Thursday, April 02, 2009

Outstanding Migrant Students to Be Recognized at UT-Austin

AUSTIN, Texas — High school migrant students from across the state will be recognized at a special ceremony at 1 p.m., Monday, April 6, during the 22nd annual Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony at The University of Texas at Austin.

The ceremony in the ballroom of the Texas Union will honor students who have completed distance learning courses through the university's Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program in the Division of Continuing and Innovative Education. The program provides learning tools, services, courses, computer equipment and software applications that enable migrant students to meet or exceed requirements for high school graduation.

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.

"These students fill me with so much pride," said Dr. Judy C. Ashcroft, dean of Continuing and Innovative Education. "I am so proud of their determination, their immense talent and their amazing ability to adapt to new schools, new curriculum and new methods of distance learning to earn their high school diplomas. I applaud each and every one of them."

Forty exemplary migrant students featured in the 2009 Exemplary Migrant Student publication will be recognized at the ceremony. Two of the featured students will be named as "Students of the Year" and will each receive a $2,000 college scholarship from the Exxon Mobil Foundation. Three additional exemplary migrant students will each receive a $2,000 college scholarship. The checks will be presented by Texas Representative Aaron Peña.

About 125 migrant students and 50 parents and educators from 17 school districts, including Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Donna, Eagle Pass, Edinburg, El Paso, Flatonia, Goose Creek, La Feria, La Joya, Levelland, Lometa, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Sharyland, Taylor, United and Weslaco, will attend the ceremony. About 75 guests from The University of Texas at Austin, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Legislature also will attend the event, which will feature a performance by the Austin High School Ballet Folklórico.

Since it was begun more than two decades ago, the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program has enrolled more than 22,000 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, Exxon Mobil Foundation, the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation and the Microsoft Corporation, the program helps Texas migrant students earn high school credits through distance learning courses that meet Texas curriculum requirements.

For more information, contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847; Kevin Wier, Division of Continuing Education, 512-471-2731, or Peggy Wimberley, Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, 512-471-6037.

(photo from 2006 event)

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