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Pictured left to right: Mary Lou Perez, Lizbeth Macedo, Jovanny Nava
The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) recently named Lizbeth Macedo and Jovanny Nava 2012 Florida Exemplary Migrant Scholars. Lizbeth Macedo graduated at the top of her class at Ft. Meade Middle-Senior High where she was named the 2011-2012 Salutatorian. Jovanny Nava is the 2011-2012 Salutatorian at Mulberry High.
Both were in attendance for the FLDOE’s 2012 Florida Exemplary Migrant Scholars Banquet held in Tampa on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Mary Lou Perez, the Florida Migrant Home-School Liaison of the Year, was also recognized.
Additional students who have been acknowledged by FLDOE’s Migrant Education Program includes:
Mayra Morales Hernandez-Florida Migrant Scholar of the Year
Clemencia Pineda-Florida Migrant Scholar of the Year
Each year the state recognizes exemplary migrant students who have overcome obstacles to reach academic excellence. Adult recipients are celebrated for their dedication to migrant students, youth and families as they unconsciously remind everyone that one person can make a difference. All recipients inspire others to follow suit and become pillars of the community.
Below you will find a brief biography of the individuals mentioned:
Lizbeth Macedo is no stranger to hard work. Born to a migrant family in 1993 she traveled with her family from state to state living in Georgia, Ohio, Michigan and Florida. Lizbeth was inspired to persevere and perform well academically even when the frequent moves meant she fell behind in her classes. She prefers school work to field work, because she understands how tough it is. To this day, when she starts slacking, she will ask her mom to take her to the fields so she can remember how much harder life can be. Her work ethic led to her being named salutatorian at Ft. Meade Middle-Senior High. Her future plans include attending Traviss Career Center to become a dental assistant and then attending South Florida Community College to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a dental hygienist.
Born in Tecolcuautla, Guerrero an impoverished town in southern Mexico, Jovanny Nava started out his life in humble circumstances far from the life he knows now. In Latin America, his family lacked the bare necessities to survive and without access to education there was little hope for a different future. When he was six years old, his family immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. Despite the language barrier, he excelled in school, eventually surpassing his classmates when it came to grades and state test scores. The frequent moves did not deter from his academic success. In June, he graduated second in his class at Mulberry High. Jovanny has a passion for history and law. His desire is to become an attorney. He plans to attend St. Leo University in Dade City to study history and theology.
Mayra Morales Hernandez is the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants. Mayra was born into the migrant lifestyle and experienced frequent school interruptions early in her education. A month after she turned 16, Mayra eloped with her boyfriend and moved from her family’s house in Virginia to a migrant camp in Florida. Despite the odds she still wanted to graduate from high school. Eight months pregnant and expecting her first child, Mayra enrolled in the 11th grade at Traviss Career Center. During this time period in her life, she gave birth to a baby boy. A short time later she moved with her husband and child to Virginia to harvest tomatoes. Sometime later the family moved back to Mulberry. Despite it all, she refused to give up on her education. She graduated this year with honors. She plans to continue her studies at Polk State College where she will study to become a registered nurse.
Clemencia Pineda lives two lives. She is a student in one and a migrant worker in the other. She works alongside her family, which has moved every year since her birth to work the fields in Michigan and Florida. After the strawberries and blueberries are harvested in Mulberry, her family relocates to Conklin,Michigan to pick apples and blueberries. But despite language barriers and constantly falling behind in her work because of frequent moves, she is determined to achieve academic success. She pushed herself to take challenging classes in high school because she understands the value of a good education. In June she graduated with honors from Mulberry High. She plans to enroll in the Honors Program at Polk State College and pursue a career in education.
FLDOE named Mary Lou Perez the Florida Migrant Home-School Liaison of the Year. She works for the Polk County Migrant Program as a home school liaison, serving migrant parents and students. She was raised in a migrant household in Texas and worked many long hours and days alongside her family throughout the United States. Her dedication to the migrant program and migrant families is unmatched. The mother of three understands the difficulties and obstacles that the parents and students struggle with. This drives her and makes her work harder to be as accessible as possible. She also does a wonderful job of partnering with the community and local churches to accumulate donations of food, clothes and other essentials needy families and out of school youth might need. Her office is located at Ben Hill Griffin, Jr. Elementary in Frostproof.News