Education award gets Lowe's name
"I only knew what I saw in the movies," she said.
America, it turned out, was not all Wild West and cowboys and Indians. Neither was Ridgefield where she and her husband settled to raise their five children.
Lowe, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury , said adapting to the American way of life had its challenges.
"I can understand how people feel coming here," she said.
Because of her efforts in helping immigrants assimilate life in Danbury, Lowe, 72, will be honored with a college scholarship in her name.
Matos said she initiated the scholarship for two reasons.
She wanted "to open a door that would not otherwise be easily opened" for a deserving Latino high school student in Danbury.
"I want to show them that their future may be greater than their expectations," she said.
Secondly, Matos said she wanted to do something to honor Lowe for promoting education among Danbury Latinos.
Lowe said she became a volunteer teacher after visiting the Hispanic Cultural Center shortly after she arrived in Connecticut.
"I was hooked," she said. "Education is the only way to break down barriers between cultures."
Breaking down those barriers in Danbury's public school system has been an on-going concern for Lowe.
"There are not equal opportunities for all children, still," Lowe charged, partially faulting the public school system, but also putting the blame on the Latino community as well.
"We do not have the role models we need," she said. "And for that we have to be accountable."
Accountability is what prompted Matos to start her newspaper. As a new mother with a young son, Matos said finding Spanish language reading material in Danbury was difficult.
"I couldn't find anything," she said," so I created it."
Matos said naming the scholarship for Lowe was a way to highlight an existing role model.
"Maria-Cinta just keeps on going. Look at her," she said. "She is so admirable and has done so much for the Latino community."
Matos is in the process of choosing a scholarship selection committee as culturally diverse as Danbury. She said she already has Danbury residents representing Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian, Israeli and American cultures. She said she hopes to solicit residents from Guatemala, Mexico and Peru as well.
Danbury attorney Jose Martinez serves on the selection committee. Martinez, who has experience with another scholarship fund, said it was fitting that Lowe be honored.
"I think it is a wonderful idea to honor one of the people who has made such outstanding contributions to the community," he said.
"It is the biggest honor anyone could give me," Lowe said. "To be recognized by your peers is very important."