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Continuing and Innovative Education, The University of Texas at Austin

Outstanding Migrant Students Recognized - Peggy Wimberley

Thank you Representative Peña.

Congratulations to our 2010 Exemplary Migrant Students and our Creative Award and scholarship recipients. It is an honor to recognize your outstanding accomplishments, your talent, and your commitment to your education.

Before I begin the next portion of the ceremony, I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the former migrant students in our audience who are now attending college. Some of these students are previous Exemplary Migrant Students or Students of the Year who served on the 2010 Student of the Year Selection committee. Earlier today some of the students shared their experiences as university students during a panel discussion and accompanied the school districts for lunch at one of our student dining centers. After this event, some of the students will conduct a tour of the university campus. Thank you for making our high school students feel welcome on our UT Austin campus and for giving them a preview of life as a college student.

Would all the former migrant students who now attend college and previous exemplary migrant students please stand? Please join me in a round of applause.

Now the moment has come to reveal the names of the 2010 Students of the Year. Each student will receive a framed award and a $2,000 scholarship provided by a gift from the Exxon Mobil Foundation. At this time, I would like to introduce a representative of the Exxon Mobil Foundation, Sara Tays. Thank you for your generous gift that has made a difference in the lives of so many students. Please join me in a round of applause.

The first 2010 Student of the Year will graduate from high school this spring with a 99.94 grade average and a perfect score on the math section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Throughout high school, he took advanced placement and dual credit courses in rigorous subjects such as calculus and physics. He achieved this outstanding academic record even though he migrated every year to Bay City, Michigan, where he worked with his family picking strawberries, cucumbers, and cherries. An accomplished athlete, he played on his school’s soccer, cross country, and track teams and earned the Coach’s Award for his achievements in track. In addition, he holds leadership positions in numerous student organizations and volunteers as a math tutor at his school’s migrant lab. His future plans are to attend St. Edward’s University at the College Assistance Migrant Program and to graduate with a degree in mathematics. The 2010 Student of the Year is from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School: Rogelio Ortiz.

At this time I would like to ask Rogelio to come forward to receive his scholarship check and congratulations from Dean Ashcroft and Representative Peña.

The second Student of the Year maintains a 4.0 grade point average in rigorous dual credit and concurrent college courses. She has received excellence awards in math, science, history and English. When she graduates this spring, she will rank second in a class of 696 students. She also migrates every summer to Schaumberg, Illinois, where she works with her family clearing rocks from cornfields. In addition to studying and migrating, she is also actively involved in extracurricular activities. She is a school cheerleader and an officer of the National Honor Society and the Green Club. In addition to these accomplishments, she has volunteered more than 300 hours of service to her community. Her future goal is to study law and business at Harvard University—very far from the Illinois corn fields. The 2010 Student of the Year is from Johnny G. Economedes High School in Edinburg, Texas: Sofia Velazquez.

Would Sofia and her grandmother Guadalupe Guajardo and her mother Sofia Guajardo please come forward to receive your scholarship check from Dean Ashcroft and Representative Peña?

At this time, I would like to ask Rogelio Ortiz to come forward to give your acceptance speech.

Now Sofia would you please come to podium to give you acceptance speech?

Next on our program, is a very special performance by one of our Students of the Year who is a very talented singer. She is going to sing an Italian song a performance that earlier won a University Interscholastic League competition and is one of our Creative Award entries. Please help me welcome Sofia Velazquez.