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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures


Francisco Jimenez and Jimia Boutouba

Francisco Jimenez and Jimia Boutouba

Francisco Jiménez’s Senderos fronterizos comes to life in SCU Presents-sponsored stage adaptation

Spanish Professor Emeritus Francisco Jiménez is well known to the Santa Clara community for his award-winning memoir series in which he chronicles his efforts and struggles pursuing higher education after emigrating to California from Tlaquepaque, Mexico. Honest and moving, Jiménez’s memoirs detail his exceptional life story from child farmworker in California to his doctoral career at Columbia University. The second book in his series, Senderos fronterizos / Breaking Through, came alive last March in a series of representations before more than 5,000 schoolchildren from 27 area schools.  Leo Cortez is the author of the stage adaptation of Breaking through, in which four actors portray 19 characters in a series of rapid costume changes on and off-stage.  The play was sponsored by the Arts and Social Justice Program at SCU Presents, dedicated to promoting outreach and discussion on social justice issues through the arts.

The children visiting SCU watched the inspirational and dramatic story in which young Francisco and his family were deported from California to Mexico and then returned. They watched the young man fighting to remain in school while working different service and farming jobs, and standing up to instances of prejudice directed against him and his family.  They were inspired as Jiménez achieved the seemingly impossible dream of attending college, when he received a scholarship enabling him to attend Santa Clara University.

A special representation took place on the evening of March 14th before Francisco himself, surrounded by family, friends, and members of the SCU community. The show was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Modern Languages chair Jimia Boutouba.