Migrant Education Program Honors Resilience and Courage

12/10/2021 Bookmark and Share
by Music Watson, San Diego County Office of Education

The Migrant Education Region 9 Program selected its regional honorees of the year who exemplify courage, resiliency, and excellence. 

The Honor Student of the Year is Cristian Sanchez, a 12th-grade student at Fallbrook High School in Fallbrook Union High School District. The Honor Alumnus of the Year is Jesus Gonzalez-Herrera, a UC Berkeley graduate who was part of the Migrant Education Region 9 program while attending Vista High School in Vista Unified School District.  The Parent of the Year is Gabriela Gomez, the region’s State Parent Advisory Council representative and a parent advisory council member for Fallbrook Union High School District.  

The Migrant Education Region 9 Program serves students and families in San Diego and Orange County who face unique and multiple barriers to completing a high-quality education due to the economic necessity of moving to find work in agriculture.  

“The Region 9 program services provide access and equitable opportunities, but this would not be successful without the hard work, drive, effort and exceptional resilience of the students and parents themselves,” shared Elisa Ayala, Migrant Education Region 9 senior director at the San Diego County Office of Education.  

Honoring students, alumna, and parents for their outstanding accomplishments is a meaningful opportunity to celebrate the award recipients and share their work with the community, she said. 

"Our migrant families are no strangers to adversity," San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold said. "Although the path is not often easy, they find incredible strength, determination, and resiliency to push on."

About Honor Alumnus of the Year Jesus Gonzalez-Herrera 

Jesus has dedicated his work to migrant and historically underserved youth as a Migrant Education Program Advocate and a Palomar College Upward Bound coach. He hopes to begin the bilingual multiple-subject teaching credential program in fall 2022. Jesus arrived in the U.S. from Oaxaca at the age of 14 and said he struggled to learn English while earning sufficient credits to graduate from Vista High School. He considers himself lucky to be part of the migrant education program where he received support and mentorship that helped him recover missing credits and graduate in three years. He attended MiraCosta College, transferred to UC Berkeley where he graduated. He is the first in his family to graduate college. 

“Working for the Migrant Education program and other programs, such as the Palomar College Upward Bound Program and PASS AmeriCorps Program in North County San Diego, has made me realize the need for Latino and bilingual teachers, as well as the need for good communication and parent engagement in the student’s education,” Jesus said.  

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