By Veronica Pineda
Dr. Angela Perez Miller was a well-known Latina educator, teaching and administrating for Chicago Public Schools both in Pilsen and La Villita for 30 years. After CPS, she taught bilingual education and educational policy classes at DePaul University and UIC.
Dr. Perez Miller also spent time advocating for bilingual education classes in the schools. She was also a founding member of Alivio Medical Center, providing Latinos with primary healthcare services. As president of the Latino Institute and a member of Illinois state Sen. Miguel Del Valle’s education committee, not only was she a strong supporter of Chicago’s Latino children, but of the Latino community as a whole.
When Dr. Perez Miller passed away in 2007, her family asked the people who knew her to make donations in her name instead of presenting her with flowers. Subsequently, they contacted Latinos Progresando, a non-profit organization that advocates for immigrants, with the idea of starting a scholarship fund in the late doctor’s name.
Now the scholarship is funded by different sponsors, local organizations and organized events, such as the Little Village Laugh Festival, an upcoming event presented by LP.
The Dr. Angela Perez Miller Scholarship Fund is divided into individual scholarships of $1,000 for the 2013-14 academic year. To qualify, a student must meet certain qualifications and requirements. For example, he or she must be a Latino or immigrant student, reside within Cook County, and, as with other scholarships, be admitted or enrolled in an undergraduate or certificate program at an accredited college or university.
Latinos Progresando and scholarship contributors are now adding mentorship for recipients to go alongside the scholarship.
“We thought it would be great to give support beyond the scholarship,” says Olivia Villegas, lawyer and affiliate of LP. Villegas also hopes they can raise even more funds to provide students with workshops, as well.
Because of Dr. Perez Miller’s scholarship fund, many Latinos are able to continue her legacy by applying and following in her footsteps. Last year, seven students were given the scholarship, and this year you the reader can be one of those students (I already started on my application).
To read more about the scholarship and apply, visit the Latinos Progresando website. Also, don’t forget to check out the Little Village Laugh Festival, April 4, at the Kopa Kavana in Little Village. All of the proceeds will benefit Dr. Perez Miller’s scholarship fund.