Migrant Students’ Lives Shine Light on
National Farmworkers Awareness
The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) has organized two
campus events during National Farmworkers Awareness Week. CAMP students and
former participants, including Torres and Gonzalez, will assist at the
CAMP initiatives throughout the nation will participate in the National
Cesar E. Chavez Blood Drive Challenge and encourage the public to donate blood
while remembering the birthday of Cesar Chavez, the crusader for farmworkers’
Both from migrant families, Torres and Gonzalez said they are eager to
meet someone who has played a pivotal role in bettering working conditions for
College Assistance Migrant Program
CAMP is designed to meet the needs of students who
were migrant workers or are children of migrant workers. Participation includes
mandatory activities such as academic advising, peer tutoring,
monthly academic meetings and enrichment workshops.
“Most of the CAMP staff members are former migrant students and CAMP
participants who have overcome academic and personal challenges,” said CAMP
Director Noel Rodriguez said. “We want to share our methods of success and
achievement with incoming freshmen who have had similar
Torres, who graduated from Brownsville’s Hanna High School in 2011, is
a sophomore majoring in special education.
“When I was little, we would go up to Willard, Ohio, with my dad where
the main crops were green onions and radishes,” Torres said. “Then when I was in
second grade, we began staying in Brownsville while my dad would go to Ulysses,
Kansas, where the crops were corn and grains. We would finish out the school
year before driving up to spend the summers with my dad, and we all stayed at
the home of my aunt and uncle, who lived in Kansas
“We work with freshmen and some sophomores, helping them navigate their
early years of college,” Torres said. “We emphasize they are not in high school
any more, and we help them get the hang of college, guiding them in a number of
ways – setting priorities, determining their learning styles, working on time
management and making sure they have the information on any workshops that they
might benefit from.”
Dario Gonzalez graduated from San Benito High School in 2011 and is a
sophomore majoring in criminal justice; his focus is police administration, and
he hopes to become a Texas State Trooper.
“When I was young, my dad would go to Fremont, Ohio, but the family
would stay in the Valley,” Gonzalez said. “Then when I was about 13, we started
all going together to help out; my parents timed it so we wouldn’t miss any
Gonzalez remembers the crops being cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chile
peppers, blueberries and blackberries. He also said his family was fortunate to
live in a fairly good migrant house, but they knew workers on other farms who
lived in relatively poor conditions.
“When I was a senior in high school, my dad got a good job here in the
Valley, and now we have our own home here,” Gonzalez said.
Both Torres and Gonzalez are keenly aware of the important
role farmworkers play in the country and they take pride in their roots. They
are also thankful to have received their parents’ encouragement to continue
their educations after high school.