The Camayd Scholarship was established to honor Yoel Camayd-Freixas (1948-2011) for his skill and tenancy in promoting Hispanic community advancement and to foster similar achievements by Muniz graduates. The scholarship helps fund items that are not typically part of a scholarship package, but may prevent students from taking advantage scholarships. Some examples are books and laptops.
Dr. Camayd-Freixas came to the US in 1962, at the age of twelve, through Operation Pedro Pan, a Cuban kinder transport sponsored by the US State Department and Catholic Charities. It brought over 14,000 unaccompanied children of various religious denominations to the US. Their schools had been closed, and clergy expelled from the country, in preparation for the establishment of schools run by Cuba’s new Marxist Leninist government. Margarita Muniz, for whom Muniz academy is named, was also an Operation Pedro Pan child.
After several years of housing instability, he settled in Puerto Rico where he attended Universidad Mundial at night while working construction by day. Upon graduating, he was offered a scholarship from Northeastern University for a Master’s degree and later earned a PhD from Boston College. His work focused on Hispanics in the US (demographics, immigration, labor, education and business development).
Dr. Camayd-Freixas is perhaps best remembered for leading the creation of the Fifth Suffolk voting district (Roxbury/North Dorchester). It was the first district where it could be demographically feasible for a Hispanic to be elected. Nelson Merced, former Executive Director of Alianza Hispana, was elected Massachusetts’ first Hispanic state representative in 1989. Dr. Camayd-Freixas also lead the establishment of the Massachusetts Commission on Hispanic Affairs (1984). Among its accomplishments was the allocation of seed funding for UMass Boston’s Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy (1989). In 1983 He implemented the first US Search Conference (at that time, an innovative participatory community planning process) that facilitated the expression of resident’s shared experiences and desires for their neighborhood. It informed the work of Nuestra Communidad Development Corporation and fostered the establishment of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. Dr. Camayd-Freixas’ civic work also included: Trustee of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Laborers International Union National Worker Training Program, and PTA President of Coral Way Elementary School, the oldest, public, dual language school in the US.
He was a Professor of Educational research methods at Florida International University, an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Professor at the School of Community Development at Southern New Hampshire University where he established The Applied Research Center and their Doctoral Program in Community Development.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Camayd had established the Boston Public Schools’ Office of Research and Evaluation which became a national model for monitoring schools’ educational quality. His books, papers, and other materials are archived at Northeastern University’s Snell Library, the University of Massachusetts Boston Healey Library and Casa de las Americas, Havana, Cuba.
Donations to the Scholarship Fund are fully tax-deductible.
You may send additional inquiries to Cecilia Soriano, Director of Development
Muñiz Academy, 20 Child Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 or email her to firstname.lastname@example.org