AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin on Monday (March 27) will celebrate the successes of a migrant student program, which provides innovative distance learning opportunities for migrant children.
The Continuing and Extended Education Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program celebration, 11:30 am. to 1 p.m. at the Erwin Center in Austin, will involve about 165 migrant students and their parents or teachers from 11 Texas school districts.
These students are succeeding in the completion of their graduation requirements despite obstacles of having spent much less time in the classroom than most other students. Throughout most of their school careers, they have had to miss several weeks of school in late spring and again in the early fall to go with their families to work in agricultural fields and other jobs far from home. During the past year, about 1,000 migrant students have been involved in this program in Texas.
“The University of Texas at Austin proudly welcomes the students, parents and educators from Booker, Brownsville, Crosbyton, Donna, Eagle Pass, Goose Creek, La Joya, McAllen, Santa Rosa, South San Antonio and Uvalde school districts,” said Héctor Ortiz of the migrant student program. He said the Migrant Student Program, which began in 1987, has helped students from these schools catch up with the study level of their classmates who were fortunate enough to remain in school.
Monday’s ceremony honoring the students will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Burnt Orange Room of the Erwin Center. It will include an awards ceremony recognizing exemplary students in the program. Austin City Council Member Gus Garcia will be the keynote speaker and UT Austin Vice President Juan M. Sanchez will congratulate the students on behalf of the University. Tejano singer Mireya of Corpus Christi will provide the entertainment.
Before the luncheon, migrant students will meet with representatives from the UT Austin Office of Admissions and Student Financial Aid, and afterwards they will tour the UT Austin campus.
“This is the 14th year that the University of Texas has provided this breakthrough program, and it stands as one of the most practical and heartfelt of the University’s extended programs,” said Ortiz. “The University of Texas Migrant Student Program represents a hand reaching out from our state university to the high school-aged students who migrate with their families from Texas to other states during growing and harvesting seasons. The students are able, through this offering, to enroll in courses and maintain their study, whether they be in South Texas in the winter or Michigan in the summer. Teenagers who otherwise would have been deprived of a high school diploma are studying, graduating and joining the work force. Some are able to go to college because of the University of Texas at Austin Migrant Student Program.”
Many of these hard-working students represent the first high school graduates in their families, and some are becoming college graduates. The University of Texas offers the courses through high schools in Texas and with the help of the Texas Education Agency.
The program offers course study guides and textbooks in print format, as well as on computer disc. The newest method of getting these materials is an Internet on-line course now being developed with funding by Microsoft. These courses can help the students get high school credit.
The mission of this cooperative effort is to build on migrant students’ strengths, eliminate barriers and provide continuity of education for those who have so often been lost to the opportunities of the world. Texas has the second-largest Migrant Education Program in the nation and has the largest interstate migrant student population in the country. Students and their families migrate annually to 48 receiving states.
“The University of Texas Migrant Students Awards Ceremony is a delightful rite of spring celebration. Unlike some official ceremonies that can feel obligatory and mundane, this is a spirited celebration for those who deeply know of the sacrifice, the extra work, the hunger to learn, and the desire to bring honor to themselves and their families by finishing high school,” said Ortiz.
Along with exemplary student awards, a special outstanding student award will be announced at the event. This is kept secret until the luncheon.
For additional information, contact Ortiz or Peggy Wimberley at 1-800-444-1905.
Exemplary migrant students invited to Monday’s ceremony include:
- Jose A. Aguas, Jr., Lopez High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Juan F. Alanis, Colonel James “Nikke” Rowe High School, McAllenÞ
- Katty Alanis, Colonel James “Nikki” Rowe High School, McAllenÞ
- Maria de Jesus Alvarado, Homer Hanna High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Samuel Bernabe, McAllen Memorial High School, McAllenÞ
- Jesus Bocanegra, Santa Rosa High School, Santa RosaÞ
- David Campbell, Donna High School, DonnaÞ
- Sara Carrizales, Gladys Porter High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Michelle Castillo, Mercedes High School, MercedesÞ
- Maira Echavarria, Uvalde High School, UvaldeÞ
- Jorge Galvan, Eagle Pass High School, Eagle PassÞ
- Alejandro (Alex) Garcia, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Memorial High School, AlamoÞ
- Julissa (Julie) Garcia, Lopez High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Diana Godoy, Homer Hanna High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Juan Gomez, La Joya High School, La JoyaÞ
- Cristo Granados, McAllen Memorial High School, McAllenÞ
- Julia Guerra, Donna High School, DonnaÞ
- Yadira Gutierrez, Lopez High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Graciela Hernandez, McAllen Memorial High School, McAllenÞ
- Jose Hernandez, Donna High School, DonnaÞ
- Maricela Hernandez, McAllen Memorial High School, McAllenÞ
- Jessica Herrera, La Joya High School, La JoyaÞ
- Alejandra Moreno, McAllen High School, McAllenÞ
- Angelica Moreno, Uvalde High School, UvaldeÞ
- Sofia Nader, Eagle Pass High School, Eagle PassÞ
- Maria Perales, Donna High School, DonnaÞ
- Jacob Raines, Southside High School, San AntonioÞ
- Rafael Ramirez, Colonel James “Nikki” Rowe High School, McAllenÞ
- Adriana Reyes, Booker High School, BookerÞ
- Arnold Reyes, McAllen High School, McAllenÞ
- Marilu Reyes, Booker High School, BookerÞ
- Jorge Rivera, McAllen High School, McAllenÞ
- Ivan Rodriguez, Gladys Porter High School, BrownsvilleÞ
- Jesus Angel Romero, Robert E. Lee High School, BaytownÞ
- Manuela (Meli) Rosales, Booker High School, BookerÞ
- Efrain Talamantes, Brackett ISD, Brackettville.