GALES FERRY, Connecticut (August 2014) – Lisa Chavez describes herself as thoughtful, patient and motivated, qualities that helped her win a scholarship funded by the Latin Network for the Visual Arts (www.lnva.us), based in Gales Ferry.
Chavez, a 2014 graduate of New London High School, won a $1,200 scholarship. The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut administers the funds that will help toward her education in contemporary art. The foundation awarded a record 206 scholarships totaling $440,000 this year. (Images are attached; see contact information at the end of the release.)
LNVA Co-founder Mimi Daumy said as the organization closes its doors after Latin Views 2014, its seventh and last biennial exhibit from Sept. 19 through Oct. 31, the group’s annual scholarship will endure as its legacy. The LNVA also awarded a $2,000 scholarship to Aubrianna Robinson, a recent Fitch High School graduate, who will attend Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts.
Nineteen-year-old Lisa Chavez of New London will attend Eastern Connecticut State University. She served as president of her high school’s art club, and as a first-generation Mexican-American, strives to keep her Latin traditions alive and hopes to be the first in her family to graduate from college.
She sees her parents’ struggle as motivation to work even harder. They came to the United States about 20 years ago, leaving a large extended family in Zacatecas, Mexico. They have made a good home for their daughter and two sons, but they were not able to pursue educational goals.
Chavez credits New London High School’s Higher Edge program in helping her wade through applications to colleges and for grants and scholarships. She plans to take art classes amid courses to achieve her goal of becoming a successful businesswoman or to be in a profession in which she works with people.
Chavez wants to be a role model for her younger brother and she is passionate about learning, wanting to give back to her community after she graduates. She has helped parents take care of their children, preparing meals and entertaining them, all while trying to be a good influence.
Her favorite book is “Tuesdays With Morrie” because it teaches lessons about life.
“It’s like a philosophical book, Chavez said. “It’s very inspiring and makes you look back at life and think of it in a different way.”
Her art work includes a self-portrait, paintings of flowers, cut drawings and a ceramic version of the Tweedy Bird cartoon character.
Chavez’s scholarship essay detailed her Quinceañera, a Latin American rite of passage as she turned 15. She celebrated her day of quince with her relatives in Mexico, transforming from a girl to a young adult in a series of elaborate steps that included doing her hair and makeup, wearing a formal gown and attending a traditional Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by a lavish party with dancing and symbolic presentations.
“My cultural traditions helped me mentally prepare myself by understanding what each tradition meant,” she said. “I was fulfilled because the whole process helped me with my self-esteem; it made me realize I now was ready to become a responsible adult.”
Chavez named Selena Quintanilla, a Mexican-American pop star, as her favorite performer. She said she likes Selena’s lyrics about the power of love.
“I believe she worked very hard and wanted to be a leader. Even though she was pressured by her family, she made her own decisions and I think that’s important in life.”