Located in the southeastern corner of California in the border town of Calexico, Calexico High School draws students from its sister city, Mexicali, among other places. Students who need extra help with the language go to particular courses depending on their skill level.
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“We have solar energy, we have a tank-less water heater,” said Rodiles. “We also have artificial grass so we don’t waste water.” At the outset of his energy-efficient venture, Rodiles said capital was the greatest challenge. However, he said returns on his investments were seen early on.
“Because their families are not wanting them to take that step of independence,” Shavers said. She explained that women of the border face special issues that people elsewhere wouldn’t such as health issues and mainly trying to find their identity as Mexican-Americans. “While their traditions are Mexican and they have a lot of language and culture, ethnic foods, and music and things, they are really more American than they are Mexican because their expectations, their rights as women are based heavily on what they live in the United States,” she said. Shavers said young women of Hispanic descent aren’t driven to succeed. They don’t get as much encouragement from their families to go off to college and become successful.