President’s Gala awards Latino community

By Luis Diaz

East Los Angeles College held it’s Annual President’s Gala at the Taglyan Complex on Friday.

The Annual President’s Gala is the time to celebrate the community at ELAC. The night started off with cocktails and a silent auction. The guests were greeted by the Husky cheerleaders and mariachis. 

During the auction, the guests had a chance to bid on rare comic books, jewelry and a Playstation 5.  

The ELAC Foundation is dedicated to the philanthropic support of the ELAC community and the empowerment of the surrounding communities to serve the commitment to student success. 

The ceremony was hosted by Argelia Atilano co-host of “El Show de Omar y Argelia” on Mega 96.3 FM. 

Marissa Castro Salvati, Foundation president, welcomed everyone to the Gala. 

“Tonight’s theme, building our communities, one student at a time. We’ll celebrate ELAC students, our communities, leaders, and the Foundation’s commitment to empowering them through student success as we are slowly rebuilding our communities post COVID-19 pandemic,” Salvati said. 

Atilano said as a Latina, it was tough  to push through all the barriers that were along the way in her journey. 

“ELAC was there for me, being able to get an education for free and being able to show my two daughters que si se puede, just means the world to me,” Atilano said. 

Zolia D. Escobar was the first to receive an award. She received the 2022 ELAC President’s Woman of the Year Award. Escobar is the AltaMed foundation Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of AltaMed Health Services. She is dedicated to leveling disparities in health care and combines her personal insight into the Latino experience. 

California state senator Susan Rubio, was given the 2022 Alumnus of the Year award. She was elected to the California State Senate in 2018 and she represents nearly one million residents in Senate District 22. She was previously a public school teacher for 17 years in Baldwin Park and Monrovia school districts. 

The presentation of awards continued with the next award given to the 2021-2022 ASU president of Rosa E. Mendoza. The award was for the ELAC 2022 President’s Student Leadership award. 

“Community college wasn’t on my list when I applied to the four schools that rejected me. But ELAC was there and I’m beyond grateful to be here,” Mendoza said. 

For the final award of the evening, Civil Rights icon Dolores Huerta received the President’s Leadership Award. 

“This is a symbol of the Chicano movement right here tonight.Education is going to be the savior of our democracy,” Huerta said.

Dinner was served right after the first two awards were presented. Guests were treated to Mediterranean food. 

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