AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Dolores Huerta, a national advocate for farm worker rights, will speak to high school children of migrant families from throughout Texas at 11:30 a.m. on April 23 during the 20th Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony at The University of Texas at Austin.
The ceremony in the Lone Star Room of the Frank C. Erwin Center honors Texas students who have completed distance learning courses through the university’s Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program in the Division of Continuing Education.
About 40 exemplary migrant students featured in the 2007 Exemplary Migrant Student publication will be recognized and Texas State Rep. Aaron Peña will present a $2,000 scholarship, contributed by the ExxonMobil Foundation, to each of two students named Students of the Year.
Huerta, co-founder and first vice-president emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, has been a powerful voice concerning the struggles of farm worker families. Through non-violent union activities, Huerta has challenged policies and practices detrimental to farm workers and their families.
"We are honored to have a person of the stature of Dolores Huerta address these young people about the struggle to make life better for farm workers and to encourage them to follow their educational dreams," said Dr. Felipe Alanis, associate dean of continuing education and K-16 education.
About 140 migrant students, 36 parents and 47 educators from 20 school districts, including Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Donna, Eagle Pass, Edinburg, El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Goose Creek, La Joya, Lometa, Midland, Mission, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Presidio, Roma, San Benito, Sharyland, South San Antonio and Uvalde will attend the ceremony. More than 100 guests from The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Legislature also will attend the event featuring musical entertainment and a presentation by the Intercultural Development Research Association about Huerta, César Chávez and migrant farm workers.
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 48 other states to work in agricultural and other seasonal jobs.
Since it began two decades ago, the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program has enrolled more than 19,000 students in its mission to increase the graduation rate of high school migrant students in Texas. With funding from the Texas Education Agency and gifts from the Beaumont Foundation of America, the ExxonMobil Foundation, the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation and Microsoft Corporation, the program provides tools, services, courses, computer equipment and software applications that enable migrant students to overcome obstacles so they can meet or exceed requirements for high school graduation.
For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847; Peggy Wimberley, Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, 512-471-6037.