EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District’s Migrant Education Program recently announced its top ten migrant seniors from all four high schools during its annual banquet, which was held at the UTRGV Community Engagement & Student Success (CESS) Building in Edinburg.

“This is our 2018 Top Ten Migrant Senior Banquet and we are excited to host this for our students,” ECISD Migrant Coordinator Patricio Escamilla said. “We have an accomplished author, Emma Gonzalez, as our keynote speaker.”

Emma Gonzalez, a 1972 graduate of Edinburg High School, is the award-winning author of “Field Mice: Memoirs of a Migrant Child” and its sequel, which is titled “Paths of Pearls: After the Migrant Years.” She shared her life experiences of growing up in a migrant family with the graduating seniors and their parents.

“All of our students need to know they have the power within themselves to go where they want to go in life. All they have to do is draw it out and fly,” Gonzalez said. “There’s a great future waiting for you and it doesn’t matter where you come from. It’s where you are going to go.”

Many of the honored migrant students said that they were inspired by Gonzalez’ speech and truly enjoyed attending the event with their family.

“I love the banquet, the food is amazing, and our guest speaker’s story was so inspirational,” said Alyssa Rodriguez, a student from Edinburg High School. “It just makes me want to go out there even more and pursue my dreams and make sure I give back to my community, the way she did. So, I’m really excited and I’m proud to be a migrant.”

“I feel kind of proud of myself for reaching this point,” said Alan Canada, a student from Edinburg North High School. “I feel kind of like, special this day. I never thought I could make it, but I’m here.”

During the banquet, the students from their respective high schools were presented with plaques and special stoles.

“It’s been a realization for me since I started high school that the migrant journey really prepared me for wanting to improve and not just like outside of the fields, but like in school,” said Alondra Gonzalez, a student from Economedes High School.

“Going on a college tour two weeks ago to visit the college I will be attending and realizing that this banquet was coming to a close, made me realize how soon everything is ending,” said Jacqueline Tamez, a student at Vela High School.