Monday, April 4, 2016

Sí, Se Puede 2016

Theoretically there are four seasons.  In Southern California there are those who argue that there are fewer.  Don't know and don't much feel like arguing today.  I do know that there three major sorts of seasons in my life.  They are the Seasons of Nature, the Seasons of Work, and the Seasons of Volunteering.

Since 2001 I have joined others who remembered the life and the work of Cesar Chavez.  Initially the remembrance took place at Pasadena City Hall; lead organizers were Latino Heritage, Pasadena Latino Forum, and the Pasadea Latino Employees Association.  As happens with other events, it changed, it evolved and at one point included active participation by the City, by El Centro de Accion Social, and other groups.

For the past decade or so there has been the Art and Essay Contest.  It is now is organized by PUSD.  The contest has evolved and now includes the co-founder of the United Farm Workers - Dolores Huerta.

The artwork and essays are always wonderfully varied.  The staff led by Carmen Serrano, Elementary English Learner Coordinator in the district's Language Assessment and Development Department,  put together a clear matrix with a well defined rubric. Part of the discussion among the judges last week was does the image stand alone.  Is there enough in the image to help the viewer understand the context?  To what degree has the student mastered the technique they are working with in their art or their essay?  There were specific questions that were asked of the students.  How well the questions were answered was part of judging criteria.  As a judge it is hard for me to look at work and keep a rubrics distance from my responses.

I doubt if the image above would win on artistic merit alone.  And there is no reference to Aguila Azteca, or grapes, or workers in the field, or getting an education.  The sorts of things that would help raise the score with the rubric that was used.

For me this image is a winner.  There is something about their smiles and the way they look at each other that seems to express a good bit of pride.  I see two people who are sharing a moment of success.  "We did it".  "It can be done".  

That is a good lesson for any child to learn.


  1. With works this charming I would find it impossible to judge.

  2. Some of the writing was equally charming. I loved reading essays by the students who clearly understood the work Chavez, Huerta, and others have done to help bring about social justice.

    1. And that, I assume, is the point. Well done.

  3. What a lovely and important program. I hope it continues in perpetuity.

    As to seasons, the old joke is that in Southern California they are earthquakes, landslides, windstorms and wildfires!