• IDRA Newsletter • February 1998 • 

Editor’s Note: The University of Texas at Austin Migrant Student Program is celebrating the accomplishments of migrant students with a publication that highlights exemplary migrant students. The following is an excerpt from that publication including the profiles of two students.

A new booklet highlights the accomplishments of some special migrant students. Nominated as exemplary by their Texas or receiving school counselors, they have many success stories. Many of these students are near the top of their classes, are members of the National Honor Society, or are enrolled in honors or advanced classes. Many will graduate from high school this spring – some after completing their graduation requirements in only three years – and many plan to go on to college. In addition, these students have found the time to participate in extra-curricular activities and volunteer to help their communities.

These students have achieved their successes despite the hardships caused by their migrations. The 37 students in this booklet attended 15 different Texas schools and migrated to 20 different states. Many students migrated frequently, leaving their Texas schools early and returning late every school year. Some started migrating at a very early age. In addition, some students worked to help their families financially: some held jobs while attending regular school; others attended night school after working all day in the fields.

These students have contributed so much to their schools, their families and their communities. We would like to give something back through this booklet, which recognizes their achievements. As these students continue to strive to reach their goals, we hope this booklet will bring back memories of where they have been and how much they have already accomplished.

Francelia Martinez, 1997 Exemplary Migrant Student of the Year
(Memorial High School, McAllen, Texas)

Although she is not the first in her family to graduate from high school, Francelia will be the first to enroll in a university. Francelia has migrated annually to Hillsboro, North Dakota, and Warden, Washington, since she was three years old. She has never completed a school year without interruption.

“As a migrant student, I always entered late due to our work, which extended into the fall…” she says. “I’ve been migrating almost all my life. Every year something new happens. If it is not having to sleep in your car because of not being able to find a house, it is praying to God for the rain to stop.”

Despite her very late enrollments and early withdrawals, Francelia has maintained an 86 GPA in college preparation classes. In the University of Texas program, she completed correspondence courses in U.S. government and economics, one on-site-grading course in informal geometry, and three Spanish examinations for credit. These courses enabled her to meet her graduation requirements on time and allowed her to work as an assistant to the migrant clerk.

She comments, “It is never too late to educate ourselves; an education for me is the vehicle that will transport me from the fields of poverty to the successful career of my dreams.”

In addition to her busy academic schedule and her job, Francelia found the time to be a member of Business Professionals of America, president of the Migrant Club, and vice president of the youth club of San Luis Gonzaga Church. When she resided in North Dakota, she worked as a volunteer reader for pre-schoolers. Francelia has applied for admission to the University of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg and to St. Edward’s University in Austin.

Basthi Hernandez
(Tom C. Clark High School, San Antonio, Texas)

Raised in a family of six, Basthi moved from Mexico when she was four years old. She went to Kindred Elementary School and Dwight Middle School in San Antonio. Every summer, she migrates with her family to Marline Farm, Texas.

Basthi has received attendance awards and is on the honor roll. She is also listed in the United States Achievement Academy, 1995 National Awards, Volume 109. She completed all of her lessons in a University of Texas at Austin Individual and Family Life correspondence course and will soon take her final exam.

In the eighth grade, Basthi was in the Junior Honor Society. She was also an eighth-grade cheerleader and has participated in basketball and track. In addition, she tutored elementary and pre-kindergarten students as a participant of the IDRA
Coca­Cola Valued Youth Program.

Adapted from 1997 Exemplary Migrant Students with permission from The University of Texas at Austin Migrant Student Program.

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[©1998, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the February 1998 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]