WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) — A school program in Washington state is using Mexico's mariachi music to push students into higher education.
The program from the Wenatchee school district features a 25-member touring band that recently learned eight members were accepted to Washington State University.
Those eight students are children of farmworkers and could be the first among their families to attend college.
School officials say the class has helped students center themselves and has even helped graduation rates. It's not just for farmworker kids, however. Everyone's invited and some non-Latino kids have joined.
The group — dubbed "Mariachi Huenachi" for the Spanish phonetic spelling of Wenatchee — has played at Seattle Sounders games, in concerts with renowned mariachi bands and for Gov. Jay Inslee.