Remembering 9/11 | The Story of the Survivor Tree

Today on the anniversary of September 11 we honor the memory and service of all men and women who lost their lives and the families affected by this event.  We also honor the men and women and families who protect our freedom.

I visited the memorial a couple years ago and shared a Virtual Tour of the 9/11 Memorial in New York.  Whenever I think about 9/11 I remember my visit to the memorial and the survivor tree.  The survivor tree left such a lasting impression on me because it withstood the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The calleary pear tree was found among the rubble of the WTC and was badly burned.


911 survivor tree


During the attacks the WTC collapsed and fell on the tree. The remaining tree trunk was charred, but still had a live branch. The tree was salvaged and nursed back to life at the NYC Parks and Recreation and returned to the 911 memorial site in time for the grand opening.  It was named the Survivor Tree because of the tree’s willingness to stay alive despite being crushed under tons of debris from the WTC attacks.

The survivor tree is a symbol of strength and the spirit of resilience, healing, survival and rebirth . The tree is a fighter and thriving today at the 9/11 Memorial site.


The Story Of The Survivor Tree

Pursuing A Career in Information Technology

The most important quality needed in pursuing a career in technology is passion. You need to have passion for information, how technology works within an organization, and how you can use information and technology in the real world. You also need to have enthusiasm for learning, attention to detail and a desire to use your technical and analytical skills to help you grow in your career.


There are several Information Technology (IT) careers that can be pursued with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, including Engineer, Database Administrator, Network Engineer, and Security Engineer. There are also several paths to obtaining skills in IT fields, including industry certifications, college certificate programs, or degree programs: all of which can be completed on college campuses or online.


Career Opportunities


IT Engineer

An IT Engineer designs, installs, and manages business critical systems to ensure the operation of computer systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The IT Engineer maintains existing systems, monitors system performance, designs system architecture, and implements infrastructure upgrades to ensure optimal business operation. An IT Engineer also uses programming skills to automate processes and procedures in large-scale environments.


IT Database Administrator

A database is a tool for collecting and storing large amounts of data and can be accessed securely in various ways. A database administrator (DBA) is an IT professional who is responsible for installing, configuring, and maintaining the security of databases in an organization. They also maintain database security, implement upgrades, manage performance, and plan for capacity. The amount of data maintained in a database can be as small as several hundred gigabytes to as large as a petabyte of storage.


IT Network Engineer

An IT Network Engineer designs, installs, and manages switches, routers, and networks to ensure system connectivity. The Network Engineer also maintains existing networks, monitors network traffic performance, and implements infrastructure upgrades to ensure optimal business operation.


IT Security Engineer

Businesses need technology professionals to help protect company assets as well as run secure networks in today’s global business environment. An IT Security Engineer specializes in protecting the organization from security vulnerabilities by designing, installing, and managing secure systems. This protects the business from hackers, security breaches, viruses, and phishing. As an IT Security Engineer you protect company assets and manage compliance with security protocols. It is one of the most important roles in an organization with job growth potential.

Information technology professionals work closely with all departments within an organization. They understand operations, processes, and procedures within all departments and can effectively communicate problems and resolutions. In small to medium-size organizations, an IT professional may take on multiple roles. In larger corporations, an IT professional may have a more focused role in order to manage larger scale systems more effectively.


Paths to Obtaining Bachelor of Science in Information Technology


The next step in pursuing your career is deciding what path you would like to take to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. As a professional working full-time you have several options, including attending on-campus classes, studying online, or both. Learning IT online makes a lot of sense because you have the opportunity to pursue your career goals and work full-time. While working full-time, you also have the ability to move within an organization to other departments as your education and passion for the job grows.

Whether you are working for a small software development business, a medium-sized healthcare organization, or in a large telecommunications corporation, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology can prepare you for a rewarding job and successful career!


I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog and as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


For more information about on-time completion rates, the median debt incurred by students who completed this program and other important information, please visit,


Advance Your Career with STEM Education

My love of technology has inspired a lifetime career in STEM. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. To be successful in a career in STEM you need to have a desire to work in these fields. One of the myths about a career in STEM is that you need to be an engineer, a nerd or a geek. STEM professionals come from all walks of life. It is our passion for the work we do that keeps us interested in learning and growing in STEM careers.



A successful career in STEM requires teamwork and analytical skills. STEM graduates have many different job titles such as a Project Manager, Systems Analyst, Systems Architect, IT Manager, IT Support Manager, IT Trainers as well as Accounting and HR positions. STEM education provides long-term careers that offer opportunities for innovation and job growth

Regardless of the STEM major you choose, you need to consider your personal interests and the skills needed to succeed in a career path in STEM. There are several questions you need to ask yourself, specifically: What are your personal interests? Do technology trends excite you? Do you have analytical skills? Are you a critical thinker? Do you enjoy science or engineering? Do numbers appeal to you? Are you passionate about technology trends? Are you interested in taking a role in innovating future technology trends in your community? The answers to these questions will help you identify your personal interests, abilities and work values in order to know the potential STEM jobs you might want to explore. Most importantly, you need to expose yourself to STEM subjects by participating in programs that prepare you for a career in innovation

STEM careers are vital to the growth of the global economy and to helping maintain an innovative future. For Latinos to succeed in STEM they need a degree in Information Technology or another STEM field and several essential skills. These include excellent communication skills, decision-making skills, critical thinking skills, analytical skills and technical skills. You need these skills because you need to be able to work well in a team, write detailed reports with your findings and recommendations and analyze data. You also need to provide solutions to problems. If you are bilingual in English and Spanish, this skill set may also work to your advantage when seeking career opportunities.

As Latinos, it’s important for us to help shape the future of innovation. Even if you currently have a career, you can still pursue your passion through an education in STEM. I would like to see more Latinos developing innovative applications, playing a role in making existing tech products better and leading large technology projects. The STEM fields are adding jobs every day and I want to see more Latinos preparing themselves to enter these fields with confidence. A career in STEM will enable you to pursue a range of interests that make a difference in innovation and enable you to live a well-balanced life.

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Celebrate Art With Minted Artwork

I get inspired by art.  It can brighten up the space in your home, bring inspiration to a dull office space and enrich your life.  You can celebrate art with Minted Artwork, a marketplace for independent artists, designers and photographers from all over the world to showcase their work.  Artists submit their creative work and the top pieces are showcased in an online store.

Minted Artwork is a great place to support and celebrate the works of talented artists.  My favorite Minted artwork pieces are landscapes of nature and artwork with vibrant and bold colors.

If you are an art lover stop by Minted Artwork.  Once you visit the site you will get captivated by the artist, their creative work and the story behind each piece.   It’s hard not to just pause for a couple minutes to appreciate, enjoy the art and purchase your favorite pieces for yourself or for someone you love.  If you are an artist make sure to check out Minted Artwork Challenges to submit your original creative work so you can celebrate you.

Here are my favorite pieces:

Celebrate Art With Minted Artwork

Organism No4 by VERY MARTA – Wisconsin

About the Artwork: Exploration of flow and organisms involves shapes, bleeds and microscopic happenings in a spontaneous exploration of its relationship to the bigger, faster world we’re constantly involved in. We all are entangled in fast living, fast motion and fast broad emotions, yet there is a world within us and outside of us, as fast as ours, that is so complex yet so simple it’s terrifyingly beautiful.

Celebrate Art With Minted Artwork

 Autumn Explosion by Stacy Kron – Minnesota

This photograph is the view outside the artists kitchen window during autumn. The sunbeams stream through her favorite birch tree in a way that makes her heart skip a beat. It conveys a sense of warmth that only the sparkling golden sunshine can bring.

Celebrate Art With Minted Artwork

Shoot The Pier by Christian Fior – Los Angeles, California

About the Artwork: Christian Fior has always been in love with piers. Something so intriguing to him. This was taken at the Manhattan Beach Pier in Manhattan Beach, CA. It was a very foggy morning and the fog had just rolled out when he snapped this picture. The colors were so flat and clean.

Celebrate Art With Minted Artwork Soaring Sequoias by Matthew Sampson – San Diego, California

About the Artwork: The Sequoia Trees in many of California’s National Parks are truly breathtaking. During his first visit to Sequoia National Forest, he was amazed by these giant trees. In order to realize their true size, you really need to experience them in person. However, this perspective gives some insight into their mammoth size. Here, he captured these trees towering over him and reaching the bright sky.


I am having a lot of fun celebrating the artwork and learning about the talented artists of today.    Minted Artwork is a great place to get to connect with artists and celebrate their work.  The styles and backgrounds of the artists vary, but the love and passion to create memorable designers is evident in their work.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Minted.  However, all opinions are my own.

5 Things To Love About Oral-B SmartSeries 5000

Within the next year couple of years we’ll start seeing technology integration in many of your day to day household products.  I’m excited to learn that Oral B is leading the way in emerging technologies by innovating their products with mobile devices and mobile apps.  The device makes a great gift for dads, grads and special occasions.


Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 is very  innovative, includes SMARTSeries features that works with bluetooth technology and provides daily tips for healthier oral care.



5 Things We Love About Oral-B SmartSeries 5000


SMARTSeries Technology

Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 comes with bluetooth technology that connects and syncs up with your mobile phone using the Oral-B app.  With the Oral-B app you can customize and personalize your brushing routines and daily monitoring techniques according to your brushing habits with a wireless interactive display.  The device is also compatible with other Oral-B brush heads including the floss action, pro white, sensitive gum care and deep sweep.  The SmartGuide batteries lasts 12 hours.

Easy Install and Cleanup

Oral-B toothbrush is easy to install and clean.   You can unbox and connect the device without the instruction manual within 5 minutes.  After downloading the app, the app will guide you through the installation to connect your Oral-B SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity to the app.

Oral-B App

Oral-B toothbrush works with your mobile phone and requires bluetooth technology to download the Oral-B app and connect to your phone..  You can download the Oral-B app for free on iTunes or Google Play.  After installing the Oral-B app you can also monitor  your weekly and monthly brushing habits.   The Oral-B App has a custom care menu, statistics, achievements, oral care tips, shop and notifications.

This is my favorite feature about the Oral-B SmartSeries 5000. Especially the oral care tips, notifications and shop.   I turned on the notifications to keep me in the loop when I need to buy replacement toothbrush heads, to get motivated when I see that I am following healthy dental care or to purchase electronic toothbrushes for my family.  I also like that I can purchase the products on the shop and get tips on dental care as well.


Did you know that the average person only brushes 45 to 70 seconds a day?  The recommended amount of time for brushing is 2 minutes.   The Oral-B app also provides a timer with standard timing settings, custom timer setting and a daily reminders for flossing, tongue cleaning and rinsing.   The standard time is set to 2 minutes, the recommended time for the average person.  When you brush too hard the app gives you a visual warning encouraging you to decrease pressure to protect your gums. .

Once you finish your daily routine a smiling face greets you to recognize you for completing your dental care tasks for the day. It sends a friendly reminder when it’s “time to freshen up” in the afternoon.  It’s pretty cool!

Oral Care Tips

The Oral-B app also provides Oral Care tips and a professional setting guide.  In addition to providing dental brushing tips the app provides information on preventing tooth decay, enamel protection, flossing, fresh breath, fun facts, general oral care, teeth protection and more.

You can also discuss a custom dental program with your dentist and include extra routines you and your dentist create in the professional setting guide.

It was a huge learning experience for me and my family to learn how easy it is to maintain good oral health by brushing two times a day with Oral-B 5000 SmartSeries and using the Oral-B app. My husband and I love it because it’s like having a personal dental coach that motivates you, provides a timer and guides you to a better brush experience.


How To Get Your Own Oral-B SmartSeries

Grab your Oral-B $30 coupon to get your dad, grad or you your very own Oral-B SmartSeries 5000 and let me know what you love about yours.   Visit Oral-B website for additional information about Oral-B SmartSeries 5000, dental tips and more.



Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post in partnership with Oral-B.  As always, all opinions are my own.

The 10 Powerful Things We Learned From Baltimore Riots In Photos #BaltimoreRiots


If you turned on the television and watched the evening news it appears that the entire community of Baltimore looks like a war zone. However, underneath all the Baltimore riots smoke, fires and unrest, there are people within the community who really care, love and want to see their community thrive.

10 Things We Learned From Bruce Jenner’s Interview #BruceJennerABC

Bruce Jenner, the greatest athlete in the world and former Olympian met with Diane Sawyer to discuss his challenges as a child,  young man and married man with gender identity and personal struggles.  During the interview we learned about the accomplishments of his athletic career and personal career.

For 10 Years I had a hairdresser who struggled with gender identity. She was a beautiful person inside and out. She was one of the most supportive and kind hearted people I knew. However, the world around her was not very kind and I often heard how people physically and emotionally attacked her for being who she was. It was a very painful struggle for her.

After watching Bruce Jenner’s interview I have come closer to understanding the struggle and challenges that people who have gender identity issues go thru. I hope the world will be kinder and understanding of the struggle that people who go thru gender identity issues as well.


These are the 10 most important things we learned during Bruce Jenner’s interview:

World Health Day 2015 | From Farm To Table, Keep Food Safe

The World Health Organization observed World Health Day to educate people globally about the importance of Food Safety with their, “From Farm To Table, Keep Food Safe” slogan.

What do the words, “From Farm To Table” mean to you? In my local neighborhood it means I can buy locally grown fresh organic produce free from microbes, viruses and chemicals while supporting economic growth of my community. It means I can be worry free about the way the food is handled, cleaned and stored.


However, with globalization it also means that not all the food we purchase and eat is locally grown. It also means that if food handlers in developed and developing countries don’t take precautions with food safety we may come into contact with unsafe food. Everyone deserves safe food that is free of viruses and microbes.


5 Things To Know About Food Safety

  1. More than 200 diseases are spread through food. Millions of people fall ill annually as a result of eating unsafe food. Diarrhoeal diseases alone kills an estimated 1.5 million children annually, and most of these illnesses are attributed to contaminated food or drinking water. Proper food preparation can prevent most foodborne diseases.
  2. Contaminated food can cause long term health problems, including cancer and neurological disorders.
  3. Foodborne disease affects the most vulnerable people, specifically the poor, children, pregnant women and the sick. Foodborne disease may be fatal.
  4. Food contamination affects society as a whole.
  5. Food safety is everyone’s responsibility. Women groups, educators, public health officials, government officials and everyone in between is responsible for ensuring our food is safe.

World Health 2015 Resources

Visit World Health Day 2015 through out the year to obtain a preliminary report on global food safety across the entire food chain supply, learn more about the challenges of unsafe food and opportunities to do our part to ensure we have safe food globally. Also review the documents Protecting Yourself from Food Poisoning and Foodborne Outbreak Tracking And Reporting for additional details on keeping food safe. You can also follow #WorldHealth2015 hashtag online to follow the conversation via social media.

Let’s do our part to support global food safety and our children’s future by educating ourselves and spreading these resources.





Movie Review: McFarland USA and FUN Facts #McFarlandUSA

 McFarland USA Movie Review

Grab your friends and family and run to see McFarland USA!  Based on the 1987 true story, McFarland USA movie follows the lives of athletes from McFarland, a predominately Latino community in California Central Valley as they build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner).  The McFarland athletes are farm workers before they arrive to school, students during the day and champions in training after school.  They overcome adversity, economic challenges and lack of athletic resources through their loyalty, hard work and dedicated coach, to become  top cross-country team athletes.


McFarland USA is  recommended for families, teachers, students, sports enthusiasts and all athletes.  The story is very inspiring and does an outstanding job of showing the real life experiences of economically challenged students pursuing high school athletics.  It doesn’t hold back any dialogue and does a great job of showing how athletes, who are also farm workers deal with adversity on and off the field.   It also dives into the Mexican-American heritage, rights of passage for latinos as well as give us an inside look at mexican culture and traditions.


McFarland is much more than your typical inspirational sports movie.  It is a story of the journey for the McFarland athletes and Coach Jim White.  A series of events put McFarland students and Coach White on the same path.   Coach White was able to inspire them to greatness by going the extra mile, providing sound advice and taking an interest in each runner’s life on and off the field.  Coach White was also able to make McFarland home for his family and give purpose & meaning to his life through his hands on efforts in his community.  The movie also does a great job of telling the story about the bond between coaches and athletes.

Having come from a latino background and raised in a small border town myself, I can relate to the storyline of the under dog and feelings athletes have without proper equipment or uniforms.  When you lack resources and have the right attitude, you can get inspired and things can definitely take a positive turn! Coach White and the McFarland students show  us that anything is possible!


The true story came to the attention of the film producers in 1999 after hearing the story in the media about a small town group of heroes. The film’s producers suggested the Director, Niki Caro read the story and the movie started coming to life.

McFarland USA Filmmakers

Directed by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NIKI CARO
Story by . . . . . . . . . .. CHRISTOPHER CLEVELAND & BETTINA GILOIS

McFarland USA Cast

Jim White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . KEVIN COSTNER
Danny Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RAMIRO RODRIGUEZ
Thomas Valles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .CARLOS PRATTS
Jose Cardenas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .JOHNNY ORTIZ
David Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RAFAEL MARTINEZ

Johnny Sameniego. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .HECTOR DURAN
Victor Puentes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SERGIO AVELAR
Damacio Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . MICHAEL AGUERO
Señora Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . DIANA MARIA RIVA
Señor Diaz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .OMAR LEYVA
Principal Camillo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VALENTE RODRIGUEZ
Sammy Rosaldo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DANNY MORA
Cheryl White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MARIA BELLO
Julie White . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . MORGAN SAYLOR




McFarland USA FUN Facts

  • “McFarland, USA” is inspired by a 1987 true story.  Over the years since then, the McFarland High School cross-country teams have won nine state championships and the small school is considered a powerhouse in the sport.
  • Coach Jim White taught in the town of McFarland for 40 years and coached for 25 of those years.  He retired in 2002, but is still involved with the cross-country program.  If you go to McFarland you will see him riding his bike with the kids.
  • Some of the original runners on the championship 1987 cross-country team are educators at McFarland school district.  They are also raising their families in McFarland and support the team financially as needed.
  • Three out of the seven young actors on the team in the movie are from the McFarland area—Sergio Avelar who plays Victor Puentes and Michael Aguero, cast as Damacio Diaz, are actual runners and Ramiro Rodriguez, as Danny Diaz, was a champion soccer player.
  • Ramiro Rodriguez had no intention of auditioning when he agreed to drive his cousin to the casting tryouts for “McFarland, USA.” He landed the role of Danny Diaz after being pestered repeatedly by executive producer Mario Iscovich to audition.
  • Classic lowriders are featured in “McFarland, USA” in several scenes. Lowriders are custom cars fitted with hydraulic jacks that allow the chassis to be lowered almost all the way to the road. Lowriding was very big in California’s Central Valley in the mid-’80s with Bakersfield being one of the lowriding epicenters of the area. Lowriding is often stereotypically depicted as gangster-related in film but the reality is that these car clubs are essentially about family and community and the cars are lovingly treasured.
  • Director Niki Caro took particular interest in the “hero-car” lowrider vehicle— and not just in the service of the movie. The car actually belongs to Caro and she likes to drive the 1970s Chevrolet Caprice, which was customized to the movie’s specifications. The beautiful classic features an iconic chain steering wheel and a mural on the hood that is in the likeness of the owner’s girlfriend in the film, Lupe. The painting is in the style of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is an ongoing visual theme in the movie.

Uno, Dos, Tres… McFarland!


McFarland USA Movie – EXCLUSIVE Interview With Kevin Costner and Real #McFarlandUSA Coach Jim White

I recently had the opportunity to meet and interview Kevin Costner, Coach Jim White, cast and real life heroes behind McFarland USA Movie.  McFarland USA opens in theaters on February 20th.  “McFarland, USA” movie is inspired by a 1987 true story, in which an  inexperienced group of  young Latino runners with exceptional athletic skills and determination rise to become champions under the leadership of their coach, Jim White.

Meeting the Actors Behind McFarland USA Movie


Hector Duran, Sergio Avelar and Johnny Ortiz ignite the McFarland athlete within all of us



Carlos Pratt plays the role of Thomas Valles. Inspiring Latino actor to watch

An EXCLUSIVE Interview with Kevin Costner

All of the actors connected to their characters to bring McFarland USA to life.  Kevin Costner plays Jim White, the McFarland High School Coach. Although he was born in Southern California, Kevin Costner also lived in Central California areas of Visalia, California near many farming areas.   It is through this experience that he was able to connect to his character and bring Coach Jim White to life.

Here is what he had to say about playing the role of Coach Jim White, how he felt about doing the role in McFarland and life wisdom that applies to all of us.

EXCLUSIVE Interview With Kevin Costner

“We all have to have our north star we kind of fix on and we go to. But life is so much about the things that bump into you.” – Kevin Costner

What appealed to you about the Jim White Character?

Kevin Costner: I had read the story some time ago over 10 years ago.  But I had read about it in Sports Illustrated.  I remember being very taken with it.  I had lived in the Central Valley in Visalia and actually played McFarland in high school baseball.  I was taken with the story, and then of course closed the page and moved on with my life.   Then this movie came up, this shining cloud Niki Caro and said, “Would you be in this movie?”  For that to match up was really a nice thing for me, and it was a beautiful thing, actually. 

To play Jim, who, you know, there’s these men and women all over America who are affecting our young people.  And relationships that coaches establish with young people is something that carries through their life if it’s done right.  There’s not a lot of Jim Whites, but there are Jim Whites, and he represents the best, really, of the best. 

It’s almost biblical; our children have a hard time listening to their parents, right?  There’s a moment in time where kids really don’t want to hear anything from their parents.  But a coach can take on that thing, and boy, if they are of the cloth that Jim White came from, a very graceful, very quiet man, who somehow let them know what was possible.

 What was just possible; not that they were gonna get there, but this is possible for you, a goal.  And Jim White, in just kind of putting the goal out in front of them, look what happened.  Champions.  Look – they did – the exceeded beyond their expectations, so it’s a great lesson to us, McFarland, that if we give our children, our young men, our young women goals, we let them see what’s possible, they can exceed beyond their own wildest expectations.  It’s just a very good lesson, this movie.  So I was proud to play the essence of Jim White.  I’m not Jim White.

You know, I think we’d all like to be Jim White in some way.  But it was a pleasure to be able to do that, kind of from that Sports Illustrated article make this giant circle to actually being in the movie.  I mean that feels like a movie, doesn’t it?


Question: How did it feel to play this role in McFarland

Kevin Costner:  I’ve grown up in Ventura, and also in Visalia.  I’ve driven down these roads and I saw people working in those fields.  I played and fought and had friends where their families were pickers in Saticoy, California, a little Mexican barrio school that I went to.  But I didn’t invest the way I did until Niki brought me this movie.  Bending down to work and seeing a field go forever, understanding that this is forever, this is every week, this is every day in all kinds of weather, I have an appreciation of who these people are, this is as American story as you can possibly have.

You think apple pie and baseball’s American?  No.  McFarland is way more American than any of those things.  Those are pastimes.  What’s American –  I’m gonna get real sentimental here. 

There is no American story than parents who are willing to do anything to better their children, to give their children a chance.  There’s nothing more American, and it’s been playing out over the last 300 years, here.  McFarland is not some weird little  town.  Poor McFarland?  No.  Number one, there’s a mythology around McFarland because their lives changed when they understood that they could be champions and repeat that idea.  The simplicity of  there’s nothing more noble than a father and a mother making an opportunity for their child, knowing that their life is gonna be hard.  And there’s something very noble about that, to me; something incredibly heroic.  


Question:  You did a lot of different cameras over a lot of different genres.  Do you have any character that you have not done yet that you want to do?

Kevin Costner: I’ve been able to do a lot of things in the movies.  I’ve been able to run with the buffalo, I’ve been able to pitch a perfect game in Yankee Stadium, in the bathtub with Susan Sarandon.  

I’ve had a lot of chance to do a lot of things.  I enjoy sports, but I enjoy sports so much to the point that I wouldn’t do the movie unless I thought it had a chance to be good.  That’s how much I like them.  I’m not dying to do a sports thing and have it just look average.  There’s nothing that I covet out there.  I wait for something to come a long that really is a clear sound that I can respond to, and that I can just really move to it.  I’m not looking for the next sports movie at all, by any stretch.  I did two sports movies back to back – Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, and no one thought that was a smart idea.

 But those movies separated themselves so much.  If I plan my life so much in advance, I’ll miss this. I would have missed McFarland by getting in my mind what I’m going to do in my life.  I mean we all have to have our north star we kind of fix on and we go to.  But life is so much about the things that bump into you. I was – it was really happy, and – you know, how this really happened. And Niki and I know the story more than anybody, but it’s one I  treasure.


An Exclusive Interview with the REAL McFarland USA Coach Jim White

I also had the honor and privilege to meet the real life McFarland High School Coach Jim White. Meeting the real life hero behind the McFarland movie was a once in a lifetime event.  Coach White reminds me a lot of the coaches I had in high school who are dedicated to their teams not only on the field, but off the field.  They instill drive, determination and perseverance in young athletes that carry them on not only through high school, but help mold them into future leaders.


“My whole philosophy on everything is about attitude. I had to have a good attitude, and I had to transfer that to the kids, a good attitude. In order to achieve anything it has to be your attitude.” – Coach Jim White

Question: What does it take from your heart to do all this? For these kids to have a better life?

Jim White: I think my whole philosophy on everything is about attitude.  I had to have a good attitude, and I had to transfer that to the kids, a good attitude.  In order to achieve anything it has to be your attitude.  That is the only thing that you can control.  I can’t control other feelings about me.  I can’t control what happened yesterday or what’s going to maybe happen tomorrow.  But the most important thing for me to transfer to these kids is the attitude of hard work can transfer into the classroom, and into your jobs, and into their real lives.  So when you have problems in life, and we had problems with building the team and outfitting the team, putting shoes on the team.  But it’s how we let the problems affect you in life that’s the main thing, that’ll get you down.  So yeah, these kids were my kids. Thank you.


Question: I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how the cross country program at the high school has changed the town overall, or what impact it’s made on the fabric of the community.

Jim White:  As an example right now, our town is really changing.  They’re really picked up this thing with cross country so much so that we now have a new city logo.  It’s not the heartbeat of agriculture or whatever they showed on the first one.  I don’t even know where that first sign came from in that movie.  It now has a runner, running through the field – a silhouette of a runner running through the field.  They gave this to the high school for a scholarship: whoever comes up with the best city logo.

A girl developed this.  Underneath it – underneath the silhouette of a runner running through the fields, you have “Tradition, unity, and excellence.”  So that has really changed our whole city.  Our school came up with a new logo.  We have now a water tank that’s 20 by 80 feet in the town that’s completely dedicated to our state championships.  And the silhouettes of runners, a big sunset, the big cougar coming out of the State of California, and their names are on the water tower; everybody’s names that were state champions there. 

Question: Do you think this film will inspire kids that were in your situation when you guys were younger?

Jim White: I do.  I definitely do.  I think it’s such an inspiration to see that kids can come out of the fields, and kids can have some success with the right attitude and with the work ethics that you can pick up from cross country.  I definitely do feel that it will inspire a lot of kids to go on and do better, I’m sure.


An Exclusive Interview with McFarland Director Niki Caro

We also interviewed McFarland USA Director Niki Caro.  She write, produced and directed several films.  She was drawn to this film because it tells a story about real life people in a real life community.


Question: What was it about the story that attracted you and fits with your film making sensibilities?

Niki Caro:  I was inspired by Jim White, the original team, the scale of their achievement, and the legacy that they left and that goes on.  I was really inspired by the people, by how hard they work, the commitment to their families, their faith and their community.  It was great for me to be able to light that up.   I really get a big kick out of  actually working with real communities and this is a real story.

You drive to McFarland and you’ll see a bunch of people you see on screen.  It’ll look like it does on screen.  It’s deeply satisfying to me to go in and tell a story that is not only meaningful, but is true and real, and tell it with the real people.  If that weren’t enough, to go in with the likes of these people (pointing to cast), has been a deeply, deeply satisfying experience for me and I hope it will be for the audience, too.


It’s not often you meet people that make you feel like you can anything and overcome any obstacle, but that is exactly how I felt after meeting the cast and real life heroes of McFarland.  McFarland USA Movie will be in theaters on February 20th.  SAVE the date and make sure to take your family and go see it.

For additional inspiring quotes and insider look into the making of McFarland:

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