Saturday car and bike show at Greeley Central to raise money for Mexican-American studies classes

A first event at Greeley scheduled for this weekend will help an academic program at Greeley Central High School looking for a higher profile.

Legacy Lows Car Club LLC, an organization of approximately 15 members with roots in Milliken and Greeley, is hosting a car and bike show Saturday, July 16 at Greeley Central to raise funds for the Mexican-American Studies program at the Legacy Lows Car Club LLC. ‘school.

The show runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be held primarily in the Greeley Central parking lot adjacent to 15th Street with any additional spillovers into the school parking lot adjacent to 16th Street. The show is planned as a family event with food, music, vendors and raffles, according to Legacy Lows member Manuel Rodriguez, who graduated from Greeley Central in 2000.

Rodriguez said the show’s goal was to raise money for program resources, such as field trips, and the effort was made after speaking with the director of cultural excellence and of Greeley-Evans School District 6 Parent Engagement, Jesse Tijerina.

“Jesse mentioned the program, and it seemed right (for the club to help),” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez’s daughter, Xylene, graduated from Northridge and majored in Mexican-American Studies at the University of Northern Colorado.

Xylene Rodriguez, now 23 and working as an assistant for the House of Representatives Ethics Committee in Washington, D.C., didn’t have the chance to take a Mexican-American studies class while studying at Northridge . Rodriguez said she took a diversity course at Aims Community College in Northridge and found the experience rewarding.

“It was the first time I learned the Chicano move from a textbook,” Rodriguez said. “I was angry and proud that someone who looked like me was in the textbook. I asked my teacher, ‘Why is this the first time I’m learning this?’

Rodriguez did not go to UNC with the intention of majoring in Mexican-American studies. But she changed majors when she learned about the program after arriving on campus.

“I think it’s important for Latino students to know that they can major in Mexican-American studies or take classes,” she added.

Tom Frasier, an English teacher at Greeley Central, teaches two Mexican-American studies courses. Frasier started one such course, Introduction to Mexican-American Studies, about four years ago. The class is an interdisciplinary study inspired by a course Frasier teaches at UNC as an adjunct professor in Chicana/o and Latinx studies.

Legacy Lows Car Club, a northern Colorado auto club with roots in Greeley and Milliken, is hosting a car and bike show from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 16, 2022 at Greeley Central High School in Greeley. The club puts on the show to raise money for Mexican-American Studies classes at Greeley Central. (Courtesy of Manuel Rodriguez)

He said raising funds for the Mexican-American program is an important sign for students. Frasier said that in the past school year nearly 80% of students at Greeley Central identified as Latino or Latina. In District 6, about 62% (13,994) of the 22,694 students identify as Hispanic or Latino, depending on the district.

“More than anything else, it’s a signal to our students that what interests them matters and now more than ever,” Frasier said. “It’s important for them to see adults in the community who care about what they do and what they study in relation to their culture.

Frasier didn’t think much about how the program might use the money raised. But, like Rodriguez, Frasier is on board with some type of experiential learning like a field trip or bringing a speaker or author to Greeley to address students on a class-related topic.

Since Frasier started the Mexican-American introductory class at Central, student interest has grown and he has had as many as four different sections of the class over the past three years. Since January 2021, the course has also been offered at Greeley West.

“Due to demand,” Frasier said. “Then it would be nice to see the programs move vertically to the lower grades.”

Maria R. Newman