The Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) honored Eastern President Elsa M. Núñez with its Lifetime Achievement Award on Oct. 22 during its 14th Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony at Amarante's Sea Cliff Restaurant in New Haven.
Several Eastern staff and faculty were on hand to congratulate President Núñez, including Imna Arroyo, Carmen Cid, Pat Banach, Carlos Hernandez, Dwight Bachman and Ed Osborn. President Núñez's husband, Richard Freeland, and her son, Antony Wormack, were also in attendance.
Núñez also delivered the keynote address at the banquet. She recalled the days when Latinos worked long hours in difficult conditions in the tobacco fields, thread mills and other factories of Connecticut. The pay was low, the conditions were often dangerous, and families were not treated well. "We have moved away from the tobacco farms and the thread mills, but life is not better for many members of the Latino community." President Núñez went on to describe the educational achievement gap in Connecticut that exists between Latino students, often living in urban, low-income households and more affluent, white suburban students. "The achievement gap in Connecticut is the worst in the country," she explained, "and Latino students' academic performance actually gets worse as they progress through school. Our educational system is failing them."
Núñez ended her remarks by encouraging the audience to do all it can individually and collectively to bridge the achievement gap between the larger society and the Latino community.
Eastern student Noel Bautista and Caithlyn Sanchez of Windham High School were among the 15 students who received scholarships.