‘McFarland USA’ star visits

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Ramiro Ramirez stars as a former cross-country star in “McFarland, USA,” screening 10-11:30 a.m., noon- 1:30 p.m. and 2-2:30 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Fiesta Room of Loftin. Courtesy

Movie screening celebrates the ‘Pride and Promise’ Hispanic Heritage Month theme.

By E. David Guel


As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, this college will screen sports drama “McFarland, USA” 10-11:30 a.m., noon-1:30 p.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Fiesta Room of Loftin Student Center.

Ramiro Rodriguez, who stars as former cross country star and McFarland High School counselor Danny Diaz, will share his story and experience auditioning and acting in the film 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 15 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Based on a 1987 true story, the film follows a group of Hispanic-American high school boys in farming town McFarland, Calif., who start a cross country team and overcome the odds with help from newly hired coach Jim White, played by Kevin Costner.

English Instructor Mariano Aguilar said he and English Professor Patricia Portales, chair of Hispanic Heritage Month, chose the movie because the positive message inspired them and they thought it would be perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month.

The month’s “Pride and Promise” theme refers to pride in the Latino community and promising stars like Rodriguez.

To spread the film’s message, Aguilar and Portales invited high school drama and cross-country students from Jefferson, Edison, Fox Tech and Lanier as well as the general community to view the screening.

“We want them to see what they are ultimately working for … the end results of their efforts,” Aguilar said.

Portales chose to invite Rodriguez to speak because of his ties to the McFarland community, a primarily Hispanic demographic.

“We really like that he’s a resident of McFarland because it’s a farmworker community,” Portales said. “We didn’t want someone who was just an actor.”

Rodriguez, a 20-year-old McFarland native and nonprofessional actor, recalled a seamless transition playing Diaz, who was Rodriguez’s counselor when he attended the school.

“It was a fun experience because I kind of knew him already,” Rodriguez said in a Sept. 22 phone interview.

A 2013 McFarland graduate, Rodriguez said he gave the role his all, and Diaz seemed satisfied.

“He liked the morals of his character, and he was happy how he got portrayed.”

Rodriguez said he hopes students at this college take the spirit of the film and use it to push them toward their goals.

“Learn to not give up; everything is reachable,” said Rodriguez, who still lives in his hometown.

“This is for the kids who think that they can’t do it, but they can,” Rodriguez said.

“They just need a little guidance; they need to get pushed a little bit. You just have to find the right way and keep going … because you’re the only one that’s stopping yourself.”


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