In its early beginnings, the Glendale Latino Assn. had only $500 in its scholarship kitty.
Last Thursday, at its scholarship awards breakfast, the organization gave almost $20,000 to 15 deserving, local students.
They hailed from Crescenta Valley, Holy Family and Hoover high schools as well as Glendale Community College.
Almost 150 supporters showed up on a drizzly afternoon at the Oakmont Country Club to congratulate the scholarship winners.
There were so many cars that the club valets gave up their tips in favor of self-parking.
First up, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian greeted the crowd, followed by the first award of the afternoon.
Lila Ramirez, the mother of former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos, was given the group’s Inspirational Award for many years of support.
Mercy Velazquez, chair of the organization’s advisory board, described the association’s early beginnings as the little engine that could.
She then introduced Amy Navarrete, past president, who, in turn, announced city dignitaries present. Besides Najarian, they included City Council members Vartan Gharpetian and Paula Devine, City Manager Yasmin Beers, City Atty. Mike Garcia and Police Chief Carl Povilitis, dubbed “Carlitos” by Navarrete.
Glendale Community College VIPs included David Viar, the school’s superintendent/president, and board of trustee members Armine Hacopian, Ann Ransford and Yvette Davis.
Gary Montecuollo, campus police chief, would get more kudos later in the program after introducing his scholarship recipient, Gabriela Borraez, from Crescenta Valley High School.
She plans to attend the University of California at Irvine in the fall.
Among representatives from the Glendale Unified School District was Jennifer Freemon, school board president.
The keynote speaker, Angela Sanchez, shared her emotional life story, going from a childhood of homelessness to achievement as program officer of the ECMC Foundation.
Sanchez had also received a scholarship from the association when she was a student at UCLA.
Highlighted were special scholarship winners whose benefactors were present to give them their awards. Besides Borraez, with her scholarship in hand from Montecuollo, Richard Parada, a student at Crescenta Valley High School, and Anthony Stanis, from Glendale Community College, were given scholarships by Devine and her husband, Art.
Event proceeds will benefit the association’s scholarship fund for next year.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of a special edition of Business Life magazine in which local “Women Achievers” are featured.
Last Wednesday, 19 past achievers gathered for a reunion mixer at the Phoenicia restaurant in Glendale.
Early arriving achievers were Sandy Moreno, Margo Bottcher, Kathy Lefkovits, Liz Mirzaian, Marsha Ramos and Lynn White-Shelby.
Extra congratulations go to Ramos, who was recognized for receiving the magazine’s inaugural Life Achievement Award in 2017.
Ramos is a former Burbank mayor. She credits her father for buying the magazine’s first ad.
The business of the afternoon was hugging and chatting, renewing friendships and making new ones.
Greg Krikorian, president and chief executive of Business Life, made sure introductions were made for the newcomers.
Krikorian’s parents, the late John and Elsie Krikorian, were the founders and editors of Business Life. It was John Krikorian’s idea to publish a special issue in 1989 to showcase women.
“I’m proud to continue to realize my father’s dream to shed the true light of women’s contributions to our community and country,” Greg Krikorian said.
Altogether, more than 500 Women Achievers have graced the magazine’s cover.
Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.