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Santa Maria High School students recently used the power of cinema to illustrate the importance of achieving a higher education no matter what may appear to stand in the way.

The SMHS Film Festival, which was entitled “Inspiring College Dreams Through Film”, featured flicks such as “McFarland”, “USA Walkout!”, “A better Life”, “Stand and Deliver” and “Spare Parts”.

“Many of our students often doubt their potential and capabilities,’’ said Ricardo Valencia, AVID and Chicano/Latino Studies Teacher. “But I see unlimited possibilities for our students once we inspire them to dream big and go to a university. These films truly motivate.”

AVID sophomores Alfredo Santana and Yolanda De Jesus said the event “encouraged” them to “not give up or think anything is impossible” when it comes to pursuing their dreams.

“I really liked the movie “Walkout!’’ because it was very inspirational,’’ said Junior Lily Huerta. “It made realize that every student has the right to receive a quality education.’’

AVID sophomore Jacky Venegas thanked Youth Making Change and the Fund for Santa Barbara for supporting the festival. Also, a special thanks to teachers Diane Cabrera, Alexander Chakshiri, Trent Udlock, and Suzanne Rocco for the use of their classrooms to show the films, Venegas added.

Mr. Valencia’s AVID Class of 2018 hosted the event.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.