SAN ANTONIO – Fewer high school graduates will receive scholarships or laptops from the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation due to the COVID-19 pandemic hampering fundraising efforts, according to Ernest Martinez, organization chairman.
Ernest Martinez is the son of the late Jaime Martinez, who created the foundation to honor Chavez, the labor organizer who was his mentor.
Until the pandemic hit, the foundation was on track to see a record turnout for the annual Cesar Chavez March for Justice through San Antonio's West Side. Ernest Martinez said the organization was on pace to raise $35,000 to reward deserving high school graduates.
"I believe 30 applications came in, but we were able to honor 10," Martinez said.
He said only $17,000 was raised thanks to private and corporate donors such as HEB, CPS Energy, and NRP, a housing development firm.
Martinez said because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the parade and its biggest fundraiser, the Grand Marshal Breakfast, were canceled. He said Chavez's grandson, actor Tony Plana, was scheduled to be at the events.
Martinez said this year's graduate recipients, who for the first time can choose to receive a scholarship or laptop, are great examples of those "who are dreaming a vision of giving back."
Martinez said the graduates’ essays are posted on the foundation’s Facebook page.
Among the recipients is Marisol Cortez, a 2020 Burbank High School graduate who chose Bates College to fulfill a purpose to give back.
"I do want to go to a school that is big on helping the community and serving them," Cortez said.
She and the others will receive their scholarships or laptops individually throughout the day Saturday.
Read Cortez’s essay below: