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Victor Palencia is head of winemaking for J and S Crushing near the small community of Mattawa. How he earned the job at the young age of 28 and his journey from the vineyards as a farmworker to becoming one of the most prominent winemakers in Washington.
In 1946, producer Enrique Cerna’s parents left Mexico for a new life in Washington state. Like many Mexican immigrants, they were looking for new opportunities and a better life for their children. Historian Erasmo Gamboa says they were part of the foundation of Washington’s Latino community that has contributed greatly to the state’s history and its economic growth.
The Toppenish School District is now more than 80 percent Latino. Yet, it is defying the nation’s high Latino drop-out problem. How the district and its homegrown Latino Superintendent implemented STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes that have helped to boost the graduation rate to more than 92 percent.
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