FONTANA, CA – Dressed in Dolores Huerta-inspired T-shirts while chanting “Si Se Puede,” students from Fontana Unified’s Dolores Huerta International Academy (DHIA) welcomed Huerta to campus for a birthday celebration in her honor on April 15.
“There is a Dolores Huerta in all of us,” third-grader Andrew Luschei said as he announced the 89th birthday celebration to a crowd of students, faculty, administrators, community members and dignitaries.
Students showcased their dancing skills while holding up flags from different countries, showing what it means to be a part of an international academy, as well as a skit that detailed Huerta’s life as an activist. Huerta thanked DHIA students and teachers for the warm welcome in her speech, then spoke about the relevance of Dual Language Immersion schools like DHIA.
“I want to thank the students, teachers and staff, and the folks who came out to celebrate with us today,” Huerta said. “This school is in the forefront because it is an international school in a time when we really need it the most. We know we have had many scientific successes in our world, but we are so far behind in our country and in our world when it comes to people.”
The event was co-hosted by the office of Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, DHIA PTO and parent committee.
“Dolores Huerta is one of our greatest heroes, civil rights leader, women’s rights leader, economic justice leader and educational leader,” Gómez Reyes said.
A mural depicting Huerta in front of sunrays, created by artist Derrick Hall, was unveiled to guests and Huerta. The day concluded with Huerta visiting classrooms and interacting with students who lined up to hug her and give her gifts such as flowers and cards.
“Dolores Huerta continues to be an inspiration for our students, teachers and staff,” Principal Maribel Lopez-Tyus said. “We are thankful for all she has done and the impact she has had on our students.”
Students from DHIA learned why their school is named for Huerta during Women’s History Month in March, making the momentous occasion even more special to them.
“Dolores Huerta International Academy truly embodies what we hope for our students and prepares them to overcome the barriers that have been set before them,” Superintendent Randal S. Bassett said. “It was an absolute honor to celebrate Dolores Huerta and we are thankful to everyone who took part in making this happen.”