Teachers use Cesar Chavez movie to educate students on history

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

The biopic of Cesar Chavez is also helping bring history to life as educators use the film to teach an important lesson on social justice.

The film brought a bus load of excitement as students from as far away as Tulare came down to experience everything Cesar Chavez.

There are only a few words teens from mission oak high school are using to describe the new film about Cesar Chavez.

“Amazing,” said 18-year-old Alfonso Virueta.

“Unforgettable,” said 17-year-old Brandon Puente.

“Moving,” said 17-year-old Nefy Castro.

And it’s the reaction teachers hoped for as they take their studies from the classroom into the movie theater.

"We study a unique perspective of American history and one of the major units is studying about Cesar Chavez," said Michaelpaul Mendoza, who teaches Culture History of the United States at Mission Oak High School in Tulare, California.

Students read a biography on the civil rights leader and spent the last few weeks watching a number of documentaries based on his life and accomplishments as Chavez helped create the United Farm Workers Union.

"He's a hero because he helped get better conditions in the fields, he helped get better wages and I think he has made a difference in our community," said Virueta.

"It's different for me because I wasn't actually from that generation great knowing that it’s more like there now because before it was just story that people tell and now it’s like, it brings you into it, like you're almost part of it," said Puente.

Most students know of Chavez because of the stories they heard growing up by their grandparents and parents.

"It's inspirational. I'm Mexican and my parents they work in the fields, too. So, it homes, too because you know if that was then and if things we're still going the same way then you know my parents would be making below minimum wage and I wouldn't of been able to get an education probably and its inspirational," said Castro.

In addition to the movie, the class also visited the Cesar Chavez National Monument where they had the chance to talk with Chavez’s family and experience the movement first hand.

"It’s not easy to overcome things like that you know. The growers were actually someone that is very huge back in that time so I thought it was really inspiring that they actually won the battle," said 18-year-old Bryan Gutierrez.

Cesar Chavez is not only playing here, but also at regal cinemas at the market place.

Some screenings are even dubbed in Spanish.

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Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc

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