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Santa Ana
Unified School District
Dennis Cole, Principal
2000 North Bristol Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706

Phone: 714.972.7800
Fax: 714.972.7899

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Principal's Message

Mendez Parent Organization: Mendez Mustang Supporters

Mr. Dennis Cole                               Posted on August 11, 2014

 As we look forward to an amazing school year, I want to thank you for being a Mendez Mustang Supporter. Instead of doing a school-wide fundraiser, we invite parents and organizations to donate to our education fund. All of these funds go directly to support education at Mendez.

By donating $10 to the Mendez Parent Organization fund, you are directly contributing to the outstanding programs at Mendez. It is these kinds of donations that boost our already outstanding programs, giving even more opportunities for fieldtrips, real-world learning experiences, and cutting-edge technology in the classroom. Some individuals and organizations donated amounts above and beyond the basic level, and we are creating a special web-page and a donors' wall to recognize these Mendez Mustang Champions.

In the 2014-2015 school year, I am so excited to see parents coming along side the school to support the work we do for their children. As always, we cannot teach and learn alone. It takes a community committed to the care of children - one which hopes in the future and creates a strong vision for education. You are those individuals, and I thank you for your generous support.


Dennis Cole, Principal


Mendez Family

Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez
Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez


        GONZALO AND FELICITAS MENDEZ were like so many other Mexican American families living in California in the 1940’s. Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez faced discrimination at all levels of society. After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 ceded California and the Southwest to the United States, Mexican American families saw little hope of achieving equality with their Anglo counterparts. Mr. and Mrs. Mendez were hurt by the discrimination they encountered on a daily basis. But it hurt them even more when they saw their children become victims of this discrimination. After one hundred years of California’s Mexican American children being relegated to an inferior education, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez decided to do something about it.
       Gonzalo was a tenant farmer living in the Westminster area of Southern California. Mendez and his wife, Felicitas, decided that neither they nor their children were going to be treated as second class citizens. In early 1945, they organized a group of parents to take on the Orange County School and stop its practice of keeping Mexican American children segregated from Anglo children. While Anglo children attended academically oriented classes in modern buildings using new books, Mexican American children attend vocationally oriented classes in old buildings using inferior books.

        Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez knew that a legal fight against awell entrenched segregationist educational system was going to be tough. This did not stop them. A civil rights attorney was hired andthe lawsuit was filed in the federal courts in Los Angeles. The lawsuit named five Mexican American families, including the Mendez family as plaintiffs.The lawsuit, entitled Mendez V. Westminster, asked the court to issue an injunction ordering the integration of the school district.The lawsuit argued that segregation based on national origin violated the United States Constitution. The case was won but the district appealed. On April 14, 1947, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Mexican American families.

        Eight years after Mendez V. Westminster, the then future Justice of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall, argued the famous case of Brown V. Board of Education. The Brown case outlawed the “separate but equal” education throughout the United States. In arguing his case, Marshall relied on Mendez V. Westminster as legal precedent.

        Because of their bravery and dedication, Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez opened the door for a better education not only for children in California, but for children throughout the United States. Their efforts have been recently recognized and honored by groups like the Los Angeles Mexican American Bar Association.

        On December 3, 1997, the Santa Ana School Board, the same school district that once practiced segregation, dedicated the Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School. Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School is a school of choice. All students have the opportunity to receive a quality and enriched curriculum, regardless of the language they speak or the color of their skin.
For More information check the School Pride section under Our School.

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