El Cinco de Mayo Inc. hosted its 37th annual Summer Festival and Car Show at Sierra High School on July 16 which helped raise more than $12,000 in scholarship for local students. 

El Cinco de Mayo Inc. Treasurer Carmen Abeyta said they expect more money once they calculate final numbers and pay expenses from the event.

Since its inception, El Cinco de Mayo Inc. has provided more than $400,000 in scholarships to more than 300 local students. 

Amy Sanchez-Martinez, Sand Creek principal, volunteer for El Cinco de Mayo Inc., emceed the event and noted why college is a critical tool. 

“Education is power,” Sanchez-Martinez said. “No one can take that away from us. Once we have it, it’s ours forever.” 

Sanchez-Martinez previously received a scholarship from El Cinco de Mayo Inc. which helped her attend University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Regis University in Denver.

She expressed her gratitude for the program before she called recent scholarship winners and volunteers on stage. 

Recipients and volunteers introduced themselves and mentioned their post-high school plans. Once they finished, Sanchez-Martinez asked each to remain on stage. 

She called each of them community leaders and provided words of encouragement. 

“When you’re studying at night and you’re about to get to the end of your studies for the semester and you feel like you cannot make it, think of all of the people who are here today,” Sanchez-Martinez said. “We are behind you; you are not alone. You have your entire community with you. You are never by yourselves.”

El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez Jr. spoke about the challenging lives some Harrison School District 2 students endure.

He said he hopes the community continues to assist local students as well as benefactors for those who need the help.   

“I see that intelligence in all our local children and students,” Gonzalez said. “I want us to encourage and strengthen them. Coming out here and supporting them through events like this is how we can do that.” 

The event, which normally occurs in May, moved to July this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Despite the change, people remained supportive of the fundraiser.

The festival had a various vendors and food options for attendees to choose from during the event. It also had more than 30 vehicles – from motorcycles, bikes to cars – for to marvel at during the car show.

El Cinco de Mayo Inc. also had various cultural dances as part of the event to further demonstrate the melting pot of the Southeast.

Linda Jaworski, El Cinco de Mayo chairperson, said she’s grateful the community supported the festival despite not having it in 2020.

“It was a lot of fun and we’re so thankful that everyone was able to sponsor or volunteer or just come together to make it happen,” Jaworski said. “Part of our mission is to do cultural awareness events like this. The fact that we were able to do it and have an outcome. We’re grateful we have such wonderful supporters.”

Reporter

Marcus Hill is a reporter for the Southeast Express and Schriever Sentinel. He graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication.