February 21, 2003



The University of California, San Diego is joining with the San Diego Cesar E. Chavez Commemoration Committee in sponsoring the Fourth Annual Cesar E. Chavez Essay Contest for students in San Diego and Imperial Counties to honor the life and achievements of the late civil rights and labor leader. The deadline for entries is March 7, 2003.

The contest, organized by UCSD’s Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), is open to students in grades 9 through 12 and will be part of a wide range of community celebrations sponsored by the university and the commemoration committee recognizing Chavez and the state holiday named in his honor.

Dedicated to non-violence, Chavez founded and led the first successful farm workers union in American history and was a principal figure in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. He died in 1993, and his birthday, March 31, has been designated a state holiday.

Students of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to enter by composing their essays on the following theme: Celebrate, Educate and Serve. Identify a situation in your own community that needs to be improved and, based on Cesar E. Chavez’s commitment to social justice and helping others, write an essay on how you would bring about this improvement.

Essays should be 2 pages in length, typed and double-spaced, and written in a clear, logical and concise manner.

“Through the contest,” says Rafael Hernandez, EAOP Director, “we are not only encouraging students to become more familiar with the life and ideals of Cesar E. Chavez, but also how they can apply his principles in everyday life.” Hernandez adds: “We also hope the contest will motivate students to become skilled in the art of essay writing. Being able to express one’s thoughts through the written and spoken word – in a clear and persuasive manner – are skills that pay big dividends towards college and throughout life.”

Computer and savings bond prizes will be awarded first- through sixth-place winners in the essay competition.

The first-prize author will be invited to read his or her composition at the Fourth Annual Cesar E. Chavez Breakfast on Friday, March 28 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Students may obtain an entry application and contest guidelines from UCSD’s EAOP website, http://sea.ucsd.edu/eaop, or by contacting Rafael Hernandez at the EAOP office, rshernandez@ucsd.edu; (858) 534-4250. (An essay application must accompany all entries.)

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