Northern Colorado migrant students honored for successes at 18th annual Outstanding Migrant Student and High School Graduation Celebration | MyWindsorNow.com

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Northern Colorado migrant students honored for successes at 18th annual Outstanding Migrant Student and High School Graduation Celebration

Outstanding Migrant Graduation Scholarships

At the 18th Annual Outstanding Migrant Student and High School Graduation Celebration 13 northern Colorado students received scholarships:

» Ruby Galdean — Northridge High School

» Ana Jaime Gallegos — Northridge High School

» Mayra Reyes — Longmont High School

» Elia Casas Ramírez — Platte Valley High School

» Shawn White — Northridge High School

» Daniela Hernández Bustillos — Platte Valley High School

» Aries Blanco — Valley High School

» Omar Flores Arvizu — Poudre High School

» Aden Tsige —Greeley Central High School

» Angélica Martínez Calderón — Greeley Central High School

» Aldo Amaya Candray — Fort Morgan High School

» Yussuf Ahmed — Northridge High School

» Gabriela Díaz Martir — Greeley Central High School

Gilcrest — Ana Jaime Gallegos didn't speak a word of English when she moved to Greeley from Mexico four years ago.

The Northridge High School senior was determined to overcome that challenge. She translated her schoolwork from English to Spanish and then back into English so she could keep up with her classes.

"It was so hard," she said.

In Mexico, she was one of the top students in her class, she said. In America she felt far behind everyone.

It took her almost seven months, but Gallegos managed to learn English. Later this month she'll graduate high school with a 3.8 grade-point average.

Friday night she celebrated the academic achievements and upcoming graduations of migrant students, like herself, throughout northern Colorado at the 18th Annual Outstanding Migrant Student and High School Graduation Celebration at Valley High School.

Ruby Galdean, another soon-to-gradate Northridge senior, had to deal with her own hardships as a migrant student. Her father's always worked hard-labor jobs to support the family. He started working so young he never had the chance to finish elementary school, she said.

Now she's about to graduate high school with a 4.1 GPA. She's also the recipient of a full Questbridge Scholarship to Columbia University. In 10 years, she wants to be the one providing for her family. If she gets her way neither of her parents will need to work again.

Gallegos and Galdean were just two of the more than 100 migrant students from around northern Colorado honored Friday night for their academic achievements or upcoming graduations.

Adolph "Adolfo" Diaz watched both students overcome their challenges. He's the Northridge migrant education graduation advocate. That means he works with migrant students at the school. He helps them make goals, keeps an eye on their grades and most of all makes sure they're on track to graduate.

These migrant students come from humble beginnings, but the support of their families can motivate them to achieve greatness, Diaz said. He's also the founder of the Migrant Christmas Fiesta Committee that provides funding for the celebration's scholarships.

In most cases these families came to America to provide a better future for their children, he said. But the odds are stacked against migrant students. They're often confronted with language barriers, bullying and unstable economic situations.

Those challenges can make it difficult for migrant students to make it through high school and earn their diplomas.

The graduation rate for migrant students is only 50 percent, said Mary Ellen Good, the regional migrant education program director with Centennial BOCES.

Those challenges make the success of these migrant students even sweeter, and that's why it's important to celebrate, Diaz said.

Migrant families work so hard to give their children a chance at a better future, Diaz said. Friday night was a chance for students and their families celebrate the success of their hard work.

Migrant graduates who earned at least 3.0 GPA received scholarships at the celebration.

The ceremony drew more than 250 people.

The program is run through Centennial BOCES, a cooperative education organization that delivers educational programs and assistance to school districts across the north and eastern parts of the state.

Some of these students come from families just barely making it. But their parents love them so much they work hard and are determined to give their kids a better life and opportunity than they had, Diaz said. The dream is to give the next generation a better chance, so the generation after that has even more opportunities.