Merced College and UC Merced will host an annual Cinco de Mayo celebration on Thursday, May 1 featuring a special appearance by noted author Victor Villasenor. The public is invited to attend this free event.
"This is a community-oriented event," said Arthur Cardoza, Merced College counselor and event coordinator. "In the morning, we'll have students from our area middle and high schools on campus, and in the evening the public is invited to attend."
Cardoza noted that the College has been able to attract nationally-recognized celebrities for its Cinco de Mayo celebration each year, including Jaimie Escalante, a Los Angeles teacher whose story was told in the film Stand and Deliver, Luis Valdez, author and director of the famed theater company Teatro Campesino, and ABC News correspondent John Quinones.
This year, Merced College has invited UC Merced to co-sponsor the event. The objective of the partnership, according to Cardoza, is to showcase the educational opportunities provided to students at both institutions.
"We hope to impress upon our young students the importance of continuing their education and to begin to plan for their college careers," Cardoza said. "There is a real connection between one's educational achievements and the ability to move into a well-paying profession. Students should know about all of the options available to them, and they should know that Merced College and UC Merced are here to help them achieve their goals."
Students will gather at 10 a.m. in the College Theater. After opening remarks from Merced College President Dr. Benjamin Duran and UC Merced Director of Adminssions and Relations with Schools Encarnacion Ruiz , Victor Villasenor will address the students. His address will be followed by information from Merced College and UC Merced officials. The students will be given lunch and listen to the Roosevelt Marimba Band before boarding busses back to school.
The evening program is designed to involve the community, Cardoza said. Information booths, entertainment and a keynote address by Villasenor are on the agenda. The social hour, with entertainment from mariachi and ballet foklorico groups, will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. Dr. Duran and Ruiz will address the public, and Villasenor will speak at about 6:20 p.m. followed by music and dance.
The Cinco de Mayo celebration is free and open to the public. For more information, call Arthur Cardoza at 384-6356.