Migrant student sacrifices honored at UT
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
The University of Texas honored migrant students, Monday.
"These students who are being honored today have tremendous character to work hard and overcome what are difficult conditions to get an education, and they've done it," University of Texas President William Powers said.
Students Jessica Reyna and Eric Guajardo were selected as the most exemplary of the year.
Migrant worker students spend half the year laboring in fields far from their homes in Texas. They spend the other half of the year harvesting an education.
"You wake up 3 a.m. and won't go to sleep until 10 p.m., and then [you’re] up the next morning," Reyna said.
Despite missing months of school, Reyna will study pre-med at Baylor, and Guajardo is valedictorian of his class.
"The original plan was to go to Stanford, study biology there, but unfortunately I didn't get accepted. I did get accepted to Harvard. So, you know, not too shabby," Guajardo said.
Their accomplishments required tremendous sacrifice. For Guajardo, it was bidding farewell to his childhood.
"Everyone goes through a certain stage. They're a boy. They're a teenager. They're a man. It kind of hurried me up a little bit," he said.
For Reyna, the sacrifice was being away from her mother who has advanced diabetes.
"Being far away, and knowing my mom's sick and calling me. She's in the hospital, and there's nothing I can do but work and support my little sisters,” she said.
Reyna said she’s overjoyed to be honored by the University of Texas.
"It's good to know that people like you care for people like us," Reyna said. "I will not disappoint you guys. I will achieve my goal."
Reyna and Guajardo each took home a $2,000 scholarship. The University of Texas' Migrant Student Program allows students to make up for lost high school credits through distance learning.
This year, 1,800 Texas migrant students are using the program to complete their graduation requirements.