Skip to main content Skip to main content

Legacy of Escuela Tlatelolco lives on at MSU Denver

Board of shuttered school founded by Chicano activist Corky Gonzales endows scholarship for Roadrunners.

By Allyssa Joseph

July 6, 2020

Escuela Tlatelolco studentsEscuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios was a school born of the Crusade for Justice, a part of the Chicano movement in Denver in the 1960s. Founded by activist Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Escuela Tlatelolco was the educational product of the cultural movement, and though the school closed its doors in 2017, its mission will continue at Metropolitan State University of Denver in the form of scholarships.

After thoughtful deliberation and outreach to local organizations, the Escuela Tlatelolco Board of Trustees selected MSU Denver to continue the legacy of the K-12 dual-language alternative school, using the proceeds from the sale of the building that held the school for 46 years. A significant gift from Escuela Tlatelolco’s board will endow the Corky and Geraldine Gonzales Spirit of Tlatelolco Scholarship at MSU Denver.

“Since its inception, Escuela Tlatelolco was an institution that embraced and honored community, truly meeting students and families where they are,” said Camila Lara, chair of the Escuela Tlatelolco Board of Trustees. “MSU Denver had been a longstanding partner. Their work and the students they serve have much in common with the spirit of Tlatelolco.

Lara praised MSU Denver for its intentionality in supporting undocumented students; the University educates more Dreamers than any other college or university in Colorado.

“It’s fitting to continue the legacy and infuse the mission of Escuela Tlatelolco through scholarship and social justice, ensuring (that) our youth have the tools, skill and spirit to help establish our country’s culture, influence our country’s values and define our country’s justice,” said Lara, who graduated from Escuela Tlatelolco and MSU Denver.

Escuela Tlatelolco’s mission was to liberate the mind, heart and spirit of students through the knowledge of their cultural expression, moral courage and honorable behavior; to empower students to think critically and creatively, challenging them to embrace their own history, acknowledge and embrace their self-worth and develop a commitment to social justice; and to reinforce education as knowledge learned and shared.

Yolanda Ortega, an Escuela Tlatelolco board member and former MSU Denver administrator, said it was important that the school’s principles and values aligned with the University’s.

“Speaking from my own experience with MSU Denver, its mission was always to provide an affordable education, accessible to all who wanted to pursue higher ed, and that we would reduce and eliminate the barriers that a lot of communities faced,” she said. “It continues to have that mission, that it is affordable yet rigorous in terms of earning a degree.”

In its first year, the scholarship will support a cohort of up to 10 students attending MSU Denver in the fall. The scholarship gives preference to students who attended Escuela Tlatelolco, Latinx students, DACA or ASSET students and first-generation college students.

Please note that the scholarship application deadline is closed at this time and the first cohort has been selected for academic year 2020-21. If you have questions or know someone who wants to apply for the Corky and Geraldine Gonzales Spirit of Tlatelolco Scholarship in December 2020, please contact Yvonne Smith, Scholarship and Fund manager, at

Topics: Academics, Advancement, Community, Denver, Funding, Hispanic Serving Institution, Student Success

Edit this page