The Wenatchee World

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Leaders by music

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It was a joy to pick up the paper Friday and read that the Wenatchee School District’s mariachi program has received national recognition, again, this time in print. The story by Manuel Valdes of The Associated Press appeared in several newspapers, including USA Today. It was particularly good at emphasizing what we already know about the mariachi program — it builds character, it builds responsible citizens, it teaches what tests miss, it presents to students a world of possibilities that otherwise might be overlooked.

“Mariachi is a leadership class for our students because it teaches them self-discipline, teaches them to work hard, teaches them how to be on time, teaches them to speak in front of an audience,” said Wenatchee High School’s mariachi director, the ebullient Ramon Rivera. “These are skills that can’t be put down on a test.”

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