Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Outstanding Texas High School Migrant Students To Be Recognized

AUSTIN, Texas — Outstanding high school migrant students from throughout Texas will be recognized during a special ceremony at 1 p.m., March 29 during the 23rd annual Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony at The University of Texas at Austin.

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

Texas has the largest interstate migrant student population and the second-largest migrant education program in the nation. Students and their families migrate annually from Texas to 48 other states to work in agricultural and other seasonal jobs.

"The success of these dedicated students reaffirms my belief that the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program makes a difference in the lives of our students and their families," said Dr. Linda Glessner, senior associate dean of Continuing & Innovative Education. "It opens the door of opportunity for these bright and gifted learners. I encourage each and every student to seek the highest level of education possible throughout their lifetime and give back to others in need. The Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement program is an investment in Texas' youth, to help them achieve their big dreams."

Forty exemplary migrant students featured in the "2010 Exemplary Migrant Students" publication will be recognized during the ceremony. Texas State Representative Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, will present college scholarships to five students, including the two Exemplary Migrant Students of the Year and the top two Exemplary Migrant Students. For the first time this year, the winner of a creative award also will receive a scholarship. The entries students submitted for this award in woodworking, painting, singing, writing and photography will be displayed at the ceremony. All five $2,000 scholarships were provided by the Exxon Mobil Foundation, which has given annual scholarships to the program since 2002.

About 120 migrant students, 55 parents and 80 educators representing 21 school districts, including Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Donna, Eagle Pass, Edinburg, El Paso, Fabens, Fort Hancock, Goose Creek, Harlingen, La Joya, Levelland, McAllen, Memphis, Mission, Olton, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Point Isabel, 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 are invited to the event, which will feature a performance by Mariachi Cocula, an Austin-based mariachi group.

During the day, the high school students will hear a presentation about the university application process and participate in a panel discussion with college students who are former migrant students to learn about college life. They will have lunch with college students in the Kinsolving Dining Center and will take a campus tour.

Since it began more than two decades ago, the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program has enrolled more than 25,000 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 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 & Innovative Education, 512-471-2731; Peggy Wimberley, Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, 512-471-6037.

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