VSU gives children of migrants a glimpse of college life
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta State University (VSU) wants to motivate and show all of its educational possibilities to children of migrant farmworkers.
The Migrant Education Summer Leadership Academy was previously for middle school students, but this year, they opened up a separate program for high schoolers all over the state.
“They are closer to that time where they will be making the decision of what am I going to do after high school. So this is really good because it will show them there’s more after high school and that it’s possible to make it out of that situation and still be able to pursue a higher education degree,” said Phenix Culbertson, the director for the Migrant Education Summer Leadership Academy.
Culbertson said it’s important to get these students excited for their future.
“Their families are from all different countries, they live in rural areas as migrant workers and usually, if they weren’t here right now, they would actually be working on the migrant farms,” said Culbertson.
There were 30 students accepted into the two-week program that came from all over the state, ranging in ages from 13 to 17.
Culbertson said they get to enjoy different outdoor, fun activities and take part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) academic classes.
With college right around the corner, Kennia Martinez from north Georgia said she wanted to learn more about the different opportunities that are available.
“I decided, to be honest, I was like, ‘OK, this is an opportunity to learn new things and get ahead of the game because I am a senior this year,’” said Martinez.
Both of her parents are from Mexico and they’ve been big supporters.
Martinez said she’ll be the first one in the family to pursue a college education.
“My dad definitely has always told me to become someone better. He wants me to have a good future and career,” said Martinez.
The program is funded by the migrant education program through the Georgia Department of Education.
It is completely grant-based and free for students.
Culbertson said he and the program counselors hope to show the students they can be the change for generations to come.
“We are that help and showing them that there’s way more that they can do,” said Culbertson.
You can read more about the different programs VSU offers for children of migrants by clicking here.
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