California Educator

November 2015

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you build a relationship with the parents. And sometimes you have to be a parent, a counselor, and give of yourself 110 percent." Samaniego was thrilled to replace his former coach. White, in fact, insisted upon it as a condi- tion of his retirement, proving that in a town like McFarland anything can happen. Students still face hardships Life in McFarland is not all that different for teenagers today. Many start working in the fields when they turn 16 to help support their families. Most of the town's families are still poor and struggling. But thanks in part to the McFarland runners and the movie, going to college is seen as an attainable goal. After the movie, local churches raised money for scholarships. Diaz, the school counselor, says he "preaches, preaches and preaches" to students about the importance of educa- tion, and uses himself as an example to prove to students that if they work hard, they too can succeed. S o m e t i m e s t h e h i g h s c h o o l s h o w s Mc Fa rl a n d , USA during assemblies. After seeing the movie, students approach Diaz and ask, "Are you that Danny Diaz?" They are amazed to learn there's a famous person right in their very midst, who comes from a background just like them. "What we want people to take away from the movie is if you try your best, you can overcome obstacles," says Diaz. "And champions can come from anywhere, even a little town like McFarland." Costner's Coach picks crops, as did the real White, to understand his runners and get them to practice on time. "Some kids just need a helping hand." — Coach Jim White Photo by Ron Phillips / Disney Enterprises 32 F E A T U R E Azusa Pacific has a reputation for consistently producing innovative and comprehensively prepared educators. Our graduates serve as teachers, counselors, coaches, and administrators throughout Southern California, and are known in their schools and districts as leaders in the field. Choose from more than 45 ways to earn your degree and credential at APU, including a bachelor's degree completion program in liberal studies, and join a 116-year legacy of excellence in education. Programs start throughout the year. Apply today! Earn Your Degree From a University Known for Excellence in Education Azusa Pacific University Graduate Programs School of Education (626) 815-4570 AZUSA HIGH DESERT INLAND EMPIRE LOS ANGELES MURRIETA ORANGE COUNTY SAN DIEGO ONLINE Locations offered: Evelin Farias, M.A.Ed. '12 School Psychologist San Jacinto Unified School District 16183

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