AUSTIN, Texas—High school seniors Amanda Rendon of Lometa, Texas, and Jesus Rodriguez of McAllen, Texas, were named Students of the Year on Monday, March 21, by the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program at The University of Texas at Austin.
Both students will receive a $2,000 college scholarship funded by donations from the ExxonMobil Foundation. The students were selected on the basis of obstacles overcome, overall academic achievements, participation and leadership in extracurricular activities, and their performance in distance learning courses in the Migrant Student Program.
Rendon and Rodriguez were among 38 migrant students who were honored at the Frank C. Erwin Center for their exemplary achievements during the university’s annual Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony, which was attended by 350 guests, including migrant students from 25 high schools and 17 Texas school districts. More than 750 Texas migrant students are completing their high school graduation requirements this year through the program, which is administered by the Distance Education Center within the university’s Division of Continuing and Extended Education.
“The migrant student ceremony is an important recognition of both student and family achievement,” said Dr. Felipe Alanis, associate dean of Continuing and Extended Education and keynote speaker at the recognition ceremony. “The program is a wonderful example of how private industry in partnership with public entities make a positive investment in our state.”
Rendon, a senior at Lometa High School, lives with her mother, Melissa Molina, and her brother and three sisters. For the past three summers she has migrated to San Saba County where she feeds and cares for livestock. She has a 96.8 grade-point average and will graduate as salutatorian of her class. Rendon plans to attend college to study sociology or psychology.
Rodriguez is the son of Jorge and San Juana Rodriguez and is a senior at James “Nikki” Rowe High School in McAllen. Every year his family migrates to Bird Island, Minn., to hoe sugar beets. Rodriguez will graduate in the top 12 percent of his class as a Tech Prep Scholar and Texas Scholar, with six college credit hours earned through Advanced Placement exams. He hopes to earn a football scholarship and be the first in his family to attend college.
The Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, with the help of the Texas Education Agency, offers distance education courses to high school students. Since the Migrant Student Graduation Program was started in 1987, it has enrolled nearly 16,000 students. With funding from the Texas Education Agency and special project grants from the Microsoft Corporation and the Beaumont Foundation of America, the program provides tools, services and courses to help migrant students.
For more information contact: Ramona Kelly, Continuing and Extended Education, 512-471-2772, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.