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'Close-Up' Student Travels to the Capital

 "The Migrant Education Program (MEP) was created in 1966 as part of the national effort to address the educational needs of farm worker children who move with their families. The Texas MEP’s goal is to provide all migrant children with the opportunity to reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma( or complete a HSE) in order to prepare them for responsible citizenship, further learning and productive employment." states Maggie Gaytan from Region 13.

One of the students that "had the opportunity to go to Washington DC and New York City with the Migrant Program over the summer" was Victor Mariscal.

He explained "That trip was the highlight of my summer! The best part, for me, was flying on a plane because that was my first time. We visited the Library of Congress, national monuments, Broadway, Central Park, and so many other places. I met people from Argentina and, after I got to know them, we walked everywhere together. We also visited the Statue of Liberty and the memorial for the Twin Towers. I learned that there are a lot of people supporting the younger generations so they don't ever have to feel like they're alone; there is always someone there to support and guide them."

Victor was the only student from Smithville High School to go on this trip, but he "met a lot of cool people from this area on the trip and made some really great friends."

Students that are chosen to go on this trip "have good grades, recommendations from their migrant parents, and positive attitudes & behavior," according to Victor. Maggie explained that our "student was identified and selected as a candidate for the Close-Up program through the Migrant Counselor at Region 13. It was noted that he was an overall good standing student for your district. While he was participating in the close-up program he had the opportunity to meet the National Director of Migrant Education Program, Dr. Lisa Ramirez."

Sarah Vinklarek is the Counselor at SHS and said, "this is my third year and they've worked with our migrant students every year that I have been here so I am sure that it was well established before I got here. The Migrant Program has been wonderful in working with our students. They've come out here and provided things like laptops to our students, they've worked with them to get tutoring, and every year they invite us to the St. Edwards campus preview day. They have a program that is specifically for migrant students at their University. I know we had a student last year that applied for a scholarship that was supported by the migrant program and she was awarded that scholarship, so they've just been really wonderful!"
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