Ds Scholarship

Dora S. Padilla Memorial Arts Scholarship music to the ears of family and Alhambra Unified – Pasadena Star News

Lisa Padilla-Jones remembers the early days when her mother, Dora, was entertaining schoolchildren in class.

“She would bring the guitar and would play the guitar and sing songs for the classes,” Padilla Jones said.

Dora Padilla succumbed to COVID-19 on January 8, 2021, at the age of 86. She described herself as a “PTA Mother” who became a longtime member of the Alhambra Unified School Board of Education from 1978-98.

Upon her death, District Administrator Denise Jaramillo said, in part, “Dora’s fingerprints are everywhere in our district. One example of this is her fierce advocate for arts education at a time when few considered it essential to the district’s budget. Thanks to the course, AUSD has maintained a K-music education program 8 until today.”

So it seems fitting that her children – Padilla Jones and Stephen Padilla – may have founded the Dora S.

“It’s a way to live on, to stay with the district, with me,” Padilla Jones said of the $1,000 scholarship per recipient. “That’s always been the thing – kids first.

“This way the children will be able to thrive and continue their education.”

Padilla Jones is a music teacher at four of the district’s K-8 schools in Monterey Park.

Scholarship applicants must select Latino/Hispanic and be a graduating high school senior pursuing some type of post-secondary education, although it does not have to be in the arts. The scholarship recognizes students who have excelled in performing, craft and visual arts.

Applicants are also required to write a one-page essay detailing their involvement in the arts as well as how their life and/or work at school has been shaped. One scholarship will be awarded to each of the four secondary schools in the district.

According to Alhambra City Councilman Adele Andrade-Stadler, a member of the Alhambra Latino Society’s advisory board, Padilla was ahead of her time.

“Former AUSD board member, Dora Padilla, has always learned the importance of integrating art into our public schools,” Andrade-Stadler said. “Research has finally realized what it has long understood.

“Study after study shows the link between the study of arts and increased reading and writing skills and academic achievement.”

Dora’s son, Stephen Padilla – editor of the Los Angeles Times – played the French trumpet. As did Padilla Jones. The other son Dan, who died in March 2020 of a stroke, was a singer. All of them were engaged in the arts, all of them went to the Alhambra High School.

Stephen Padilla shared a story about the time his mother – as a member of the Board of Education – saved the arts program in the district. He said she used what he called a “parliamentary tactic to conserve funding”.

“She voted to cut technical funding because, by voting yes, it allowed her to bring the item back for reconsideration,” Stephen Padilla said. Had she voted “no,” the cuts would have agreed to her objection.

“A few weeks later, after convincing the other trustees that savings could be made elsewhere, the budget cuts were returned for another vote and this time they were defeated. The arts funding continued.”

Padilla Jones said that was in the early ’90s.

“That’s it,” she said. “They cut the program off, I probably won’t be here.”

Dora Padilla was a singer in her own right, having for years been part of the popular San Gabriel Mission choir. Her legacy is music to the ears of supervisor Jaramillo.

“Legendary board member Dora Padilla has been a passionate supporter of music and the arts for students,” Jaramillo said this week. Her children were deeply involved in AUSD music, band, theater, and literary arts from elementary school through high school.

“We encourage the Alhambra Latino Arts Association Scholarship that Dora’s children founded in her name. What a great way to continue their mother’s legacy as founder of the ALA. Arts education is a superpower for students – and is particularly healing during the pandemic.”

Students wishing to apply for the scholarship can visit the Alhambra Latino Association website at www.alhambralatinoassociation.com/.

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