Cliff Kelley, Hector Rodriguez, and Angelina Martinez and Summit Ridge classmates are off to the large County High School in Cortez, Colorado. Hector had not thought he had a chance to go to high school before Cliff began an intensive tutoring in reading at the beginning of summer. As school begins Hector's reading ability has reached a level that he feels confident in giving the freshman class a try.
Angelina Martinez transfers from the small high school at Mancos to be with her friends and for the larger offers of the bigger school.
The freshmen immediately face initiation from the upper classmen. In addition Hector at his Hispanic classmates face racial discrimination.
It is the mid-1950s and the American Culture is facing social and cultural change. The Brown vs the Board of Education Supreme Court Decision rules that racial segregation is illegal. Ramifications echo throughout the country and even the halls of the County High School in Cortez hear the reverberation.
Girls' sports are relegated to cheer-leading and pep squads. The girls' physical education teacher challenges that and pits her girls against members of the boys basketball team.
Cliff is a year older than his classmates, having stayed out a year. He now takes on the role of leader in the class. He platform is to eliminate legalized bullying in the form of initiation.
Romantic feelings grow between Cliff and Angelina Martinez.