Bilingual education specialist Silvina Rubinstein remembers Spanish-speaking students “even failing physical education” because taking group showers was not part of their culture, or being unable to get free lunches because their parents couldn’t fill out applications.

Rubinstein, who faced her own difficult adjustments after arriving in this country from Argentina in 1976, is now helping to combat the shortage of bilingual teachers in the Paramount Unified School District. She has enlisted 25 bilingual teachers in an innovative program to serve as mentors to 25 aides who are earning their teaching credentials.

* Roman Catholic priests in Orange County’s Latino community saw only one candidate for the job of episcopal vicar to the Hispanic community. “Father Jaime Soto was by far the name mentioned most often,” said Bishop Norman F. McFarland, who informally polled the clerics.


As vicar, the bilingual Mexican-American priest from Stanton will have the authority of a bishop and oversee concerns of an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 Latino Catholics--about half the church’s membership in Orange County.

* “I feel a responsibility to the community,” said Laura Diaz, the first Latina to anchor an evening newscast on Los Angeles’ KABC-TV. “I see myself as a role model, and it is important that youngsters see people who help them realize that they can achieve their dreams.”

Diaz, who grew up in Newhall and graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, co-anchors Channel 7’s 6:30 p.m. “Eyewitness Update” with Jerry Dunphy. She joins KNBC’s Linda Alvarez as Latinas anchoring week night newscasts on English-language stations.