unveiling your world by Melina Telles

Writing letters to the little man of my life.
Is San Jose State University's campus safe?
Practicando el folclor. Folklorico is not only dancing, but a lifestyle for these dancers.
The working poor

Maria Santana, 35, is one of the many single mothers in the United States who struggle to maintain their households with the most basic needs. It has become common in the Bay Area, especially in the city of San Jose, for people to find cheaper housing away from the metropolitan area. Santana has allowed us to see the struggles of what it means to be a part of the working class is like, as well as the limitations people come across when they are undocumented. To this mom, going above and beyond for her kids is to let them see the sacrifices she makes to help them live happier lives and to ultimately help them become future professionals.


Josie Gutierrez, 72, is a first generation Latina woman who has impacted a numerous amount of students throughout her career. Gutierrez family immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, and mentions that at their time of arrival, her parents were able to buy a home for $700 in Santa Clara, California. Gutierrez is a SJSU alumni and has been dedicated to the San José community since her high school days.

Looking through her 1956 yearbook, Gutierrez mentioned, "I was president of the camera club, but I didn't even own a camera or know how to use one. They chose me because I had good leadership skills." She is also the only one in her family who went to college. She recalls, "My parents didn't even go to kindergarten."

Gutierrez has four children, all whom have attended high ranking universities such as Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego. She says her biggest accomplishment are her children because they followed in her footsteps and have helped out the community, an example being her daughter Rosalie who was able to create a program with the city of San Jose called the "San Jose Promise", a program where underrepresented students are given the opportunity to attend college via the help of scholarships.

Today, Gutierrez works with the Jose Valdés Math Institute, which she helped establish in 1988 with Jose Valdes. Valdés was a man of Cuban decent who was Gutierrez's son's mentor for the MESA program(Math Engineering and Science Achievement) and had the hopes of opening up a program to help out Latino and African American students who often fell behind in school at the time. On Saturdays at Washington Elementary, located on the West of San Jose, is where she helps Latino students improve their math proficiency.

Gutiérrez has developed a close relationship with these parents and has even helped students and parents who come from low income backgrounds navigate the education system by helping them get into private schools in the area.

Elizabeth Velazquez is a parent who gave the Jose Valdes Math Institute a chance to help her eldest son become advanced in Mathematics. Velazquez immigrated from Mexico and says that "In the United States, for whatever motive, there is more help and opportunities." Velazquez is a mother of four and is inspired by Gutierrez's energetic attitude and willingness to push students, such as her son Alexander.

Alexander was able to get a scholarship to Archbishop Mitty with the help of Gutierrez and was accepted because of the guidance she provided him with to be more noticeable in the acceptance process. Velazquez recalls Gutierrez saying, "I don't work anymore, but I have time I can give to these kids." Velazquez also mentions that Gutierrez is a role model for her because they both had four kids, and now she is helping Velazquez become more involved in her children's education.

Gutierrez is definitely a community crusader that has inspired many students to continue their education and even planted the seed of gratitude to those who she has helped.

Grupo Folklorico Luna y Sol de SJSU performing at Warriors Latino Heritage NIght

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