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Flores, Orozco, others to receive Diamante awards, Sept. 12


Owens Community College will host the Diamante Awards celebration, which recognizes individuals and organizations for their achievements and service to the Latino community in the Metro-Toledo area, occurring on Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The Diamante Awards event begins at 6 p.m.


In addition to the four Diamante Awards, scholarships will be presented to over 40 students from Owens Community College, Bowling Green State University, Lourdes College, and The University of Toledo – the four Northwest Ohio institutions whose partnership in the awards program benefits their Latino students.


Gregory A. Guzmán, Director of Student Financial Aid at Bowling Green State University, will provide comments. At 9 p.m., a silent auction will take place to raise scholarship funds and feature an array of donated items from the surrounding communities. Entertainment is by Grupo Azteca.


Among the four award honorees are: Oriana Orozco, Toledo, a junior at Lourdes College, who is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in marketing. She will receive the Latina Youth Leadership Award. A former recipient of the Cesar Chavez Humanitarian Award and numerous scholarships, including the Diamante, Orozco is a leader within the Latino student community at Lourdes College. In 2007, she was elected President of the Lourdes College Latino Student Union (LSU), a role in which she still holds. Through fundraisers, the LSU has raised substantial dollars for migrant families throughout Northwest Ohio.


Orozco is active in Lourdes’ “Get in the Game New Student Orientation Program” and volunteers at various campus-sponsored events, including Latino Career Day and the College’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Additionally, she volunteers at Washington Church as a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Nanny.


Albert Flores, of Toledo will be named the Latino Adult Leadership Award recipient. Flores’ commitment to the area youth of Northwest Ohio has spanned over 33 years of dedicated service.


As a school teacher at Libbey High School, Flores continuously stresses to his students about the importance of a college education. From guiding students through the FAFSA application process to advocating and guiding individuals through scholarship opportunities at area academic institutions, Flores gives tirelessly of his time to help them achieve academic and career success. In addition to teaching, Flores serves on the EXCEL board at The University of Toledo and recently began tutoring University student-athletes.


Mark Pickett, of Fremont, Professor of Civil Engineering at The University of Toledo, will be named the recipient of the Friend of the Latino Community Award. Picket has been a longtime advocate in creating opportunities for students who face great challenges in their education pursuits, especially children of Latino migrant workers. His devotion to education includes spending countless hours planning, gathering resources and assembling an array of educators to reach those individuals in need of assistance.


Recognizing the tremendous educational challenges facing children of Latino migrant workers as a result of repeatedly relocating to new schools, the loss of a stable learning environment and mentor relationships, Pickett decided to create an educational program that meets the needs of these individuals, as well as a program that teaches the students’ teachers. Among the program highlights include the students’ participation in The University of Toledo’s Latino Student Summit.


Pickett’s leadership goes beyond his organizing and teaching initiatives as he works tirelessly to secure funding for these programs from agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the Ohio Department of Education, which enables teachers to participate in the educational program free of charge. His program also advocates that the educators give back to the community by teaching migrant students in satellite schools throughout Northwest Ohio.


This year’s recipient of the Corporation/Community Agency Award is The Chrysler Foundation, which has served as event sponsor of the Diamante Awards for the past four years. The Chrysler Foundation’s dedication and commitment to the event sponsorship now totals $60,000. In addition to the event sponsorship, The Chrysler Foundation had requested that $5,000 of the annual sponsorship be matched by the participating higher education institutions resulting in $40,000 in direct scholarships to students. The Chrysler Foundation’s support has had an impact of $100,000 for the past four years.


Diamante Award recipients are chosen based on recognition of exemplary leadership/achievements within the Latino community or community at large, or demonstrated excellence in their fields; dedication and commitment in an ethical and inclusive fashion, and modeling qualities and behaviors of a mentor for youth and the community.


The annual Diamante Awards, now comprising Owens Community College, Bowling Green State University, Lourdes College and The University of Toledo, was founded by the Northwest Ohio Latino advocacy organization IMAGE in 1989 to recognize individuals and organizations in the local Latino community for their outstanding contributions, and to recognize the impact of Latinos on U.S. culture and society. The initiative includes providing scholarships and other support to make it possible for Latino students to attend college.


Tickets for the Diamante Awards celebration are $75 per person or $125 per couple in advance, or $85 per person or $150 per couple the day of the event. For more information, call (567) 661-7510 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7510.







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