From Harvest to Harvard

My name is Beatriz Medina; I am currently a freshman at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) in Edinburg, Texas. I have been a migrant since I was six months old. When my family and I migrated, we would go up to a little town called Granite Falls in Minnesota. Migrating has been a part of my life ever since I can remember and has really molded me into the person I am today. Although I have been migrating for 19 years, I still graduated with a 3.0 GPA from a nationally-ranked high school and got accepted into every university I applied to.

When I started school in the fall at UTPA, I knew I wanted to be involved in campus organizations and that’s how I heard about Children in the Fields Campaign Youth Council. This organization is all about migrant students wanting to make a difference in our community and in our country. Currently we are organizing a student-led conference for migrant students called “From Harvest to Harvard” in which more than 200 migrant students will be in attendance from all over the Rio Grande Valley. This conference is designed for current 8th and 9th grade migrant students. The conference is aimed at this particular age group because these young adults are at a higher risk of not finishing high school and at an even higher risk of not entering college and obtaining a degree. As a migrant student organization we decided to choose school districts that we ourselves had graduated from, so in total we have seven different schools districts represented at the “From Harvest to Harvard” conference. The way we decided to notify and invite the schools was to email the migrant directors at the specific schools and notify them of the event. As of four days ago, we have confirmed 200 students, a lot more than we had initially expected. The members of the UTPA Children in the Fields Campaign Youth Council are all very excited to host this amazing event in which students will be able to interact with other migrant students their age and get more insight into the opportunities that await them with regards to education.

The planning process has been a lot of fun. As a student organization we have created activities and come up with interactive ways the students can gain more knowledge about education and the university experience. We have selected a series of motivational speakers to speak to the kids about higher education and being successful in life. The UTPA Children in the Fields Campaign Youth Council is especially excited to have Christine Chávez, the granddaughter of César Chávez and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first Farmworker Coordinator, speaking at our conference. We hope that the students can see that success can come to anyone, and that no matter what obstacle life might throw at you, anything is possible with perseverance and dedication.

The main goal of the UTPA youth council hopes to accomplish with the “From Harvest to Harvard” conference is to let all the students know that college and higher education are for everyone, regardless of race, migrating status and/or economic difficulties. We also hope we can teach these kids that anything is possible if you really want it, and with hard work and dedication, all your dreams can come true. The organization’s secondary goal is to emphasize the importance of leadership and being an active part of our communities. Furthermore we hope to encourage team building, interpersonal skills, and goal setting skills, all of which are valuable assets the students will find useful in college and in life as well.

This event is going to be one to remember and we are all very excited about sharing our experiences and serving as role models to the future leaders of America.

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