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ICOE Foundation for Education Celebrates Students, the Arts, and Education


The unannounced dust storm and rain that fell upon the Imperial Valley on Oct. 6 did not stop members of the community to gather and have a good time, and also supporting students to get scholarships as they pursue higher education.  

The Foundation for Education, an auxiliary organization of the Imperial County Office of Education, showcased the many talents of local students through an art exhibit during its Autumn & the Arts Fundraiser. Most of the art pieces exhibited on October 6 were available for purchase, and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be given to participating student artists in the form of a scholarship. 

“We are now launching a new academic event which is in the arts so we are excited about that. Our kids, the parents are very passionate about their art and this will give them a venue to share that get recognized for their talents and skills in the arts,” said ICOE Superintendent Todd Finnell. The BHW Renewables Foundation donated $30,000 to this arts initiative.

One of their scholarships focuses on students with special needs that face adversity. Finnell said that they look for opportunities where there’s a gap in support for students and look to fill that with their foundation.

Foundation Board member Victor Jaime continues to dedicate himself to education as a member of the ICOE Board and a member of the foundation. 

“We have a great turnout today, it was sold out early on and the foundation has always been interested in ensuring that our students from the special and alternative education have the opportunity to compete for scholarships and we have awarded a lot of scholarships. This year we will make more money and more students that we can help in their endeavors and education,” Jaime said. 

Magali Meza, coordinator for the Foundation for Education said that this is an opportunity to help students leap into a new stage in their lives and have a better life through education. 

“We feel it’s important to support our students that may not have the same access as other students. We want to support those students because they have this opportunity to break this cycle and get a better life by going to college and pursuing their education,” Meza said. 

The Foundation for Education held a live auction of a few signature items, including an original, signed, and numbered limited edition print donated by Simón Silva, a well-known artist, author, and speaker, who was born in Mexicali and grew up in Imperial County.

This year, the Rainforest Art Project is also contributing a live auction item. The Rainforest Art Project’s artwork is a beautiful mosaic piece created by Cristina Salazar-Saucedo, artist and ASES tutor at Sunflower Elementary School, along with students from her after-school program. Students are participating in the design and hands-on mosaic work to create “Sunflower Suns,” dynamic and contemporary works of art. 

Proceeds from the sale of these live auction items will help support the Foundation for Education’s scholarship program, which is providing financial assistance to some of Imperial County’s most vulnerable students, including students enrolled in alternative education schools, special education programs, or Imperial Pathways Charter School, ICOE’s drop-out recovery program for individuals 17 and over.

The Foundation for Education has also teamed up with a variety of local businesses that exemplify the importance of art and artisanship. Ceramic vases created by 8th-grade students from Wilson Junior High School were available for purchase that evening and tied to a mystery crate featuring local products that are unique to Imperial Valley.

The culinary arts will also be honored and showcased through the participation of Calexico High School’s culinary arts program, which will create desserts for this event. Calexico Culinary Arts have been at the top in regional and state culinary competitions in the FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) competitions and have placed second at the national level for 3 consecutive years.

Each year, the foundation supports a variety of countywide student events such as the science fair, a STEM Festival, an Academic Decathlon, a Mock Trial, a Spelling Bee, and more. 

Beyond Borders Gazette was a sponsor of this event.

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