MHS students attend National Chicano Student Walkouts Conference at OLLU

More than 80 McCollum High School students attended the 2019 National Chicano Student Walkouts Conference held at Our Lady of the Lake University on Nov. 21.

The annual conference honors the striking students who risked it all to achieve equality and social justice for Mexican Americans in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The event allowed faculty, academic researchers, community leaders and students to reflect, analyze and assess the impact that the protests had on the improvement of educational and economic opportunities for Mexican Americans.

As part of the event, seven McCollum students had the opportunity to participate in a one-of-a-kind Q&A panel to discuss the importance of Mexican American Studies (MAS) in today’s political and social climate.

“Mexican American Studies has opened my eyes to another part of history that we are not really taught,” senior Gabriel Vasquez Lopez, who is currently studying MAS at McCollum, said. “Being a part of this panel was a great experience because I was able to express that we are important, and we need more history books talking about what our past ancestors did because we are not mentioned enough.”

The panel was organized by Harlandale ISD Secondary Social Studies Instructional Coach Dr. Elizabeth Rivas to expose students to new experiences to enhance their learning outside of the classroom.

“Our students did great, and I hope they share what they learned with other students so we can take more students in the future.” Dr. Rivas said. “My hope is that they know there is a community of people that work to advance Mexican American Studies and believe in social justice. That regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender, we all deserve to be respected.”

Dr. Rivas hopes the conference left them feeling empowered to continue to learn more about MAS in their future.

“Empowering the students and giving them the tools to be civic mined individuals are the main tenets of our social studies program,” Dr. Rivas said. “We hope to continue building coalitions with local universities and organizations. We do this because it is our responsibility and duty to make our community better one student at a time.”


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