honors the outstanding accomplishments of the Latino community
across the state, recognizing individuals, military servicemen
and women, and organizations who work with and on behalf of the
Hispanic/Latino community for their contributions in Ohio.
The DHO award recognizes
outstanding Latinos who have excelled in the professional
arena, leadership, and community services. Educator Luna has
managed to combine all three into his work, advocating for
students through Toledo Public Schools during a nearly 30-year
career with the district.
first attended the school of hard knocks as a young child. Born
in Lubbock, Texas, he moved to Ohio with his mother following a
divorce and his father being handed a prison sentence for
selling heroin. He began working the migrant farm fields at the
age of eight.
graduated Patrick Henry High School in Hamler, Ohio and
immediately began working at the GM Foundry in Defiance.
He began attended Bowling Green State University after
being laid off from his factory job. Once called back to work,
he could only take one or two classes while working full-time.
Luna recalls it took him 14 years to complete his bachelor's
degree in education. He later added a master's degree from Siena
Heights University in Adrian, Michigan.
part of the Latino Student Union (LSU) while at BGSU. The
core members of LSU were a politically active bunch, many of
them getting arrested for a sit-in demonstration.
some politically-minded co-members, we pushed for increased
Latino recruitment, the hiring of Latino professors and the
further development of the Ethnic Studies Department," he
recalled. “With 22 other LSU members, we camped out in the
university president’s office and were arrested for trespassing.
We won our case and continued our efforts to raise the Latino
issues at BGSU.”
of advocacy continued once Luna was hired at TPS in 1992 as a
social studies teacher and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator. His
early work included translating at parent meetings, serving as a
district liaison, and mentoring Latino students. The mentoring
portion of his job description is where Luna vowed to make the
future of his students better than his own past.
became heavily involved in the annual Latino Youth Summit,
which plays host to 600 Latino students each May in grades 6
through 12 at the University of Toledo. The summit is
designed to show students college and career pathways through
workshops. Luna also has worked extensively with Lourdes
University and BGSU on other college and career readiness
initiatives to help TPS students, as well as Latino teens from
across Northwest Ohio.
way, Luna won a Diamante Award in education in 1998 and a César
Chávez Humanitarian Award in 2012. He continues to serve on the
board of directors at the Toledo Teachers Credit Union and on
the Hispanic Advisory Committee at Lourdes University.
also is a published author
of several children’s books and a professional musician, playing
His published works include: El Queso y La Rata,
Five Delicious Tex Mes Dishes You
Can Make in 1, Hour in 1 Pan,
and If a Little Girl Was
information, contact Lair Marin at OCHLA either by email at
or by calling 614.728.8344. More information can be found online
Editor's Note: La Prensa will be profiling additional
recipients in future issues of La Prensa bilingual,