For many years, Dr. Nieto felt there was a need to develop an educational academy that promoted academic excellence, as well as leadership development, especially as it related to helping younger Chicano and Latino studentsí dream to obtaining a higher education.  In 2005 the mission of the Latino Academy became to identify, select and prepare groups of Chicano/Latino students to succeed in college and allow them them to learn the workforce skills necessary to succeed in life while, at the same time, to prepare them for commitment to their respective Chicano/Latino communities.

Dr. Nieto identified California State University Long Beach with its strong its Chicano and Latino Studies Department to begin the Academy program, and Chairman Dr. Victor Rodriguez made it possible for the university to provide transfer-level Chicano Studies classes to the Bakersfield area students. The department  supported these class offerings in Bakersfield for the Latino Academy. President of CSULB, Dr. King Alexander, not only supported the program, but made a pledge to meet with the Latino Academy when the group visited the campus in 2006 and 2007.

Additionally, this program identified and assigned a series of Chicano/Latino elementary and secondary students to the college/university Latino Academy students as their mentees in order to create a better chance for the younger students to succeed in their elementary and secondary education. The goal was to not only help them develop a desire to attend college, but also subsequently to develop a successful professional career. At the same time, Heritage of America also identified and selected nearly 40 Latino professionals who acted as mentors to the college students. Together, they created the Chicano Latino Village or Community (Pueblo), whose aim was to promote the education of college and elementary Chicano Latino students.  Their motto became  "It takes a pueblo to educate a student."

Each college student received a $2,500 scholarship, which paid their tuition and book expenses at CSULB and it also provided a lump sum for their overall expenses. The program started in the Fall of 2005 and operated in 2006 and 2007, with almost 50 college students and an equal number of elementary/secondary students. In addition, a number of professional Chicanos and Latinos in the areas of medicine, health care, education, local and state government, the media, business, arts, law, social work, corrections and music mentored the Academy students.

Chicano Latino Scholastic & Leadership Academy

Sponsorship Opportunities for Corporations and Individuals

Heritage of America and its friends invite you to become a sponsor of the Chicano Latino Scholastic & Leadership Academy established in September 2005.  A person or corporation can become a sponsor for our students in the Academy which is composed of students from Bakersfield College and California State University Bakersfield.  These students take specially designed classes from California State University Long Beach and they also mentor middle school or high school students and in turn are mentored by professionals in the Bakersfield community. These students maintain good academic standing in their institutions, and they are involved in community projects.  You are encouraged to sponsor the Chicano Latino Scholastic & Leadership Academy students which is preparing the leaders of tomorrow.  Please visit our sponsorship page for more information.

This PowerPoint presentation is a brief summary of the first year of the Chicano Latino Scholastic & Leadership Academy.  A number of photos are shown in order to give the viewer an idea as to the various activities that the group participated in during this time.

Television Spot, Both Spanish & English Version: Latino Academy Recruitment Segment

This is the television public service announcement that was broadcast in both Spanish and English from 2005 through 2007 when Heritage was accepting applications for the Latino Academy program.  It is hoped that the program will continue in the Fall of 2010.

News Coverage: Chicano Achievement Scholastic Awards, May 20, 2006 

 Latino Academy Photos

On top of Cerro Noreste at the beginning of the hike.

At the beginning of the Cerro Noreste to Mt. Pinos hike.

The Latino Academy hiked the Peak to Peak route from Cerro Noreste to Mt. Pinos in 2007, this photo at the end of the hike.


Latino Academy students attended a retreat at Pine Mountain Club in the Los Padres National Forest in December 2005.

At mid-point of the hike.

Producer of film Walkout,  shown at the Fox Theater, for our Latino Academy and the community: Montesuma Esparza  (L to R) Yaoska Machado, Reporter at KKEY Telemundo Network; Norma Ontiveros Gaspar, Production Manager KKEY Telemundo Network; Montesuma Esparza, Producer of Walkout;  Karla Leal, News Anchor KKEY Telemundo Network; Sam Monteros, Editor KKEY Telemundo Network.