The 2016-17 John L. Sanders Student Advocate Award was awarded to Dr. Edelmira Segovia, the Director, and to Mr. Chris Montero, M.Ed, the Program Coordinator of Centro Hispano. This award is the highest honor granted by the UNC Association of Student Governments.
Edelmira Segovia and Chris Montero attended the event with their families
The John L. Sanders Awards Banquet of Friday, April 21 was held at North Carolina Central University.
The award is named after John L. Sanders, Director Emeritus of the UNC Institute of Government, and it is aimed at recognizing public figures who advocate for North Carolina’s students, thus improving the quality of their lives.
In her speech, Dr. Segovia spoke of the sense of urgency that their work involves in this day and age, with 1 out of 5 students in the public schools of North Carolina being Hispanic, which comes to about 250,000 current Hispanic students. – with substantial growth in enrollment for years to come. She mentioned that North Carolina is poised to be 1 of the top 3 states with fastest Hispanic growth in the nation by 2020, and that the State is faced with the reality that out of 100 Hispanic kindergarteners, only 15 will earn a college degree.
She closed her speech with an invitation addressed at sister institutions to adopt the model and join the Centro in pushing our community forward; at students, to let their voices and ideas be heard and to contribute solutions wherever they see challenges; at faculty and Staff, to continue growing cultural literacy and to find new leaders to help them carry the torch of the annual UNC System Hispanic Forum; and at the administration, to study the data, to be proactive and maximize the gains that come with supporting this group of first generation Americans.
Chris Montero spoke of his personal story, coming from Caracas, Venezuela in order to speak of the enormous challenges to attaining a higher education, and he dedicated the award to “all the higher education professionals and student leaders who serve our Latinx community, but whose work goes unnoticed.” “We are not invisible,” he added. “Even though we are culturally taxed, underfunded and under-resourced, our work has never been more important.”
He closed his remarks with an unambiguous call to action: “We can’t continue to be the largest minority, and also, the least educated minoritized community. It’s time for a change.”
UNCW has been recognized with two distinctions from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The recognitions were announced on Oct. 15 in Washington, D.C. as part of the initiative’s 25th anniversary.
The White House designated Centro Hispano, part of the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (OIDI), as a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education, which reflects UNCW’s efforts to support Latino educational attainment and excellence. Additionally, the White House included UNCW among 150 public and private institutions with a Commitment to Action to make meaningful and quantifiable contributions to expand and support the educational outcomes and opportunities for the Latino community.