The University of Texas at Austin
  • Migrant student award winners named

    By Robert Meckel
    Robert Meckel
    Published: April 3, 2008

    “She is a student who has a quiet demeanor and who excels in all her classes because she happens to be a very intelligent young lady,” said Castano’s migrant counselor, Diana Alejos.

    Castano attended the St. Edward’s University Graduation Enhancement Program for Secondary Migrant Students last summer. She earned credit in two university migrant student program courses-U.S. Government and Economics-with grades of 91 and 97. Other academic achievements include the U.S. Border Patrol “Head of Class” Award, the “E” Award and the Superintendent’s Academic Excellence Award.

    Castano works two jobs but that has not limited her involvement in extracurricular activities. She is a member of Ready Set Teach, Business Professionals of America and captain of the junior varsity soccer team, among other activities. In addition, Castano was inducted into the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. Through the Med Ed organization, she has volunteered more than 125 hours to her community. Castano has applied to The University of Texas-Pan American and also will apply to South Texas College.

    “My ideal is to change a life and assist the people in my community,” Castano said.

    Gomez is among the top-ranking students at C.C. Winn High School in Eagle Pass, Texas. He is the son of Atanacio and Maria Gomez and will graduate in the top five percent of his class.

    “Atanacio had to work hard to achieve and excel academically,” said his migrant counselor, Raquel Rodriguez. “Every year they would arrive to school late in the year, and Atanacio had to pick up on the same page as everyone else as well as make up weeks of education he had missed while he was working in the fields with his family.”

    Gomez has been recognized as a National Society of High School Scholar and a Venture Scholar. He has earned an Honor Roll Award and an Academic All-District Award, as well as a Certificate of Academic Excellence.

    Gomez is a role model in school and his community. He has volunteered annually in the Feast of Sharing, the Relay for Life, church and city cleanups, and more. In addition, Gomez has played on the varsity basketball team for four years and was team captain this year. On weekends, he works with his father as a carpenter’s assistant.

    “A couple of years ago, I established that when choosing my career, my ultimate deciding factor would be whether the career would provide me with an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of others in addition to my own,” Gomez said.

    He plans to major in biomedical science and become a pediatrician. He already has been accepted to Baylor University and has applied to The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University.

    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.

    Since it was begun more than two decades ago, the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program has enrolled more than 21,000 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, ExxonMobil, 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.

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