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LOCAL IMPACT: VIDEO

Small-town California teen stands up to stereotypes

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LOCAL IMPACT: VIDEO

Small-town California teen stands up to stereotypes

BY PETER ALTON

Small town student takes on big community change

HBO’s Big Little Lies has crowned Monterey County with pop culture status. A paradise comprised of picturesque coastlines and row upon row of luscious California live oaks, the scenery is fairy tale in nature. The locals, too, are exceptional. Just over 15 miles from Carmel, where the show takes place, sits Castroville. Known as the “Artichoke Center of the World”—to those who could point out this small town of approximately 6,500 on the map—Castroville is home to Maria Quentas, a teen change-maker with a mission. For Maria and friends at North Monterey County High School, combatting negative stigma fettering their hometown is a daily motivator. Together, with the help of WE Schools service learning resources, these students are changing their local community through positive impacts. Watch as Maria takes on big city problems in her little town, all the while earning her way to WE Day.

Peter Alton
Peter Alton
Peter Alton

Peter Alton is a director and cinematographer from Los Angeles, California. His most recent work includes Al Jazeera America’s "Borderland" series, "Narcos, Guns & Money: Chasing El Chapo" for Fusion TV and "Science Fair." Winner of the 2018 Audience Award at both Sundance and the SXSX Film Festival, the latter is a documentary following the drama surrounding an international science fair and the students from around the globe vying for their spot to the big competition.