Father Detained by ICE Could Soon Be Deported

August 3, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

City Councilman Gil Cedillo Tuesday called for the release of a man who is facing deportation after being picked up by immigration agents while dropping his daughter off at school.

Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel while dropping off one of his daughters at Academia Avance in Highland Park on Feb. 28. He has lived in the country for 25 years and his case gained widespread attention with the dissemination of video footage taken by another of his daughters, who filmed the incident while sobbing.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. Mr. Romulo has been detained and kept away from his family for more than six months,” Cedillo said at a rally for Avelica-Gonzalez in downtown’s Pershing Square. “And as he is on the verge of being deported we stand here in unity and solidarity to make it clear to all those who are here, that we will fight for justice, that there cannot be justice until Mr. Romulo is released and returned to his family.”

Cedillo said in June it looked as if Avelica-Gonzalez was going to be released after two prior misdemeanor convictions for receiving stolen property and a DUI were both vacated by a judge. However, Avelica-Gonzalez’ family said Monday that he is still facing deportation and could be transported to Mexico as early as next week.

Cedillo, who has been among the council’s sharpest critics of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, also said, “The criminals and those who should be deported are in the White House.”

Although Avelica-Gonzalez’s lawyers are trying various legal maneuvers to prevent his detention, an emergency stay of deportation ordered by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals expires on Aug. 5. They said Tuesday he could be deported as soon as Aug. 7 if their efforts fail.

“There is a very clear legal basis for this,” Cedillo said when calling for Avelica-Gonzalez to be released. “The concerns that were raised when he was picked up have been addressed.”

Funds Raised to Support Academia Avance Student Trip

April 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A dinner to raise funds to send students from Academia Avance Charter School to engage in a bold initiative to register 300 students in the Midwest to vote in the upcoming election was held April 7 at the Ebel Theater in Highland Park.

Funds raised at the Mexican culture themed dinner, “Noche Mexicana,” will help cover the cost of participation in the two-week long Senior International Learning Lab, an initiative to connect Latino students from across the U.S.

Academia Avance’s class of 2016 hopes to visit Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Nashville, Tennessee, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Each student must contribute $300 to pay for the airplane ticket to Chicago, and an additional $500 needed to be fundraised by each student attending to cover food, housing, transportation.

Families came together to support the students, share laughs, enjoy music, and most of all the food. Tickets cost $100, but each family donated what they could.

A Mexican-themed dinner to raise funds for students from Academia Avance Charter School was held April 7 in Highland Park. (Photo courtesy of Gloria Alamillo)

A Mexican-themed dinner to raise funds for students from Academia Avance Charter School was held April 7 in Highland Park. (Photo courtesy of Gloria Alamillo)

Awards were handed out to volunteers and sponsors, including Fabiola Torres who helped organize the dinner as well as donating. A representative to Councilman Gil Cedillo recognized two Academia Avance seniors for their hard work and leadership during their internship.

Entertainment was provided by musical groups Cambalache and La Victoria and Jarochelo, each performing a different style of Mexican music. Dishes from different regions of Mexico were served.

“The Senior International Learning Lab is an excellent opportunity for seniors to see the world outside of Highland Park and prepare them for life outside of High School,” said Chad Banter, the senior counselor, before the event.

Donations are still being accepted and can be made at http://www.payit2.com/fundraiser/80592 .

Martin Baez and Gisela Jimenez are seniors at Academia Avance Charter School in Highland Park. They are interning at Eastern Group Publications/EGPNews as part of the school’s “Work Educational Experience Project.”

Academia Avance Students Thankful for Simple Things

November 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The average student is often unaffected by events that go on around the world.

High school seniors in particular are more worried about getting their college applications processed in time or their demanding workload than what’s happening outside their immediate circle.

It’s no different for students at Academia Avance, a small charter school located in a church basement in Highland Park with about 500 middle and high school students.

Despite growing concern around the world over tragedies that have happened this year, including the recent terrorist attack in Paris France, many students are more concerned with their everyday routine, family, and school.

Academia Avance is not only a school but a community supporting students that want a future for themselves. Despite its small size and unusual location, the school offers a variety of opportunities for students to take part in, like an internship program for seniors who have passed the A-G requirements and trips to Los Angeles area colleges so students can see what their options are so they won’t just stick to one small opportunity.

Students say they feel welcomed when walking in the halls to class because they know that one day they will get to wear their cap and gown before heading to a four-year college.

Many of Academia Avance’s students struggle everyday because they lack resources and face financial difficulties.

Seniors in the Class of 2016 especially feel the pinch of higher expenses thanks to all the money required for their senior activities.

Last week, EGP asked some Academia Avance students to take a moment to reflect on what they will be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

It seems most worries will be forgotten for the day as the students spend time with their families and loved ones. From the responses, it appears the senior class is able to look past the stresses from around the world and are instead thankful for the simple things often taken for granted, families and friends or just the excitement of long-awaited videogame coming out.

Here’s what some Advance Academia seniors and the school’s principal had to say:

Cindy Baez MB MG_2277

“I’m thankful for my health and having great friends that support me.”  Senior Cindy Baez

Principal Angelica Gil MB IMG_2294

“I’m thankful for being able to spend time with family after my father passed away. I’m happy that I get to celebrate the memory of my father with the rest of my family.”  Principal Angelica Gil

Rodolfo Paz (rt) Cesar Birrueta (lt)IMAG0612 Gisela

“ I am thankful for my friends, health, that I get an opportunity to be in school, and that my family supports me through everything.” Senior Rodolfo Paz

“I am thankful for Fallout 4 (video game) because it is a wonderful game!”  Senior Cesar Birrueta

Valeria Salinas MB IMG_2292

“I’m thankful for having great friends and family who are supportive, and I’m thankful for having a house and good health.”  Senior Valeria Salinas

Luis Marquez MB MG_2293

“I’m thankful for having a good life with a great family that fill my life with happiness.” Senior Luis Marquez

Eric Salazar GJ IMAG0614

“ I am thankful for my family, friends, and video games!” Senior Eric Salazar

Martin Baeza and Gisela Jimenez are seniors at Academia Avance High School in Highland Park. The students are interning at Eastern Group Publications as part of the school’s “Work Educational Experience Project.”


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