Two Veterans Upward Bound staff members serve community in elected positions

December 7, 2021 (Volume 45, Number 7)
Article by Michele Coffill

Two Veterans Upward Bound staff members provide service to not only student veterans but to the city of Holland and its public school district through elected positions.

Belinda Coronado, veteran educator liaison, won a seat November 2 representing Holland's third ward by a vote of 361-215. It's the first time Coronado has run for public office.

Tim Marroquin, director of Veterans Upward Bound, has served on the Board of Education for Holland Public Schools for three years, initially appointed to fill someone's vacated term then elected last year for his own six-year term.

Coronado said she has long been civically engaged, volunteering in Holland schools and on various city committees. She was approached last spring by Raul Garcia, who held the third ward council seat and decided not to seek re-election.

"It happened very organically," Coronado said. "I found a mentor who helped me organize and run a campaign and I went door-to-door in my ward. I found a lot of support out there; it was really a grassroots effort."

Marroquin, too, said he has always been active within the school district. "This is the same district I graduated from, my wife teaches here and my kids have either graduated or are still in Holland Public Schools," he said.

He said the first year as a trustee was a learning experience. "There was a lot of time spent learning systems and processes and understanding the formality of being on the board," he said.

School board trustees continue to support the district's COVID-19 policies and procedures. Marroquin said other challenges for HPS are similar to what districts across the country are facing: staffing issues, assisting students through a learning loss and supporting the mental health of students and staff members.

Coronado, who earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies with an emphasis on civic engagement from Grand Valley, said she would like to see Holland focus more on sustainability and social issues like affordable housing and food security.

Veterans Upward Bound is a federal TRIO program that provides free academic support services to low-income and/or first-generation students who want to complete degree programs.

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This article was last edited on December 6, 2021 at 10:15 a.m.

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