A look into the lives of the CCCC Staff

Teresa+Aguilera%2C+Michelle+Lira+Licona%2C+Freddy+Le%C3%B3n%2C+and+Rosy+Celedonio+stand+in+front+of+the+Centro+Cultural+C%C3%A9sar+Ch%C3%A1vez+on+Tuesday%2C+October+4%2C+2022.+The+Centro+Cultural+C%C3%A9sar+Ch%C3%A1vez+is+located+on+691+SW+26th+St%2C+Corvallis%2C+OR+97331.+

Seth Bagasani

Teresa Aguilera, Michelle Lira Licona, Freddy León, and Rosy Celedonio stand in front of the Centro Cultural César Chávez on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. The Centro Cultural César Chávez is located on 691 SW 26th St, Corvallis, OR 97331.

Riley LeCocq, News Reporter

As a graduate student, Freddy Leon frequented the Centro Cultural César Chávez in 2015 before working as an academic advisor and now joining the Centro as staff. 

“I wanted to give back to the community that gave a lot to me,” Leon said. Leon sees the importance of having connections with others and sources of support contributing to student success.

“As a Latinx-identifying person, community is always a big thing for us, and so anytime there are events that bring people together it is something that stays in your memory,” Leon said. 

Outside of the Centro, Leon considers himself an artsy person, painting on canvas with acrylic paint, baking and most recently cake decorating. 

Above the Centro’s welcome desk are painted hand prints from staff members. One of these handprints belongs to third-year apparel design and merchandising management student and Centro graphic designer Michelle Lira Licona, who also has a passion for creative pastimes like upcycling and sewing. 

“I have always been drawn to creative stuff,” Lira Licona said. 

Lira Licona began working at the Centro during the pandemic, creating promotion materials and social media content.

“I know there’s a place to have community and be with people who come from similar backgrounds as me,” Lira Licona said. “[The Centro] means I have a place that I belong.”

Fourth-year student and leadership liaison Teresa Aguilera stumbled upon the community relations representative position at the Centro when looking for campus jobs in the spring of 2021.

“I was a more reserved person and didn’t speak up that much about being an LL and CRR has allowed me to be more social, more outgoing, more talkative,” Aguilera said.

Aguilera said she is grateful for the experiences and lessons she has had at the Centro. 

“It was hard to meet people who identified as Latinx but here at the Centro I can have that community,” Aguilera said.

Originally coming to college thinking she was destined to go into medicine, Rosy Celedonio, another Centro leadership liaison and fourth-year public health student, said her future career plans changed after working as Centro community relations representative. 

“I never really saw myself as a leader when I first came here as a freshman,” Celedonio said. “I just didn’t think I had the skills or capabilities to be a leader and now that I am in my own community and in a space that feels good to do that [I have].”

Celedonio found a passion for connecting with others, welcoming them to OSU and social justice through programming. 

“I decided to stick to my public health route only and specifically work with communities, and farm working communities via the social justice route,” Celedonio said. 

Her passion for health has not changed though, as in her freetime she enjoys lifting and going on walks while discovering new music. 

“Being more comfortable in my identity and in my culture is a really important aspect of my development as well, I am definitely going to take that with me moving on,” Celedonio said.