In Rosa Maria Marquez’s television production class at Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen, A students are mixed in with D students, seniors with freshmen. The wide range of age and ability might be an impediment in other classrooms, but Marquez says that most of her students “excel tremendously.”

“I try to tap into their creativity and help them find their niche,” she says. “I teach them different areas of television. Maybe some are technically oriented, maybe some write, maybe some are actors.” Marquez’s students, Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans, produce historical narratives, documentaries, and music and poetry videos that often deal with the themes of cultural identity and conflict with society.

“All of these kids have a story that’s important, that should be heard,” says Marquez, who attended Benito Juarez herself. “If we don’t let them express themselves, then we limit our own knowledge.”

Videos al Aire Libre, an outdoor exhibition of her students’ work, will take place Friday at 8 PM at the school, 2150 S. Laflin. A $1 donation is requested. In case of rain the exhibition will be moved inside. A reception precedes the show. Call 534-7030 for more information.

–Shashi Menon

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Steven Arazmus.