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EU migrant student, teacher earn honors
Araceli Sandoval, right, the Migrant Program coordinator at East Union High, is shown with Manteca Unified Board of Trustee Deborah Romero during the award ceremony earlier this week. Sandoval is being recognized as an alumnus of the migrant program. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

East Union High School Migrant Program coordinator Araceli Sandoval and student Ana Naranjo are both in Los Angeles this weekend to receive distinct honors.

Naranjo is being recognized as an honor student of Region 23 Migrant Education. Sandoval is being spotlighted for being a migrant alumnus; she was once a migrant student herself. Besides receiving the award, Naranjo is also speaking at the Los Angeles conference where the awards are being presented.

Naranjo and Sandoval received certificates of recognition from the Manteca Unified School District at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this week. Trustee Deborah Romero did the honors of presenting the awards.

Naranjo is described by her teachers and counselor as “very quiet” and “very studious.” She has a combined GPA of 3.95 and is ranked 31st in her class of 346.

“The neat thing about Ana is that she’s a migrant student, so she leaves for part of the year and then comes back and still does a fantastic job and still ranks 31st in her class,” explained Lori Jackson, one of two counselors at East Union.

And “that’s what unique about Ana,” Jackson said, adding Naranjo is “very devoted” to her studies and that she’s interested in going to college to further advance her education.

Migrant camps close in December so students are allowed to take their finals one week early during that time. Some camps close the end of October or November.

The families of migrant students like Naranjo’s live at the migrant camp in French Camp on Mathews Road where they have housing and programs for students like the Lancer honor student. From March until toward the end of the year, their parents work in agriculture-related jobs.

“Their work is literally seasonal and they have no family in the U.S. A lot of them have nowhere to live, so they have to go back to Mexico” when the jobs are done, Jackson said.

The migrant camp in French Camp actually opened for the season on Friday, March 15. The opening of the camp signals the arrival of the migrant workers’ children who are enrolled in migrant programs at schools like East Union. There are special programs that allow the students to recover partial credits. A lot of them are in programs in which they learn English – because their first language is Spanish – to help them succeed in the academic setting.