By Mario Villegas Special Correspondent Award-winning author Luis Rodriguez will be the guest speaker and outgoing East Los Angeles College President Ernest Moreno will be honored at the East Side Spirit & Pride Scholarship Dinner.
The fifth annual event will be held June 16 at Steven’s Steakhouse in Commerce. Proceeds will benefit Homeboy Industries’ Bridge to College Grants and support university tours for ELAC students. The East Side Spirit and Pride Club provides students from ELAC and Homeboy Industries with tours of local universities and four-year colleges. “From Cal State Fullerton to UCLA and everything in between, the tours average 25 to 35 students every month,” said Dennis Sanchez, an english instructor at ELAC who started the program 20 years ago. Sanchez says the college will miss Moreno, who is retiring after 20 years of leading the college as president. He recalled how he and Moreno felt the college lacked pride, so they worked together to make the students, faculty and staff proud of the college by forming the East Side Spirit & Pride Club. “We started a cleanup day, we worked to bring the football program back and started a marching band,” said Sanchez, a Montebello High School product who graduated from ELAC before transferring to USC. “It was a restoration of pride.” Tours to universities were arranged and motivational speakers were invited to come and speak at the college to help the students who stepped up and brought pride back to the college. For more information, call (818) 970-6651, or email