By Talika Gorski and Beatrice Marx (both age 11)

From 11 to 3 o’clock on Saturday the 21st of May, the Cesar Chavez Elementary School parking lot was transformed into a hub of activity and fun. What was it? The Si Se Puede Fundraising Fiesta! The activities included a ring toss, an obstacle course, and a can throw. There were Cesar Chavez School t-shirts available for purchase at the entrance tent, along with activity tickets.  There were hamburgers, hot dogs, and soda for sale, and a small table of merchandise, including keychains and pens. The weather was hot, but everyone still had a lot of fun! 

Si Se Puede Julie Chavez Rodriguez
Julie Chavez Rodriguez addresses the Cesar Chavez community
Courtesy of Pete Daniels

Many volunteers ran the booths with amazing hospitality and generosity, and a few school teachers came there ON A SATURDAY to volunteer. Entertainment included music, performances from Ballet Folklorico Ko’eti, speeches from several school officials and the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez; Julie Chavez Rodriguez, and then there was a raffle. The finale was Mr. Harris, the principal of the school, getting pied!  The best part, in our opinion, was everyone working together to make the festival a huge success. It was amazing to see teachers and parents you find every day running your favorite booths. They raised $5,500 dollars for the addition of an outdoor learning space and hands-on activities for students to learn. 

There was a lot going on behind the scenes. “We wanted to provide a way for the Cesar Chavez community to reconnect. . . in a fun and safe way,” according to Kate Culzoni, the co-president of the PTO and one of the organizers of this event. “It was hard work!” she said. “The first year is always the hardest.” According to Culzoni, the core organizing group was a great mix of creative people. “We hope this becomes an annual event.”

Everyone had the opportunity to bond and create memories together, which was the reason they hosted the fiesta. Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the guest speaker, said “Growing up, my grandfather taught us this really important lesson, this really important value, and that was ‘Si se puede,’ that anything was possible if we were determined and if we were able to focus on what we wanted to accomplish.… I can’t wait to come back and be able to visit the beautiful gardens and the learning spaces that you are going to create together.” I hope she will!