In her State of the State address Monday, Governor Janet Napolitano recognized Flinn Scholar Chris Tijerina (’01) as an example of what one student can do to improve Arizona education. The governor cited the G.O.L.D. Scholars Program, founded by Chris while a student at Casa Grande Union High School, as a model for her plan to create successful learning environments.
The Tijerina family is no stranger to the educational and social challenges facing native Spanish speakers. As a child, Chrisâ€™ father Mario came to Case Grande as part of a family of migrant farm workers. He overcame the language barrier and went on to achieve a Master of Arts in bilingual education/English as a second language from Ottawa University in Kansas.
When Chris Tijerina was in High School, he found himself surrounded by others coping with the very same challenges his father had faced. He decided to do something about it. Together with his father, he founded the G.O.L.D. Scholars Program, a program that seeks to help the Latino high school students of today become the Latino leaders of tomorrow.
Governor Janet Napolitano recognized Chris in her Monday address: “Chris and many others like him remind us that Arizona schools still produce great young minds, and they always will.”
Chris is currently a sophomore at Arizona State University, majoring in secondary education and Chicano studies. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a participant in ASU’s Service Learning Program. In addition to his continuing involvement with the G.O.L.D. Scholars Program, Chris is also as a volunteer with Metro-Phoenix ENLACE, a project that works to help Hispanics earn college degrees.