Chávez HS embraces its namesake’s Sí, se puede (Yes, we can) spirit to mark his birthday

César E. Chávez

If César Chávez were still alive, he would be 81 on Monday, March 31. To honor his memory and recognize his birthday, César E. Chávez High School is spending seven days honoring the man and teaching students more about him. Chávez was an American farm worker, labor leader, and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW).

“Bearing his name carries great responsibility,” said Chávez Principal Rene Sanchez. “As the only comprehensive high school in the state of Texas and one of only four in the entire country named for César Chávez, we need to teach and inspire our students with the words and deeds of our namesake.”

Chávez was a well known Latino American activist who used nonviolent protests – including fasting in 1968 — to bring draw national attention to the harsh working conditions of farm workers. The organizations he helped found ultimately resulted in better working conditions for farmers.

“Chávez was a bold and courageous man who played a significant role for Hispanics,” said senior Jissel Flores. “He was passionate about his mission with the UFW.”

“This week has given me a sense of pride,” added senior Oscar Luna. “It’s been great seeing the student body get involved in commemorating César Chávez.”

Chavez High School students wear t-shirts celebrating Cesar Chavez Week, March 27, 2014.

Below is a summary of events:
• Make announcements to teach students about Chávez
• Make Chávez lesson plans available to teachers
• Post 21 questions with QR codes around campus for students to scan and learn about Chávez
• Show eight-minute documentary at lunch
• Students interview students around campus for a video to be shown on Friday
• Pep rally on Friday to celebrate Chávez , as well as the school’s soccer teams making the playoffs
• March in the 15th Annual César Chávez Parade on Saturday wearing César Chávez t-shirts
• Wear Chavez T-shirts to school on Monday

More than 200 Chávez students and 40 chaperones will march in the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. on N. César Chávez Blvd. at Avenue J and concludes at Hidalgo Park, where festivities continue until 3. Students will be joined by one of Chávez’s former bodyguards, Adan Singletary, who will also come to the high school on Monday for Chávez’s birthday celebration.

Principal Sanchez is so passionate about Chávez that he named his own son after him. “My oldest son, César, is seven,” he said. “I think Chávez is compelling because he stood up for the rights of others and made it about the community and a group of people. If everybody’s willing to pitch in, you can accomplish any goal. I emphasize to my staff and students that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”