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ASU leadership program honors Chavez's life and legacy

June 17, 2011

Lessons learned in the classroom were given real life application in the community to honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez.

Approximately 60 high school students from around the state participated this week in the annual Cesar Chavez Leadership Institute (CCLI), a six-day program hosted by Arizona State University. On June 16, students assembled and packaged donated medical and office supplies to several communities around the world at the Project C.U.R.E. distribution center at 2100 W. 14th St., Tempe, Ariz.

“A lot of people think they can’t make a difference in their community but I think they’re selling themselves short,” said 16-year-old Caleb Peckham, who will be a junior at Tempe Preparatory Academy in the fall. “This week showed me not only can we make a difference, we can make a big difference.”

In addition to participating in the community project, Peckham and other students attended several workshops exploring higher education, developing leadership skills, and examining the legacy of Cesar Chavez while living on the ASU campus.

Peckham said he didn’t know much about Chavez before, but won’t soon forget the impact he made on the lives of others.

“What he did for the lives of farm workers was monumental but he started out small,” Peckham said. “He came from very humble beginnings and his life shows us all that virtually nothing is impossible if you’re willing to work hard at achieving your goals.”

The CCLI was established in 1995 to honor Chavez for his servant leadership, commitment to higher education and community service.

In 1992, ASU gave Chavez an honorary doctorate degree. A year later he died in San Luis, Ariz.