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    Campus & Community

    Recognizing student success

    By Continuing and Innovative Education
    Published: March 26, 2012

    In 2012 the Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program celebrates its 25th anniversary. Since 1987, the Migrant Student Program has helped about 18,000 migrant students earn high school credits by providing distance learning services and courses. The program helps these students achieve and maintain scholastic levels equivalent to those of their classmates who remain in school throughout the year. Students are able to stay on track with their studies and graduate on time. Many of the students represent the first high school graduates in their families, and many go on to become college graduates.

    To commemorate the 25th anniversary and leading up to the 2012 ceremony on April 2, Continuing and Innovative Education is featuring profiles of former Migrant Student Program students.

    In this video interview, Alexis Fernandez, who was named Migrant Student of the Year in 2006, shares his story.

    By the time he was 11 years old, Fernandez was working with his parents in the crop fields of California, Illinois and Texas as a migrant farm worker. “My memories of carrying heavy loads of tomatoes and grapes to awaiting trucks, feeling like there was no more sweat left in me, have left a lasting effect on my way of looking at the world and the value of education,” he says.

    Despite the hardship of a migrant worker’s life, Fernandez excelled academically thanks in part to the Migrant Student Program. As a graduating senior at James “Nikki” Rowe High School in McAllen, Texas, he was ranked 15th among 451 graduating seniors, placing him in the top three percent of his class. Fernandez graduated under the Distinguished Achievement Plan with a grade average of 93. During high school, he took honors courses as well as Advanced Placement courses and earned 33 college credits.

    Fernandez went on to graduate from college with a degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2011. During his years at the university, he served as president of the Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity and vice president for the United Greek Council.

    During his college years, Fernandez remained involved with the Migrant Student Program, volunteering numerous times to speak to migrant high school students and conduct campus tours. He became an employee of the program during his junior year. “The migrant program has impacted me in so many ways. It is made up of people who want to see me succeed,” he says. “But I’ve also been able to give back to the program and help make sure that other students succeed. The migrant program really reaches out to these students and makes a difference in their lives.”

    Fernandez recently left his job at the Migrant Student Program to start work full time as an engineer for Samsung Austin Semiconductor. He says, “I’m really excited to work for Samsung Semiconductors, manufacturing processing chips. To start my engineering career with such an established company is great.”

    What to read next:

    This video originally appeared on the Continuing and Innovative Education website.

    • Quote 2
      Alma said on June 30, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
      Congratulations Alexis! My mom was a migrant worker and had to begin working in third grade. She got her GED when I was in 7th grade. Education was my parents primary goal! Hook'em '88!
    • Quote 2
      Rose T said on May 11, 2012 at 9:19 a.m.
      Yeh, I wish you well, I'm in the Ninth grade, and working to get my education, I'm not a migrant worker, but I'm in CPS. So school is hard, being moved alot. You give me hope.. Thanks.
    • Quote 2
      Alexis Fernandez said on April 10, 2012 at 1:33 p.m.
      Thank you all for your support! It really means so much to me. Here's to another 25 years of success in the Migrant Student Program.
    • Quote 2
      Melody Simon said on April 5, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.
      Congratulations to Alexis! Regardless of where you come from, ALL children deserve a shot at a brighter future. What a wonderful personal achievement and what a wonderful program. Keep up the good job, and best of luck Alexis.
    • Quote 2
      Raymond C said on April 4, 2012 at 6:24 p.m.
      A true inspiration to many. Thank you!
    • Quote 2
      Savahnna Cortez said on April 2, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.
      How cool Alexis! It is so awesome to log on to the UT website and see someone you know personally! Congrats on all your accomplishments!
    • Quote 2
      Andrea Zabcik said on March 30, 2012 at 4:54 p.m.
      Way to go Alexis. We are all so proud of you here at K-16. The Migrant Program made an impact on you and in return, you made an impact on everyone who had the pleasure of working with you. You will be missed here at K-16. Best of luck for your future and Godspeed.
    • Quote 2
      Carlos Hernandez said on March 30, 2012 at 3:32 p.m.
      Felicitaciones para todo los estudiantes migrantes y para Alexis. No dejen por luchar por su suenos. Si se puede!
    • Quote 2
      Nora Lopez said on March 30, 2012 at 10:27 a.m.
      Congratulations! Alexis! You are a true inspiration. You bring joy to my heart.
    • Quote 2
      Chris Ochoa said on March 30, 2012 at 12:14 a.m.
      A well deserved accomplishment Alexis. Very motivational and inspiring. Keep moving forward in life with the passion that you carry and it will impact the world.
    • Quote 2
      Ashley Garcia said on March 29, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.
      What an inspirational story, keep up the good work!
    • Quote 2
      Angelica G said on March 29, 2012 at 9:53 p.m.
      Awesome! Congrats on the job! just learned something new about you. :)
    • Quote 2
      Ivy said on March 29, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
      Lexi, you are awesome! Congrats on your amazing accomplishments. :~)
    • Quote 2
      Chelsea Roser said on March 28, 2012 at 10:15 a.m.
      You're so Awesome! Keep on being an inspiration to others and serving your community!!
    • Quote 2
      Rosa said on March 27, 2012 at 6:18 p.m.
      Such an inspiration and what a great example! Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and Good luck in the future!
    • Quote 2
      Andrea M. Ogilvie said on March 27, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.
      Congratulations, Alexis! Best wishes on your new position with Samsung. I know you will do great!
    • Quote 2
      Susan Brown said on March 27, 2012 at 4:57 p.m.
      This is an awesome and inspiring story, and it's heartwarming to hear that Fernandez continued his involvement with the program for several years, and that he's about to launch his professional engineering career! We have a beautiful 20 year old poster in our office from the Migrant Program -- a couple of weeks ago, our temp wanted to take it down, and I said, "No way!"
    • Quote 2
      Rebeca Trevino said on March 27, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
      My heart is in Migrant Education. Mi corazón esta en la educación para los migrantes. I am a very proud and former staff of the UT Migrant Student Program. I do congratulate all students, parents and professional staff in Continuing and Innovative Education. Thank you Peggy Wimberley for 25 years of service to all students.
    • Quote 2
      Danis said on March 27, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
      Way to go!!!
    • Quote 2
      Marisol Sanchez said on March 27, 2012 at 8:42 a.m.
      It makes me so proud to be affiliated with the migrant program here at K-16. Alexis is one amazing individual that possesses class and poise. Samsung will benefit from his talents.
    • Quote 2
      Leticia Contreras said on March 26, 2012 at 10:40 p.m.
      Very inspiring story. Good luck at Samsung!
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    Download: Save as .mp4 | Podcast (iTunes)

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