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Mariza Rivas

Description:  Introduction music with Mariza, speaking in front of class at Watsonville Community Hospital - I'm a registered nurse here a Watsonville Community Hospital and mí amor por la medicina… Video interview begin with Mariza sitting in front of art pieces at the adult school. An old photo is shown of her as a child in Mexico on a crowded street. There is also a photo of Mariza and her mother.

Mariza:  I was born in Sinaloa, Mexico which is the northern part of Mexico and up to, let's say, my eighth birthday, I was a very happy child with both my parents. But we have the misfortune that my parents got divorced. In my house, my mom used to make the distinction, there was no boys or girls, we were all equal and she taught us all the same. We all cooked. We all washed. We all did everything to help her along. She's 87 years old and she's still very strong woman. And she's still taking care of people. People come to her as a curandera and she still tells them what herbs to get. And because of her love of that kind of medicine, I have that love for the medicine that I went in to and I try to combine both.

Description: Husband, Antonio is shown walking up the step to the City Hall in Watsonville. He wears a dark suit and sunglasses. Video interview with Mariza continues.

Narrator:  Then she met Antonio and her life took the first of many turns.

Description: Several wedding pictures from Mariza and Antonio's wedding are shown. She is wearing the traditional white gown and veil. He is wearing and tuxedo and white dinner jacket.

Mariza:  He was in college when I met him. He was a student at San Diego State University. He encouraged me to go to school and I married Antonio and came to the United States when I was 19 years old, not knowing any word of English. And it was very difficult coming to a new country with a new culture, new language. It was extremely frightful for me.  One of my instructors in adult education was Ann-Veronica and she was a great role model for me (meeting and hugging, happily in the hallway of the adult school).

Description: Mariza and Ann-Veronica walk down the hallway at the adult school together, chatting. A photo of Mariza as a young woman in class is shown. Additional photos of Mariza standing with her class in adult school, graduating from nursing school, and the entrance to Watsonville Community Hospital are shown. Ann-Veronica continues to speak proudly of all the classes that Mariza has taken and will continue to take. She has short light brown hair and wears eyeglasses.

Ann-Veronica Coyle, Instructor:  But Mariza seems to have had an extra dose of determination and she would never, ever give up. She kept trying and trying and learning and learning and learning very, very quickly. She had set goals for herself and it wasn't just a goal, it was goal upon goal upon goal upon goal.  And yet there were many, many intermediate goals and Mariza achieved each goal, one at a time. And even after she became a nurse and was practicing, Mariza has continued to set goals for herself. She wants to become certified to teach CPR in Spanish and is taking courses to do that. She wants to improve her skills on the computer, so at adult school here, she's taking computer classes. It never stops. It never stops for Mariza. She continues to set and achieve her goals.

Description: Mariza, speaking before a nursing class: Time management is one of the best skills that you can have as a nurse. So being a mother, being a wife, and being a student, taught me those time management skills that are so necessary.

Description: The video interview continues. She is shown talking with her husband.

Mariza: And it was very difficult. There were days when I thought, you know, I don't think I'm gonna be able to make it, but then there was a voice behind me saying, "You can do it, you can do it, because you have made this goal."  And I used to say, "Antonio, you know I'm getting too old for this." And he would say,"Mariza, you're getting old anyway, so why not continue to study?"

Description: Mariza, greeting students: Keep on going, okay. Don't give up. Sigan adelánte.

Description: Bob Harper speaks about Mariza in front of the school bulletin board. He has graying hair and beard and wears eyeglasses.

Bob Harper, Director:  Mariza is a wonderful example of what adult education… I think one of the things that she said was that adult school was a refuge for her from all of the demands of her life. And the truth is that a story like Mariza's, is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of stories that happen every year. All of our students have great successes.

Description: Antonio sits in his office and speaks proudly about his wife's accomplishments. She enters the office, smiling, and they kiss.

Antonio Rivas, husband, Mayor of Watsonville:  And I think a lot of the Latinas and Latinos can be able to follow her example. That even though you come from a very poor and humble family, you can still do it as long as you're willing to do it. And she's an example of that and I love her for that because we support each other to help our communities here in Watsonville.

Description: Mariza is speaking in front of a nursing class.

Mariza: The process of learning is an ongoing thing, you know, and I know that adult ed is always open, has the doors open for anybody who wants to learn and I know, I'm sure that I will come back again because that's me. I mean, I don't ever want to stop learning.