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Oral history project earns Valley award


November 08, 2006

ASU's Mexican-Americans of Litchfield Park Oral History project was recognized by a coalition of community, business and civic organizations for its significant contribution to the West Valley community. For the second consecutive year, ASU has received the Celebrating Cultural Awareness honor at Westmarc's annual Best of the West awards. The award was presented to ASU at Westmarc's 14th annual Best of the West Awards dinner Oct. 27.

The Mexican-Americans of Litchfield Park Oral History project was directed by Gloria Cuadraz, director for the Ethnicity, Race, and First Nations Studies program.

Cuadraz is an associate professor in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU's West campus. She interviewed former Mexican-American camp residents, and traced the history of Litchfield Park and the migrant workers who broke ground, dug canals, cleared the land and harvested crops.

What makes the project so significant is that students, historians and scholars have an opportunity to reflect on an important snapshot of history, economics and culture.

In addition, Westmarc honored ASU's Professional Development School/Avondale School District Partnership Program. The PDS/Avondale partnership program is an 18-month “fast track” program that places College of Teacher Education and Leadership students in the classroom for four five-week rotations in the district's primary and middle school classrooms before they begin their teaching careers. The Avondale Elementary School District has been a PDS partner for two years, and ongoing, performance-based research indicates that elementary school students of first-year PDS-prepared teachers have significantly higher test scores. The program received an honorable mention.

Westmarc, an acronym for Western Maricopa Coalition, was founded in 1990 and promotes public policies leading to growth, quality of life, strong community development and a favorable public image.