Xavier Montes honored with Rotary Paul Harris award

November 07, 2007
Santa Paula News

You don’t have to be a member of the Rotary Club to be awarded a prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship, as an area cultural treasure learned at a recent meeting.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesYou don’t have to be a member of the Rotary Club to be awarded a prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship, as an area cultural treasure learned at a recent meeting. Artist, musician and De Colores and Fandango founder Xavier “Big X” Montes was lauded at a recent Rotary meeting, with Past President Joe Jauregui handling the honors.“Xavier has been selected to receive this recognition because the Rotary Club of Santa Paula believes” that Montes’ life “exemplifies the humanitarian and educational objectives of the Rotary Foundation,” said Jauregui. Born and raised in Santa Paula, Montes - a Santa Paula High School graduate - attended the University of California Santa Barbara, where he received a BA in Studio Art and a teaching credential.Jauregui said that a partial list of Montes’ accomplishments include working with Renaissance High School students to “facilitate their growth as artists and human beings,” and assisting students with community art projects including the mural on Chino’s Market. Montes’ also works in the Blanchard Community Library after school tutoring program, serves as chairperson of the Santa Paula Society of the Arts Scholarship Committee, and as a board director of the Santa Paula Art Museum.He also is serves on the Murals of Santa Paula and Latino Arts Networks committees, and was a driving force behind the fundraising program to send a SPHS Honors student to the 2005 Junior Statesman Princeton University Summer School Program. Montes was honored as the 2004 Citizen of the Year, and received the 2004 Latino Town Hall Cultural Arts award.
“Diversity, the idea it takes people of all shapes, sizes and ‘colores’ to make the world the dynamic force it is,” was Montes’ theme for founding the highly successful annual De Colores Art Show & Cultural Festival. Jauregui noted that Montes has also been working on an ongoing project to document the now aging legendary musicians of Santa Paula.Jauregui presented Montes with the Paul Harris Fellowship Medallion, pin and certificate “in appreciation of his tangible efforts towards better understanding and friendly relations between the peoples of the world.”Montes said his goal and joy has always been to “express cultural interests to children and adults” for positive lifelong impact. A BCL tutor for about 15 years, he said, “Kids come in and do their homework, they struggle and I tell them to work their brain to get stronger... I was raised by my Aunt Carmen, she helped me; and I best relate to kids. My purpose and goal” is to have students exceed in school, as, Montes noted, “they are our future.”Paul Harris founded Rotary with three business associates in Chicago in 1905. The Fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation for a $1,000 donation to the humanitarian and educational programs of The Rotary Foundation. Such programs include an array of projects that save and invigorate the lives of people around the world and enhance international friendship and understanding.

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