Martin – Former Board Member • FCE Parent • Donor
Silvia – FCE Parent • Donor
The Lamarque family has been involved with FCE since 2005, when their eldest daughter–Yoali–was in high school and heard about it from a friend. Yoali was accepted into FCE’s program and ended up attending UC Santa Cruz with FCE’s guidance and help. By the time Yoali had graduated from college, her younger brother Alan had joined FCE and her father Martín was a soon-to-be board member.
As a board member, Martín Lamarque witnessed and participated in some crucial FCE decisions, such as the creation of STEAM. This component of the program ensures that many students from East Palo Alto are ready to stay academically competitive on their way to higher education. For Martín, perhaps the greatest reward of serving on the board was the opportunity to work alongside FCE’s brilliant and dedicated team.
Martín and his wife Silvia are from Mexico and stopped attending organized school after 9th grade. Though they wanted their children to attend college, they “didn’t know how higher ed worked and how much it meant”. For Martín, “Having a program take [us] by the hand like FCE made all the difference”.
The Lamarques’ gratitude towards FCE can be seen (and tasted) at the legendary annual FCE Gala. At one Gala many years ago, Silvia–who is a master chef–decided to auction homemade tamales and an accompanying tamale-making class. The tamale donation was a hit.The Lamarques have since pivoted to auctioning enchilada-making classes and homemade enchiladas, as those are even more instantly gratifying. “FCE did so much for our family, and we pay them back in food.”
FCE doesn’t have to worry about their tamale/enchilada masters leaving them any time soon. The Lamarques are still involved as donors, and, though Yoali graduated many years ago and Alan left for the University of Redlands, younger sibling Sara Emilia joined the program in 2019 as a 9th grader and Yoali volunteers as an alumni coordinator. “We think that what sets FCE apart from other organizations is that it takes the whole family along on an exciting adventure.”