) in their lesson plans,” said instructor Patti Rivera on Thursday.

She’s also the advisor on M.E.Ch.A Club, which is sponsoring a Cesar E. Chavez Poster contest, celebrating his life and vision.

Monday is Cesar Chavez Day. Officially, this day is a holiday in California, Colorado and Texas. President Barack Obama, however, recently recognized this day for Americans to observe “with appropriate service, community, and educational programs to honor Cesar Chavez’s enduring legacy.”

At this Stockton Unified site, Chavez students are doing just that with the poster contest. “This is something we did about five years ago – we decided to bring it back,” said Rivera.

Students were provided the following guidelines:

•  Researching the life and values of Cesar Chavez using books from the school library or the Internet.

•  Creating a poster reflecting Chavez’s work, accomplishment, philosophies and at least one of his values.

•  All entries must be original student-developed work.

•  Any art medium is acceptable (the work must be mounted for display).

Rivera, who has been at the school since its 2005 opening, noted that nearly 20 students expressed interest in taking part in this contest prior to last week’s spring break. The winning entries will be displayed during and after the Chavez Day of Celebration.

“This day has created quite a buzz among our students and teachers,” Rivera said.

The student body is over 2,200. Four assemblies – per each grade level – are planned for that day, honoring Chavez, who was born March 31, 1927. The president and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, the first successful one of its kind, died in 1993.

Cesar Chavez was a man who committed his life to helping and improving the life of others, according to Rivera, who has met Dolores Huerta on several occasions. Huerta, who was raised in Stockton, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association with Chavez.

“Cesar was, in all material aspects, an ordinary man,” Rivera said. “What made his life extraordinary were the values that he put into action on a daily basis.”

Cesar Chavez was a family man, labor leader, civil rights leader, spiritualist, social entrepreneur, environmentalist, and community servant.

“He steadfastly believed that ordinary people can make extraordinary social change when they are individually guided by, and bound together by, universal values and common vision for a better world,” Rivera added.

She’s planning to take students to the “Cesar Chavez” feature film that opened nationally on Friday.