KERMAN, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Central Valley native proudly serves her hometown of Kerman while attending Fresno State and wearing several other hats.
Dancing Folklorico is one of the many classes Kerman Native Maria Pacheco has taken on as a student at Fresno State.
She says it challenged her and allowed her to connect with her Latina roots.
"It's not just about learning a dance; it's not just about learning a movement. It's about learning about the states where those dances come from," explained Pacheco.
When Pacheco is not in this studio dancing, she is focused on a number of other commitments, including serving as a nonprofit Executive Director, being a mother of six, and volunteering in rural communities.
If that's not enough, she was also elected to serve as mayor of Kerman in November of last year.
"Everything that I have and everything that I do, I am grateful for and I try and really instill that in my thoughts and prayers every single day," Pacheco said.
She takes every role seriously and says it also takes a village, especially at home.
"I am blessed to have the family that I do and blessed that they are all willing to step in," Pacheco said.
Victor Torres teaches Folklorico and says Pacheco's dedication and determination show in class.
He's also proud to see a Latina make her mark, inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams and opportunities.
"Dance is like anything in life. You have to persevere. You have to overcome. You have to be dedicated and committed. If you have those values, you can succeed in anything you do," Pacheco said.
Pacheco looks forward to continuing her path of working, learning, and inspiring others, including her children.
"I want to mentor young people. I want to empower young women."
She will be graduating with her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work in May of 2024 and pursuing her Masters in the fall.