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Hispanic graduates share their hardships to pursue higher education

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A program at Valdosta State University is helping children of migrant farmworkers attend college. They are offering financial help and support.

The students are part of the first graduating class from the CAMP program. They’re excited to have their parents see them walk across that stage, something they weren’t able to do themselves.

VSU CAMP program graduates.
VSU CAMP program graduates.(WALB)

“They had a rough time coming over here and I know it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t easy back home. They wanted us to get an education, something they weren’t able to get,” said Laura Ramirez.

Ramirez and Magnolia Rodriguez, are both children of migrant farmworkers and first-generation graduates.

The two are now earning degrees in Biology and Mathematics.

“It feels kind of homey, coming from a migrant family. It feels nice that we are supported for the sole reason we came from migrants,” said Rodriguez.

VSU CAMP program graduates.
VSU CAMP program graduates.(WALB)

Rodriguez’s family is from Mexico and Ramirez’s parents are from Guatemala and Mexico.

Both families migrated to South Georgia for farm labor.

With education being pushed on them, their parents wanted them to pursue the “American Dream” and do better.

As first-year students, VSU launched a program called CAMP, or College Assistance Migrant Program.

It’s federally funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Migrant Education.

“It’s really exciting for the most part because you get to fulfill not only your dreams but, some of theirs because they couldn’t get the education they wanted,” said Ramirez.

“In a sense, it’s heartwarming but it also kind of put a pit in your stomach because they don’t know what you had to go through to get it,” said Rodriguez.

After graduation, Ramirez plans to become a teacher at the high school she attended.

Rodriguez plans to go into the medical field, hoping to become a pediatrician.

“You have to push yourself, you can’t just stop because they tell you no. They told us that we shouldn’t work while we go to school like if it was a choice, but I still did it,” said Rodriguez.

Both working multiple jobs, they were still able to get the education their parents hoped for.

They tell me their families are excited and proud.

We asked them to share their favorite motivational slogan for other migrant children out there who aren’t sure if higher education would be possible for them.

”Si se puede,” said Rodriguez and Ramirez. It means “yes, you can.”

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