Hispanic Heritage Month: Profiling Felix Fraga
HOUSTON – Felix Fraga is a product of Houston's Second Ward and through the years his name and face have become synonymous with the neighborhood in Houston's East End.
Born in October of 1929, Fraga attended Rusk Elementary, Marshall Junior High and Jeff Davis High School before entering the University of Houston, where he played Cougar baseball. Having already worked at his local community center as a teen, Fraga chose to pursue his Masters degree in Social Work, a move that would shape the rest of his life.
In 1946, Fraga began working at the Rusk Settlement, which eventually became the Kirkland-Ripley Community Center.
He has since worked continuously for Neighborhood Centers, including serving as Center Manager of Ripley House Community Center from 1970 to 1990, and his current position as Vice President of External Relations for Neighborhood Centers Inc.
Following years of community service, local politics called.
"I never thought I was going to get into elected office by working at neighborhood centers or through social work," Fraga said. "People got me involved in telling me to run for the school board, and I got elected to that. And then, they said there's going to be an opening on the city council, you ought to run for that, and I did and I got elected!"
Fraga served as a HISD board member from 1990 to 1994 and as District H representative on Houston City Council from 1994 – 1999.
Fraga has been honored for his community service throughout his illustrious career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Metro Salute to Hispanic Families and the Community Service Award by the Mexican American Bar Association, which he shared with two of his brothers, Lupe and Angel Fraga.
In December of 2011, Houston Community College Board of Trustees named the new HCC campus at 301 Drennan Street the Felix Fraga Academic Campus. The new campus, in association with HISD's Leonel Castillo Academic Center, represents the cooperation and teamwork of HCC and HISD for an innovative approach to early college high school and dual credit pursuits for high school students in the Second Ward.
A fitting tribute to Felix Fraga's more than 60 years of service to improving his community's social, economic and physical surroundings.
This Hispanic Heritage Month profile was written, edited and produced by Mario Parks, a senior at Texas Southern University.
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