Sofia Velazquez and Rogelio Ortiz

Rogelio Ortiz and Sofia Velazquez named Migrant Students of the Year


Rogelio Ortiz of San Juan, Texas, and Sofia Velazquez of Edinburg, Texas, were named Students of the Year on Monday, March 29, at the annual Exemplary Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony. Ortiz and Velazquez were selected from among 40 migrant high school students honored for their exemplary achievements by CIE’s Migrant Student Graduation Enhancement Program.

Ortiz and Velazquez were selected on the basis of obstacles overcome, academic achievements, participation and leadership in extracurricular activities, and their performance in distance learning courses offered by the Migrant Student Program. Each Student of the Year received a $2,000 college scholarship funded by a gift from the Exxon Mobil Foundation to help them achieve their dreams of going to college.

Rogelio Ortiz graduates from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo this spring with a 99.94 grade average and a perfect score on the math section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. Rogelio took advanced placement and dual credit courses in rigorous subjects such as calculus and physics throughout high school and was on the “A” Honor Roll every year. Rogelio achieved this outstanding academic record even though he enrolled late every fall due to his annual migrations to Bay City, Michigan, where he worked with his family picking strawberries, pickles, and cherries, and cleaning sugar beet and bean fields.

Rogelio is also an accomplished athlete who plays on his school’s soccer, cross country, and track teams and earned the Coaches Award for his achievements in track. In addition, he holds leadership positions in numerous student organizations and volunteers as a math tutor at the school migrant lab. Rogelio’s future plans are to attend St. Edward’s University as a College Assistance Migrant Program scholar and to graduate with a degree in mathematics and computer science.

Sofia Velazquez maintains a 4.0 grade point average in rigorous dual credit and concurrent college courses and has received excellence awards in math, science, history and English. She is also the recipient of a Superintendent’s Excellence Award. When Sofia graduates from Economodes High School this spring, she will rank second in a class of 696 students. Sofia also migrates every summer to Schaumberg, Illinois, where she works with her family clearing rocks from cornfields. She has also faced the personal challenge of helping her family while her mother recovered from cancer.

A cheerleader at her school, Sofia is very involved as president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the Green Club, and a member of many student organizations. She is also a talented singer. At the March 29 ceremony, Sofia performed the Italian song Se Tu M’ami, a performance that earlier won a University Interscholastic League competition. In addition to these accomplishments, Sofia has accumulated more than 300 hours of community volunteer hours. Sofia’s future goal is to study law and business at Harvard University—very far from the Illinois cornfields.

A video overview of the Migrant Student Recognition Ceremony is coming later this week. Stay tuned.


Tags: uil, students, migrant student recognition ceremony, migrant student program, migrant, k-16 education center,