Joliet Central High School 2nd Annual Kermes Celebration on April 27 a Success
May 2, 2017 08:08 AM
Joliet Central High School hosted their second annual Kermes, a celebratory festival to honor the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez, on Thursday, April 27, in the Central Student Center. Open to Joliet Central families and the general public, participants enjoy food, entertainment, music, dancing and more.
Vanessa Serrano, Administrative Assistant in the Curriculum Department and Kermes Committee member, said, “I feel that the Kermes is one of the few events, if not the only one, that has this level of authentic participation from so many teachers, community members and organizations. I had people and businesses asking me since the beginning of the year if and when we would be holding the event again!”
The family-friendly festival began at 4:30 p.m. with public award recognitions of individuals that have made positive contributions to the local Latino community and JTHS families in the spirit of Cesar Chavez. The Cesar Chavez Sí Se Puede Yes We Can Líder Award Winners of 2017 were presented by Lourdes Paramo, Alberto Filipponi, and Aseneth Ruiz to:
- Student: Virginia “Vicki” Sanantonio
- Teacher: Bethenia “Beth” Salinas
- Community: Martha Villegas Miranda, MSSW of Joliet Junior College
In addition, the Kermes Committee and the Joliet Central English Department’s Andrea Sanchez and Kristen Webster presented the Joliet Central students who won a creative writing contest based on the legacy and values of Cesar Chavez, which were as follows:
- 1st Place: Melanie Alarcon Carillo
- 2nd Place: Grace Balcazar
- 3rd Place: Vanessa Flores
The Joliet Central Kermes committee also awarded the newly created Follow Your Dream scholarship to three students with funds from last year’s Kermes.
Counselor Aseneth Ruiz, also on the Kermes Committee, added, “We want to thank the community for coming out to support the Si Se Puede Kermes. We will continue to promote community engagement as we feel that's how the status quo is challenged. We want to also thank our administration both at the district level and school level as well as all the teachers, students and staff who gave of their time to organize this event. We hope that our students and families left feeling empowered and feeling like this is their school and at their school they are valued and accepted.
It was great to see former students’ positive feedback on social media saying how great everything looked and how they wished this had been something that was done when they were students.”
Student and community performances included traditional Mexican dances, live music, and traditional Mexican equestrian rodeo performances.
Many table exhibits were set up throughout the Student Center, featuring neighborhood organizations, the police department, Joliet Central student groups, nonprofit organizations, and college representatives.
Spanish teacher and Kermes Committee member Jeffrey Grimes said, “Our vision was to bring the community together and promote inclusion along with appreciation for the great diversity that our school so proudly boasts. We wanted to change the perception that some may have of our community. We wanted people to be mesmerized by the richness and the fullness of our neighborhoods through the music, the culture, the traditions, the folklore, the food, through the beauty of it all. This is the beginning of a movement that will continue to grow to strengthen all communities in our city. We were extremely happy to see so many people come together to celebrate and embrace our Joliet in one accord, in one unified voice.”
To view photos from the event, please click here.