More than 1,100 students in grades 6-12 and their families gathered in Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland for the 18th Annual Latinx Student Honor Roll Celebration.
The students were from middle and high schools from across Oakland Unified School District, and all of them have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.75.
“This is all about honoring our top Latino scholars and their families for all their hard work and dedication, and their persistence. We recognize cumulative GPA, not just semester GPA,” said Raquel Jimenez, director of Latino/a Student Achievement in the OUSD Office of Equity.
Luis Apolonio is an 8th grader at Elmhurst Community Prep Middle School, where he has a 4.0 GPA. “I wanted to make my mom proud. My mom’s friends always bragged about their sons’ good grades. So, I did it. My mom has been happy about it. She’s bragging now.”
But he adds there’s a lot more to it than that. “I want to be an outstanding Latino, to represent my culture and be a leader. It makes my family happy I am here,” he said.
His family was proud of him.
“I’m happy. I always tell my sons, ‘come on guys, you have to do it.’ This is for the rest of their lives. I want them to go to college,” said father, Enrique Apolonio. “I want him to be a good person. To have a good job and be happy and successful. This is a good start.”
This event was created by the Educational Coalition for Hispanics in Oakland (ECHO). “We saw the need to recognize Latino students. We felt there was an absence of attention being provided for Latino students,” said ECHO President, Jorge Lerma. “We wanted to lift up our students, and celebrate them for being bright, capable, and eager to be part of the mainstream. This is one way to provide equity, access and opportunity.”
In addition to the celebration honoring students with GPA of at least 3.75, more than 2,100 students with cumulative GPAs of 3.0-3.74 will receive Latino/a Student Honor Roll certificates at school.