Melody Lopez, Rocio Herrera, Wendy Estrada, Valley College, Immigration, Labor, Baby Boomers
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Meeting the challenge

During class at L.A. Valley College, students Melody Lopez, left foreground, and Rocio Herrera check a thermometer, as does Estrada, far right. Among 21 students in class that day, 17 were immigrants from a range of countries: Mexico, India, Guatemala, Egypt, Honduras, Indonesia, Cuba, Congo, Ukraine and the tiny West African nation of Burkina Faso. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Estrada, far left, and others listen during a class that demonstrates the skills needed to become a nursing assistant. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Wendy Estrada came to the U.S. in 1998. She was so determined to master English that she went to classes morning and night, five hours a day, for a year. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)