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July 13, 2024

Chavez celebration

GREENFIELD — Cesar Chavez Elementary School students honored their namesake on March 31, the day Chavez was born, with music and a special guest speaker who spoke about Chavez’s impact on farmworkers.

Maria De Lourdes Villarreal, who knew Chavez when she was a middle school student, talked about his story with the students.

“Chavez was a very humble man who helped a lot of people, a lot of families like my family,”  Villarreal said. “He helped them to improve their lives.”

Villarreal’s family used to work in the agricultural fields picking produce, such as lettuce and tomatoes. According to Villarreal, working in the agricultural fields was hard on her families because they were not treated very well.

She brought three objects with her to demonstrate what Chavez did for farmworkers. The first item was a water bottle, which symbolized the farmworkers’ lack of access to water while working out in the fields. The second object was toilet paper, which was referencing restrooms available if workers needed it. The final object was a small gardening hoe that led to farmworkers suffering from back pains. The result was having a longer gardening hoe to use to get vegetables and produce from the earth.

Villarreal, who worked in the fields, said it was a tough job. She also participated in the marches that Chavez led.

Mariachi students led by Martin Castillo played such songs as “De Colores,” and the chorus also sang two songs, including Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”

“We learned that Cesar Chavez’s birthday is today,” third-grader Gracie Mata said.

Alfredo Pantoja and Crystal Gonzalez learned about being kind to others and not bullying the people around them.

March was also Women’s History Month, which Cesar Chavez students honored by speaking about Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou and Harriet Beecher Stowe.