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Continuing and Innovative Education, The University of Texas at Austin

Outstanding Migrant Students Recognized - Linda Glessner

Good afternoon. On behalf of President William Powers and Provost Steven Leslie, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to The University of Texas at Austin. I’m Linda Glessner, Senior Associate Dean of Continuing and Innovative Education, the home of the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program. Thank you for joining us at our 23rd Exemplary Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony.

Before we talk about today’s ceremony, I would like to share with you some facts about migrant education and this program.

Migrant students are the children of farm workers who harvest seasonal crops or work in the fishing industry.  Over 47,000 students leave their Texas schools about this time each spring and do not return until the school year has started again in the fall. Texas has the largest interstate migrant student population in the nation with Texas students migrating to 48 different states. Migrant students range from pre-school age through 12th graders. 

It is due in large part to The Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program, a distance learning program,that students here today are earning their high school credits and are on track to graduation.

The theme of this event is creativity. We chose this theme to coincide with the inception of a new Creative Award that we will presented to one of our Exemplary Migrant Students later in the ceremony.

In this context of this program, creativity can be seen as innovation. To see a problem and envision a solution requires creativity. Through the years, the Texas Education Agency has employed creativity by finding innovative approaches to address the high dropout rate of Texas high school migrant students. One of its innovations was the inception of a distance learning program for migrant students at The University of Texas of Austin (1987).  The University of Texas at Austin and Texas Legislature have gone on to apply this innovation to improve education in the state of Texas.

And some of the champions of creativity and innovation are here with us today. [Introduce Texas legislative guests, university guests, and TEA guests]

Now I want to turn to our students, parents, and educators. I want to congratulate the parents who are with us today to help us celebrate your child’s achievements. It is obvious by your attendance that you have been a steadfast and constant strength for your children (Ha sido una fuerza constante por sus ninos – Bien hecho!!)

I also wish to express my deep appreciation to the educators who are here today for all the time and personal sacrifices you have given up to help these students achieve their success.  You have put them on a path of self-discovery through education for a lifetime—there is no greater gift that an educator can give to society.

And now students: I congratulate each of you for achieving exemplary recognition. Know that you were selected for this honor because of your extraordinary achievements in your personal and academic lives. Each of you has overcome the difficulties of the migrant lifestyle to achieve excellence in all areas of your lives – not only in academic pursuits but in leadership roles in your communities.

My message to you today is to continue your education, pursue your dreams, surround yourself with positive people and positive role models. Let them help you open the doors to success. And remember, once you get to where you are going look back, reach out and help someone else in need.

As a final word of encouragement, I invite you to apply for admission to The University of Texas at Austin. I would be proud to have you as students of our university.