Students hone writing, interview skills with Latino success stories

Emma Madera (Submitted photo)

In the fall, the Malheur Enterprise collaborated with the students of the Oregon Migrant Leadership Institute Ambassadors’ Club at Ontario Middle School.

The students learned why journalism is important and some of its basic building blocks, including how to conduct an interview. 

They then had the chance to practice their skills with four community leaders. These articles are the result. They have been fact-checked and lightly edited for clarity and grammar. 


Emma Madera is a senior at Four Rivers Community School who participates in the Mexican tradition of charrería – a specially choreographed way of riding horses.

Emma Madera is an escaramuza from Ontario. An escaramuza is a Mexican drill team for girls that ride horses with both of their legs on one side of the saddle. Emma started her activity when they invited her a few years ago, and she grew up with horses her whole life. Emma was inspired by one of her cousins due to them doing the same activity.

Emma really likes her activity. She doesn’t regret doing this activity. She says the best part of her activity is that she gets to work with a team of girls and horses. 

Some advice that she gave us if you decide to do this activity is, “Don’t be scared to embrace your roots.” 

Some challenges Emma went through were lots of time and commitment because “you have to be focused not just on yourself, but on your teammates and the horses.”

– By Abel Ramirez Alva, Jose Lechuga-Leyva, Robert Parra Merino

Daniel Liera (Enterprise file photo)


Daniel Liera is a multicultural outreach coordinator from Weiser, Idaho. He works at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario. Liera wanted to work as a coordinator because he realized he wanted to work with people who looked like him. 

When Liera was younger, he worked in the fields. He realized that he didn’t want to do this type of work for the rest of his life.

“It’s not a bad job. It’s just I wasn’t getting paid, you know, long hours, no insurance, si me lastimaba quien me iba a ayudar? (If I hurt myself who was going to help me?), so that’s when I realized, I was like, ‘Man, I got to go to school,’” he said. 

Liera realized that going to school was important. With the motivation of his parents, he decided he wanted to work with people like him. 

Liera is originally from Michoacán, Mexico and came to the United States at a young age. He struggled to learn the English language. 

It wasn’t until around he was in second or third grade that Liera was finally able to speak it. While speaking English, he also learned “Spanglish”, a combination of Spanish and English. 

His parents would say, “Es que no hablas bien español (It’s that you don’t speak Spanish well).” 

Liera realized that he was a blend, he is more than what we see. He says “I’m more than just Hispanic, I am more than just Latino. I am more than just a migrant worker, right? We’re more than that.”

By Elizabeth Cid Hernandez, Karen Cortes, Tania Sencion, Sophia Romero, Alexander Dominguez

Eddie Melendrez (Enterprise file photo)


Eddie Melendrez is a painter based in Ontario. He has been recognized for his community service working with youth with awards like Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year in 2018. He also serves on the Ontario City Council.

Eduardo grew up in Southern California. At a young age Eddie lived in Vale, Oregon when his parents separated and things didn’t go good from there. He ended up moving to Texas and then to California in 1990. 

Eddie works as a maintenance man and a transportation specialist. His duties are to make sure that the building is running and that the heaters work and that there’s nothing dangerous poking out or sharp that could potentially hurt someone. He also had a boxing program for three years. He volunteered there and helped out until he got an offer to coach there to little kids. He volunteered there for about five to six months. He got asked if he wanted to get paid at that time. (Before that) Eddie would work for free. Eddie was a really shy person and wasn’t very social, but as soon as he started coaching with the kids and felt more comfortable with them, he started being more social around people. 

When Eddie was our age, he really didn’t believe he could make it, and he thought it was because of the neighborhood he lived in or the people he lived around. Eddie got started with helping our community and raising his hand when he needed to. Something that inspired him was his mom. She always told Eddie to be helpful and to work hard for what he wanted. His mom helped the community by feeding the children and always had a smile on her face.

– By Xochitl Garcia, Jasmin Torres, Sofia Corona

Carmen Andrea Cisneros (Submitted photo)


Carmen Andrea Cisneros is a graduate of Ontario High School and a former member of and mentor to the Oregon Migrant Leadership Institute. She now works as a case manager at the Oregon Human Development Corporation. Her job involves connecting local families with resources for programs like rental assistance, as well as managing the organization’s social media.

Carmen is a person that that works at the Oregon Human Development Corporation. She grew up in a bad environment, and lived in Ontario since third grade. She is actually still in school. She is studying computer science. She said that is what she wanted to do. She said the main reason that she is studying (computer science) is that it is very algebraic, and she likes mathematics and science. She was going to study business administration, but then she realized that she would make a lot more money working with computer science and said she would like that a lot more.

She is working full time (as a case manager), but she feels that she would make a lot more money (in computer science) and she is going to like it more. She said that she really loves computer science and she feels that she is more capable doing that job. The hardest part of her (current) job is splitting responsibilities. 

– By Noe Siles, Brayan Navarrete, Diego Merino

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