February 27, 2004

Hispanic Director William A. Virchis Receives Prestigious Awards

William Alejandro Virchis Director of the Visual and Performing Arts, former Professor of the theater at Southwestern College and Producing Artistic Director of Teatro Máscara Mágica has been selected as an inductee into the Sweetwater Union High School District’s Alumni Hall of Fame and selected as an Honoree for “Excellence in Art” from the UCSD Hispanic Scholarship Council. Mr. Virchis will join screen actor Matthew Modine on March 5th at the Sweetwater Union High School District’s (SUHSD) Hall of Fame Dinner and will be inducted for his contribution in the Visual and Performing Acts.

The Alumni Hall of Fame is the most prestigious award an individual can receive from the SUHSD it was created to honor district graduates who have made an inspiring and indelible mark in academia, athletics, community, military or public service, business and visual arts. Last year one of Mr. Virchis former student Mario Lopez; actor, and screen personality was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

On April 29th Mr. Virchis will also be an Honoree for the “Excellence in Arts” at the 7th Annual Fiesta de Las Estrellas.” The event is sponsored by UCSD Hispanic Scholarship Council, the Estrella Award recognized leading “Estrellas” in the community who are exceptional role models for new generations.

Mr. Virchis is the Visual and Performing Arts Director for the largest secondary school system in the state, Sweetwater Union High School District. Mr. Virchis has been with Southwestern College for over 28 years and has been instrumental in bringing the theater program to international prominence. Mr. Virchis graduated from Chula Vista Junior High, Chula Vista High, Southwestern College and San Diego State University. His first teaching assignment was at Chula Vista High School. He coached wrestling with art Stone for over 11 years at Hilltop High School and Chula Vista High School.

Mr. Virchis oversees more than 60 major visual and performing arts programs and administrates over the dozen smaller programs in the high school district. He is responsible for promoting and evaluating the district’s fine arts programs. Mr. Virchis in his tenure guided the SUHSD Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) as the premier arts curriculum and program leader in the state.

William Virchis has won over one hundred local, state and national awards for his contributions to Theater Arts and to the Latino Community. He has received the California Center for the Arts Foundation Achievement Award and the Outstanding Professional Leadership Award given by the governing board and faculty of Southwestern College. Mr. Virchis has also received the Shiley Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater Award and the Critics Award for his direction of Luis Valdez “Zoot Suit.” He was recently the first Latino inducted into the Chula Vista High School’s Hall of Fame.

He is the former chairperson for the Horton Plaza Foundation, CCDC, former chair person for the Commission for Arts and Culture in the City of Chula Vista, Producing Artistic Director for Teatro Máscara Mágica, Assistant Coordinator for the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Mariachi Festival and Production Coordinator for the Chicano Federations Gala Dinner.

He is the Production Coordinator for the Martin Luther King Breakfast, and recently was featured in the Kiwanis International Magazine for his volunteerism and his contribution to the arts.

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