TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- October marks Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrating the rich culture and the people who have overcome the odds in our community.
Sharing stories of perseverance, leaders like Dr. Rosa Flores Carlson helped inspire the dozens of people who gathered in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. "I started first grade without knowing a word of English and find my way in education."
Dr. Carlson was the first in her family to go to college. Now president of Porterville College, she feels a deep connection with many of her students.
She was one of several people honored at the 5th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration put on by Southern California Edison.
"Being able to tap into our communities and celebrate the achievements of our communities, the Latino and Hispanic is a major part of Southern California," said Pedro Pizarro, SCE President.
People throughout the South Valley came to be part of the celebration in Tulare. One of the most touching moments of the event happened when the town of McFarland and its cross country team were honored.
The Diaz brothers, who were featured in the movie "McFarland, USA", spoke about working in the fields and dreaming of more.
"Because of education we have become champions in life. Never mind champions in cross country. McFarland has 9 state titles but more than that becoming champion in life," said Danny Diaz, former McFarland cross country runner
For many, it's a shared heritage and spirit they're proud to call their own.