Cordero’s impact

Ferris organization continues work of a legend

Luzia Tartari of the Hispanic Student Organization said Ferris has worked to enroll more Hispanic students for some time.

“The position of Hispanic Admissions Officer was created in 2003 as a part of the Hispanic Initiative on campus,” said Tartari. She said she was hired to work specifically with this population.

Rafael Cordero, a self-educated Puerto-Rican, provided free schooling to children regardless of their race. Cordero is known as “The father of public education in Puerto Rico.” Cordero educated himself to develop skills to become a teacher.

During the 19th century, Cordero established a free school for all children in his home of all races who could not afford the cost of an education. He maintained the educational center for 58 years at Luna Street in San Juan. Cordero taught the subjects of reading, calligraphy, mathematics and Catholic Instruction.

“I only feel that his ideals were similar to those of Mr. Ferris, who wanted education for all,” said Tartari.

Currently, Hispanic students face several challenges at Ferris. One of which is financial aid, said Tartari. She said, “Some of our students have a hard time financing their studies.” Tartari also said sometimes aid to students since some parents do not have all the right documents.

“Because of that, several of our students commute to campus since they cannot afford to live here,” Tartari said.

She said, “The Hispanic Student Organization is very active and gather the students, constantly providing a support group and opportunities for fun activities together.” There are numerous activities planned on campus in honor of Hispanic Heritage month.

“Every year the Hispanic Heritage Month activities showcase this culture through music, food and educational events. It’s an opportunity for them to get together, do things as a group, make friends and educate the campus about Hispanic Culture.”

Tartari indicated the OMSS (Office of Multicultural Student Services) helps the HSO (Hispanic Student Organization) with the realization and organization of these events and with part of the funds. The organization also requests funds from Student Government for funds as well.

“Recently, two other student organizations were created by Hispanic students- Mujeres Triunfando (Women’s only) and a fraternity (Alianza for Gentlemen). She said, “Together, these organizations hope to do more not only for the Hispanic students, but also for all the students at Ferris interested in Hispanic culture.”

Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, also a member of the Hispanic Student Organization who works in the Admissions Office, helps Hispanic students and their families, including students who only speak Spanish with admission concerns and the admissions process, including getting settled on campus when they enroll. Carvalho-Pinto could not be reached for comment prior to deadline.

“OMSS also plays an important role in assisting students with any concerns during their academic life on campus. With the creation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, not only the Hispanic students, but other minorities on campus have a strong advocate for their concerns,” said Tartari.

Tartari said the Hispanic population still faces big challenges in America.

“The perception is that they are all poor, uneducated and illegal and cannot be trusted – see the law in Arizona,” said Tartari. She added, “This perception is so ingrained in a large part of the population and in our politicians that other laws and regulations aimed at helpings students and young people are approved or properly discussed.”

She said much more needs to be done so the Hispanic population is completely accepted and become an inherent part of the American society, like other immigrant populations in the country have in the past.

“They already are the largest minority in the county and it’s time their concerns and their influence be taken into consideration,” said Tartari. n