Migrant students earn prestigious scholarships

SAN BENITO — Seven years ago, Edith Magana didn’t speak English and had moved to another country she had never known with her family.

Now she is a Dell Scholar and one of two migrants who have been awarded with the prestigious scholarship that will help her continue her education at St. Edwards University in the fall.

Edith and Giselle Guadiana will graduate Friday from San Benito High School with the knowledge that their future is secure thanks to their hard work and the district’s migrant program.

Edith said scholarships are what make it possible for students like her to go out and accomplish new goals.

“Regardless of the difficulties that I faced during my education experience such as English being my second language, I still managed to accomplish my educational goals and obtain good grades,” Edith said.

Giselle is another scholarship recipient from the migrant program and said the Migrant Go Center is what really made the difference in her success.

The new Migrant Go Center is a facility specifically designed to help migrant students stay on course with their school work, something that can be difficult for students who are constantly moving.

Between the center and migrant academic advisor Rosa Vasquez, Edith and Giselle said the help and support made it possible for them to take advantage of their opportunities.

“Ms. Vasquez is always calling to ask what help you need,” Edith said.

Vasquez said the girls were the ones in charge of keeping their grades up.

She just helped with the paperwork.

“I’m very proud of both of them,” Vasquez said. “They could both stay here on a migrant scholarship but they had their goals and they stuck with them.”

During the summer Giselle will be making the trip to Michigan to get settled before she begins classes at Michigan State University.

Giselle had been struggling to choose between Michigan State and St. Edwards University, both of which have strong migrant programs.

After talking to migrant alumni and taking some time for herself, Giselle made up her mind.

“I finally just came up with the decision and followed my heart,” Giselle said.

While both women are eager to begin their lives away from home and work toward their future, their parents are supportive but hesitant of their daughters moving away.

“My parents support me but they really don’t want me to go that far,” Edith said.

Vasquez said these responses are common but she is working to assure parents that their daughters are in good hands.

The university migrant program is similar to the district’s.

A cohort of 30 students, a counselor and an administrator make it possible to keep students on track and not feel lost during their time in school.

During the fall, Edith will major in civil engineering and Giselle will work toward a criminal justice career.

“I’ve prayed for this every night and seeing it come to life is just amazing,” Giselle said.