AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin will honor 38 exemplary migrant high school students and announce the names of two seniors selected as Migrant Students of the Year during the 2006 Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony and Luncheon on March 27 at the Frank C. Erwin Special Events Center.
More than 125 migrant students from 33 high schools and 22 school districts in Texas will attend the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. event honoring outstanding student achievements in the university’s Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program. More than 125 migrant students from 23 high schools and 32 school districts in Texas will attend the The Division of Continuing Education’s K-16 Education Center operates the Migrant Student program, which provides innovative learning opportunities for migrant students from schools throughout Texas.
Two alumni of the UT Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, Olivia Hernández and Román Hernández, will jointly deliver the keynote address. Olivia Hernández, who was an exemplary migrant student in 1997, is now a teacher in the Austin Independent School District, and Román Hernández, who was named as Migrant Student of the Year in 1998, is studying for his master’s degree in architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
“The Migrant Student Ceremony is truly one of UT’s most gratifying endeavors of the year,” said Dr. Felipe Alanis, associate dean of continuing education and director of the K-16 Education Center. “We come together to salute a very special group of migrant students who have not only overcome daunting challenges in their personal lives but have also excelled academically. We also honor the families, teachers, and public and private organizations that work together to help these students succeed.”
Texas has the second-largest migrant education program and the largest interstate migrant student population in the nation. Students and their families migrate annually from Texas to 47 other states. The Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program originated in 1987 and has since enrolled about 17,000 students.
Several philanthropic foundations, individuals, companies and organizations, including the Texas Education Agency, the Microsoft Corporation, the Beaumont Foundation of America and the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation, support the program through gifts and special project grants. The program provides tools, services and courses to help migrant students achieve and maintain scholastic levels equivalent to those of their classmates who remain in school throughout the year. College scholarships funded by donations from the ExxonMobil Foundation will be given to the Migrant Students of the Year during the March 27 ceremony.
Peggy Wimberley, coordinator of the program, said the Migrant Student Program offers solutions to help support migrant students, whether they are in Texas school districts or working in agriculture across the nation.
“This program represents the best of the university’s capacity for outreach and service,” Wimberley said. “We help migrant students achieve their educational goals. The program really works, evidenced by the fact that 80 percent of our enrollees now complete their Migrant Student courses each year.”
For more information about the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, contact Wimberley at 512-471-6037.
For more information contact: Ramona Kelly, Continuing Education, 512-471-2772, or Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.