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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SA Assoc. of Hispanic Journalists honor Maria Elena Torralva

Maria Elena Torralvo with husband Judge Al Alonso (photo)

San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists will host its 11th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala on Thursday, July 23, at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel, 420 Market St. A reception and silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. followed by a dinner and gala at 7 p.m.

Over the last few years, the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists has recognized people in the community who broke down barriers in journalism. This year, the SAAHJ will honor a woman who led a remarkable career from school teacher to television and newspaper executive with the Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism.

San Antonians first met Maria Elena Torralva in 1975 as host of public service programs on KWEX-TV and later KMOL-TV. She rose to be a television executive and later a Hearst newspaper executive. SAAHJ also will honor a group of San Antonians who as high school students in 1968 led a walkout that spurred a school finance equity fight that reached the U.S. Supreme Court with the SAAHJ Community Service Award.

The students in that early political fight helped produce a generation of activists, educators, scholars and professionals, many of whom remain in our community.Another highlight of the evening will be the presentation of SAAHJ's annual college scholarships to deserving journalism students.

"Through the years, we've identified a strong group of students who have gone on to do great things in journalism and will continue that tradition this year," said Dino Chiecchi, president of the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists.

The SAAHJ gala benefits the SAAHJ Foundation, established to help encourage more diversity in newsrooms. Scholarship recipients will become the journalists, public relations professionals and advertising experts of tomorrow. For nearly a decade, the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists has been awarding scholarships to Bexar County residents majoring in journalism or communication.

Over that time, an estimated $100,000 in scholarship money has been distributed to promising students looking to further their education. Established in 1986, SAAHJ is comprised of local journalists, public relations professionals and students interested in communications or the public relations industry.

For more information on the SAAHJ Gala call Nora Lopez at (210) 250-3219.

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