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Grade Level: 9-12
Region: 3
Student: Hasany De La Vega
Teacher: Jeanne Brostrom
Chapter: Baldwin Park EA

César Chávez and Myself


I am a Mexican descendant who seeks achievement for myself but also progress and prosperity for my community; I come from Indians who lived happy lives without the distraction of modern society. My people have been mistreated and caused to live harsh lives simply because of their lifestyles. My parents migrated to the United States of America because they were in search of a better quality of life. They didn’t feel they could fulfill their ambitions in Mexico. César Chávez and my parents had a similar vision, to aspire to the dreams of themselves as well as the needs of others. Many people think about fighting for grapes when César Chávez is brought up, but what he did was never quite that. What he did went beyond that; the fight was never about grapes or lettuce; it was about people, my people who were being disrespected and treated without dignity. Many people would agree that César Chávez was one of the heroic heroes of our time. He accomplished various tasks that seemed to be only dreams to a lot of people. He inspires me in many ways because he believed that real education consisted of drawing the best out of students; he united people who were able to see a better future for themselves and showed them that with teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration, their vision could come true. But most importantly, he inspires me to make my ambitions broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others as well as my own, for their sake and for mine.

César Chávez dedicated his life to helping others. His mother would say to him, “You always have to help the needy, and God will help you.” (An American Hero: The Biography of César Chávez). Having grown up with this thought, he joined the Community Service Organization where he worked to help people. Chávez worked to bring people together to identify problems and find ways to solve them. Many predicaments were unable to be solved because unfortunately community leaders did not respect all people. Chávez worked in many communities to help people gain the respect they deserved. For example, he helped people in the community learn how to vote and become educated about specific topics. After helping many people gain the respect of community leaders, Chávez left the Community Service Organization to help farm workers gain the respect and dignity they deserved. César Chávez started the National Farm Worker Association to help improve the working conditions of farm workers. People of all types of backgrounds joined his cause because they saw in Chávez a genuine leader who only wanted to improve the lives of farm workers in ways that were only fair and that they (farm workers) deserved.

Community service has a great impact on my life as well. My parents have always taught me that doing a good deed for my community would benefit everyone, including me. I am involved in the Humanitarian Club at school, and I give up some of my time once a week to recycle. By recycling, I am helping my community look clean and safe, but most importantly, I am healing humanity because when the earth is sick and polluted, human health is impossible. I also participate in giving food to the less fortunate along with my church. I do it with all my heart because I know that a small deed such as this one can fill a small emptiness inside someone’s heart. My parents always remind me of Deuteronomy 15:10, which states “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this, the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and everything you put your hand into.” In my opinion, it is essential to serve others and make sacrifices for a better community. Something insignificant such as picking up someone else’s trash or giving up some time and food for those people in need can make a huge difference in one’s community because community service means putting one’s selfishness behind and giving one’s whole will to make the world a better place.

Besides living by the principle of servicing others, he believed in real education, not just education. Although Chávez encountered many hardships during school because of the English language and even dropped out of school, his parents thought school was important and encouraged him to do well. Chávez believed that real education was all about bringing out the best of students and that they must learn to think and act for themselves. My parents and I believe in these same principles. My parents didn’t have the same opportunities for an education as I do now; and because of this, my parents are often encouraging me to do my best in school. By being educated, I can obtain more opportunities to live a better life and better myself. I also try to teach young ones about real education by putting it into action. Not long ago, I used to tutor a fourth grader with math. I tutored her in such a way that she quickly understood how to solve the math problems without help. I would give the little girl examples with real life situations, and she would apply that knowledge to solve other math problems by herself. The last time I tutored her she asked me, “Why do I need to know all of this?” and I replied saying, “Because real education gives you the power to change the world.”

Chávez also combined the principles of teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration to achieve his goals. These principles also have an influence in my life. For instance, these principles are key aspects to accomplishing anything. I am involved in play production (drama) at school, and my participation and dedication in this activity has taught me that teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration are extremely essential for a performance to be well done. These principles are also necessary for a family to function well. When people come together to create something, a sense of unity and accomplishment is also created.

My parent’s vision to strive for the best was accomplished just as César Chávez was able to improve farm workers conditions. Because of my parents’ accomplishment, I am now living the opportunities they didn’t have. César Chávez left an inspiring legacy for not only Mexicans or farm workers, but for all Americans. His actions will always live on and teach future people how to be great, yet humble leaders with ambitions for a better world.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

© 1999- California Teachers Association