Deadline for Hispanic Heritage essay contest is Oct. 11

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Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Awards include $300 gift card for first-place entry about Chavez film or social justice.

By Valerie Champion

Does a 2014 movie starring Michael Peña, America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson truly capture the life of Mexican-American labor activist Cesar Chavez?

How did President Lyndon Baines Johnson and U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy impact civil rights for Hispanics?

Students who want to explore one of those subjects can enter the English department’s Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest open to all students at this college.

Essays are due at 3 p.m. Oct. 11. Students can turn in their essays at the English department office in Room 123 of Gonzales Hall.

English Professor Alex Bernal said students can choose from two topics: the historical accuracy of the 2014 biopic “Cesar Chavez” or a comparison of the lives of Johnson and Kennedy regarding social justice for Hispanics.

“The student can take this essay in many different directions,” Bernal said.

Students who choose the “Cesar Chavez” biopic can view the film on Netflix, Bernal said.

The essay is relevant to many students’ coursework, Bernal said. Students must find a valid thesis to cover up to 1,500 words, including internal documentation and a works cited page of at least four scholarly sources in MLA format.

Bernal said he encourages students not to feel pressured.

“This is not a book,” he said.

Awards for first, second and third prize are gift cards of $300, $200 and $100, respectively.

The English department had stopped offering essay contests because the awards interfered with students’ financial aid, Bernal said. He said the problem has been fixed by awarding essay contest winners with gift cards.

“We really want a lot of people to enter,” Bernal said. “The topic is still relevant.”

For more information, call Bernal at 210-486-0657.


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