CTN will host a Virtual Fall Gala on October 21st from 6-7 pm. The gala will begin with a welcome from CTN CEO, Dr. Chavez followed by words from Dr. Robert Garza, President of Palo Alto College. CTN will share videos from alumni and faculty and music will be provided by Juan and Armando Tejeda.  A group of poets will share their work including Texas Poet Laureate 2020, Emmy Pérez, Fernando Flores and Sophia Farias.

Perez has lived in the Texas borderlands for 21 years, the first six in El Paso where she has family roots before she moved to McAllen where she currently lives. She is the author of the poetry collections With the River on Our Face (University of Arizona Press) and Solstice (Swan Scythe Press). A volume of her New and Selected poems is forthcoming from TCU Press.
Pérez is the recipient of a 2020 Poets Laureate Fellowship with the Academy of American Poets. In previous years, she's been the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, CantoMundo, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Over the years, she has served as a creative writing workshop facilitator in community-based programs, including Catch the Next, and adult and juvenile detention centers. She is currently a full professor of creative writing and teaches in the MFA and undergraduate creative writing programs at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). She also serves as Associate Director of the Center for Mexican American Studies (B3 Institute) and is an affiliate faculty member of the Mexican American Studies program. She is also serving as the 2021 Consulting Artist-in-Residence with UT San Antonio's Just Futures grant in collaboration with Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.  (

Fernando Esteban Flores is a native son of Texas and resides in San Antonio. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He has taught writing at various San Antonio secondary schools.  In 2002 and 2008, he received the ExCEL award for excellence in teaching from KENS 5-TV and SACU (San Antonio Credit Union). In 2007, he was selected as South San Antonio ISD’s 2008 Teacher of the Year and in 2008, he was chosen as one of twenty distinguished educators from Bexar County by Trinity University’s Prize Committee.

His poems have appeared in a number of publications including the Texas Observer, SA Express-News, RiverSedge, Houston Poetry Fest Anthology, Written with a Spoon: A Poet’s Cookbook (an anthology of poetry and recipes by Sherman-Asher Press), “Is This Forever or What?” (Green Willow Books, Naomi Nye, editor). His current poetry book is Ragged Borders, Red Accordion Blues, and BloodSongs available from Hijo Del Sol Publishing.

Flores serves as poetry editor for CTN’s Journal of Ideas and Pedagogy and is a facilitator/mentor for the company Voces Cosmicas, a group of local poets interested in writing, publishing and performing their work.

Sophia Concepcion Farias is a second-year student at San Antonio College (SAC) and is currently on trek to receive her Associate of Arts Degree in English. When she is not studying, she can be found curled over a guitar or a piano, “playing tourist” with her friends, and watching unique and exciting films. Sophia started her affiliation with Catch the Next while attending SAC for her first year in college in 2020 and was their Poet Laureate for the end-of-year Spring Gala. She is a firm believer in spiritual healing and says, “truth is unveiled through story-telling, and if a story is good, like really fantastic, then you might be able to help heal others.” And that’s exactly what she hopes to do every time she touches pen to paper.



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