Migrant Student Program 25th Anniversary: Adrian Flores
3/13/2012“Attending the Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony on the UT Austin campus solidified my feeling that I wanted to go to college at UT,” said Adrian Flores, a 2004 Exemplary Migrant Student and graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. Adrian went on to graduate from law school and now works as a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio.
Adrian was born in McAllen, Texas, to Alonzo and San Juanita Flores, and raised with his three brothers in Sullivan City in the Rio Grande Valley. Growing up, Adrian and his family migrated each summer to the Red River Valley area of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota to harvest crops.
As a high school senior, he enrolled in the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program. Due to his strong academic performance and active extracurricular involvement, Adrian was named a 2004 Exemplary Migrant Student. In that year’s program ceremony book, he said: “It is a tough job working and trying to graduate from high school, but I do not regret an instant of my experiences. I am the person I am today because of those experiences.”
After high school, Adrian earned a bachelor of journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. “I am a news junkie and love to write, so journalism was a natural fit,” says Adrian. “I was also attracted to the ideas behind journalism—being a voice for those who don’t have a voice, and being a ‘watch dog’ for others. That’s what attracted me to journalism and, ultimately, to law.”
Adrian went on to graduate with a law degree in May 2011 from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. He currently works as a licensed attorney in San Antonio.
Adrian answers some of our questions during this 25th anniversary year for the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program.
What is one of your most vivid memories of migrating?
My father singing and my granddad whistling. We started work early and continued on into the late evening at times. The days grew long and static, but my dad would sing and my grandfather would whistle. It always broke the monotony as we worked. To date, it’s one of my fondest memories.
I also enjoyed the sense of community. We traveled and worked with my extended family, uncles, aunts and my grandparents. I have several cousins who are around my age and we grew up as siblings. We were all very close. And now, as we’ve all grown and moved on to pursue our goals, careers and lives, I miss that sense of community. I also miss hearing my dad sing and my granddad whistle.
How did you get involved with the Migrant Student Program?
There was a migrant summer school program in the city I lived in. They offered daytime classes for younger children as many families worked during the day. They also offered an evening program wherein high school students could make up school credits in Texas through the UT Migrant Student Program.
How did the program help you reach your goals?
We often migrated before the end of the school year. The program allowed me to make up the credits I needed to graduate high school, the credits I would have otherwise lost. It also offered my first encounter with an educational curriculum at UT, which I later attended as a full-time undergraduate.
How did the Migrant Student Program help you get to where you are today? What are you doing now?
The Migrant Program gave me the initial assistance that laid the educational foundation for my life goals. I became a licensed attorney in November and I am currently working with a Criminal Defense firm, De La Paz Law Firm, in San Antonio. As a criminal justice lawyer, I’m currently working as a defender of our liberties that make our country great. I like the role of the defender and safeguard of our essential liberties that are fundamental to our country.
If you had to sum up your experience with the Migrant Student Program in one or two sentences, what would you say?
The fact that such a program exists makes me hopeful for the future of our education system, and for the future of fellow migrant children. I’m proud that such a structure exists to assist the underprivileged.