Leadership on display

The annual Outstanding Latino 2017 awards ceremony brought Latino leaders and people who have excelled in their respective professions to Lynn last Friday. They enjoyed an afternoon dedicated to celebration and renewing acquaintances. But mentorship, not mutual admiration, was the main objective of the awards ceremony.

Magalie Rowe, advisor to the Spanish National Junior Honor Society, had the final word of the day. Like the diplomats, artists and media luminaries honored with awards, Rowe understands that the real value of accomplishments is the willingness and ability to pass on life lessons forged by success to young people.

With that thought in mind, it was entirely fitting that Lynn School Superintendent Dr. Catherine Latham opened the awards ceremony before turning the podium over to keynote speakers who explored the theme, “The Power of Latino Leadership; Contributions, and Culture.”

That topic nicely defines the importance of an awards ceremony bringing together talented and accomplished people and framing their remarks against the backdrop of young promising people.

Three nations sent their general consuls to last Friday’s ceremony. No fewer than seven academics from top-flight universities took time out of their schedules to speak and receive recognition. Dancers, important people in media, and three Lynn community leaders rounded out a day that defined Latino power.

Speakers John Arroyo and Deriam Chirinos didn’t even need to say a word to illustrate their theme. All they had to do was point to the assembled award recipients and say the words, “Latino power.”

Like the people who received “Outstanding Latino” awards on Friday, the two speakers understand that accomplished people in any community, in any walk of life, are obligated by virtue of their success to demonstrate leadership.

Leadership, as community leaders like Belarmino Barrios know, means empowering others to achieve the success you have enjoyed. Leadership also means passing onto young people lessons in tenacity, endurance and humility.

The students inducted into the Spanish National Junior Honor Society have already had the responsibilities of leadership placed upon their shoulders. The recognition of their academic strength comes with the responsibility to work as mentors with students who struggle in their classes and to provide a role model highlighting endurance and discipline.

It is not enough, as award-winning bassist Oscar Stagnaro knows, to practice and perfect a talent. A well-honed skill must be shared with others so that people struggling to define themselves can say, “If he did it, if she did it, I can do it.”

Last Friday’s award ceremony theme aptly links “leadership” and “contributions” together. When leaders contribute to the society around them, they help build and enrich their culture for the next generation to improve upon.

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