Celebration with a cause

The Latino Student Alliance held its annual Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event on Friday at Ivy Tech Community College in Elkhart County. The event raised funds for the group’s Dream Catcher scholarship while also celebrating the Mexican holiday.

GOSHEN — The memory of Adolfo Rodriguez still remains as vivid as ever for the Latino Student Alliance.

“We know that he’s following our progress, and he’s present in all we do,” said Radi Buenrostro-Magallon, former Latino Student Alliance president. “Working on this scholarship keeps his memory alive, and it reminds us each and every day why we started LSA in the first place and why we do what we do.”

The Latino Student Alliance held its annual Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event on Friday at Ivy Tech Community College in an effort to raise funds for the group’s Dream Catcher scholarship, while also celebrating the Mexican holiday.

The event also signals a bittersweet moment.

Not too long before the scholarship was created, the Ivy Tech student-based, all-Hispanic club dealt with the emotional loss of its beloved member who passed away following a bout with leukemia. Despite his illness, Rodriguez was still trying to do everything in his power to make the scholarship a reality.

“Adolfo has really been the driving force behind this scholarship,” Buenrostro-Magallon said. “When he was still with us, we were already talking about getting it started and how we were going to fund it, but it was a slow process. He was so passionate about the club and everything that we would do that he was at our events helping out right up until he became ill and had to go to the hospital, which he sadly never left.”

The passing of their beloved friend and classmate pushed the group into overdrive regarding its overall purpose and to finalizing the scholarship, which is awarded to Latino students taking courses at Ivy Tech, regardless of legal status.

“He made us work harder,” Buenrostro-Magallon said. “He made us better. It’s only right that we dedicate the efforts and the scholarship to him, and it’s the least we can do knowing what LSA meant to him. At times it’s bittersweet because we would love to still have him here working on the scholarship with us.

The funds raised at the group’s annual gathering – which featured face painting, Hispanic cuisine, Mexican dance troops and other family-oriented activities – will go toward the overall scholarship funding for 2020. It marked the second time the event was held at Ivy Tech’s Elkart County location.

“I’m thankful for every single donation, the help from our sponsors and the support we received from the community,” LSA co-president Leslie Nungaray-Mondragon said. “We know events like these are needed, and we hope to be able to provide them very year. We look forward to Day of the Dead 2020 with excitement and already have a few ideas.”

The Latino Student Alliance was founded in 2016 by a group of determined students who wanted to promote education for all Latinos by providing much-needed resources to their respective community. LSA is dedicated to helping the Latino community pursue higher education regardless of legal or socioeconomic status.

– By Cortez Strickland, Ivy Tech Community College

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