Cesar Chavez Commemorative Celebration
Please join us in 2019 for the 26th Annual Cesar E. Chavez Commemorative Celebration
Each year during the ceremony, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors honors a group of students as part of the Youth Hall of Fame Awards.
The Contra Costa County Youth Hall of Fame Awards are presented annually to outstanding young Contra Costa residents between the ages of 12 and 18. Nominees should demonstrate exemplary behavior in one or more of the following categories: good Samaritans, volunteerism, teamwork, creativity and perseverance. Submissions for the 2019 awards will open in the fall of 2018.
Keynote Speaker: Larry Sly
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Larry joined the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and soon became the organization’s Executive Director. He has guided the Food Bank’s development from an organization that distributed 36,000 pounds of food in its first year to one that distributed over 20 million pounds of food last year.
Larry has served as vice chair of the board of directors of Feeding America, the national food bank network, and on the National Council, an elected group of food bank leaders who serve as the voice of the network for Feeding America. He also serves on the board of directors of the California Association of Food Banks and chairs the Emergency Food and Shelter board that allocates Federal funds to hunger and shelter agencies in Contra Costa County. Larry has served on State advisory committees on hunger and has served on task forces for Feeding America. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Concord.
Good Samaritan: Mackinsey (Kinsey) Mascali - 12th grade, San Ramon Valley High School, San Ramon
Kinsey’s desire to care for others started at seven years old when she and her sister started Packs with Love, a program to help students in the West County School District that can’t afford backpacks or school supplies. They started with 50 backpacks and now give out more than 800 backpacks to those in need. She also hosts Halloween and Easter parties for kids at a local homeless shelter. In her sophomore year, Kinsey started working as a teacher’s aide helping students with special needs. Wanting to make more of an impact, she taught herself Braille and took a class in sign language to better communicate with low spectrum students. Kinsey has not been without struggles of her own. When she transferred to San Ramon Valley High School, she had undiagnosed dyslexia and struggled in her studies. Once assessed, she learned strategies that have helped her to succeed.
Volunteerism: Ryan Saechao - 10th grade, Richmond High School, Richmond
Ryan Saechao spends many hours volunteering in his community. As the vice president of the Kiwins Club at his school, a student-led club dedicated to service and volunteerism, he has organized and participated in events including, feeding the homeless at a local shelter, building bikes for underprivileged kids, fundraising for medical bills for babies in intensive care, cheering on racers in breast cancer runs and facilitating free pictures with Santa Claus at the mall. He still finds time to serve as the manager of the girls’ basketball team, as well as a school board student panelist, advocating for better salaries and housing for teachers. He is a sharp math student and is frequently observed assisting his classmates and explaining complex concepts. Ryan is also a talented illustrator and performer. He can dance, sing and act and is clearly more than a just a triple threat.
Teamwork: Cei-Lai Fong - 12th grade, San Ramon Valley High, San Ramon
Cei-Lai Fong has used her self-awareness and compassion to expand consciousness about the LGBTQ community at her high school. She is an active member of the District Equality Committee and a Fair Act Consultant. She has helped to expand the Gay Straight Alliance into the Gender Sexuality Alliance which now includes more than 100 students. Having experienced bullying when she was 11, she is using her platforms to advocate for the installation of gender neutral bathrooms as part of a campus remodel.
In a courageous TEDx talk describing her experiences, Cei-Lai says, “I am unafraid to express myself and to use my own comfort in my identity to help others.” She plans to continue her role of inspiring and championing others by studying political science or pre-law in college. She has a rigorous academic load, is involved in 4-H, water sports, and the jazz ensemble and as a highly respected member of the school community was crowned Homecoming Queen, helping to change the conversation about beauty and popularity.
Creativity: Evan Chen – 11th grade, Campolindo High School, Moraga
In 2016, Evan Chen approached staff at the Lafayette Library hoping to teach classes about computer programming. Though he was only a freshman, they were impressed with his professional proposal and his first class in SCRATCH computer language programming was launched soon after. Evan quickly expanded the subject matter and difficulty of his classes which drew participation from all over the East Bay. He also expanded geographically, offering his classes at the San Pablo Library, lending his time, passion and experience to teaching underrepresented students. By imparting his knowledge and dedication for programming and technology to communities, Evan has given his peers the tools to expand their skills and think independently and creatively.
Perseverance: Ashley Koehler – 7th grade, Antioch Middle School, Antioch
When Ashley started at her middle school, as a seventh grader, she had recently been placed into foster care. Despite a rough start, her resilience paid off and she developed a solid group of friends and became an honor roll student. Ashley has become a leader in her counseling group, touching base with new foster students as they arrive at school and inviting them to join the group. She actively helps her counselor come up with activities for the group that deal with expressing anger, anxiety, building trust, and college and career readiness. Having endured difficult circumstances with such maturity and strength, Ashley clearly has the wherewithal to achieve her dream of becoming a child psychologist and helping children survive similar experiences.