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 Valley Center Students are One Step Closer to College

Nearly 30 Valley Center High School students who are the children of migrant workers are one step closer to college thanks to a collaboration between San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Migrant Education program staff members, Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District (VCPUSD), and California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).

The 28 high school seniors are eligible for CSUSM’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which aims to help students from migrant and seasonal farm worker families to succeed in college. 

“This activity is important to students in the Migrant Education program because a lot of them are not aware that they have an opportunity or are eligible to go to college,” explained SDCOE Migrant Education Program Advocate Carmela Vasquez. “For many, they are the first ones in the family who are going to college to make a better life for themselves. We want to support them in whatever they decide to do for their future.”

The process began with VCPUSD generating a list of 12th grade students from migrant families. CAMP Academic Advisor Kenia Monroy reviewed the students’ transcripts to determine eligibility for the program, and then the students and parents were invited to an information session about CAMP.

At the information session, Monroy explained the program, discussed different types of financial aid, and shared some of the expectations of college students. After the meeting, she met with each student individually to go over their transcripts and what courses are necessary to attend CSUSM. Nadia Clayton, an English language development and migrant education teacher on special assignment for VCPUSD, follows up with additional support to make sure students taking and passing the correct courses to get into CSUSM.

The program opens a world of opportunities to the students. “I am thankful that I have a chance to go to college. I did not know that I was able to go further than high school. This will help me, and I will be able to help my parents later,” one student said.

CAMP is a national program that was established more than 30 years ago. It has since helped thousands of students accomplish their educational goals. The program offers students pre-college transition and first-year support services to help develop the skills needed to stay in school and successfully graduate from college. 

Valley Center’s teachers also rave about the program, which one teacher calls “a chance for them to live out their dream. I can help them realize that a high school diploma is an amazing accomplishment in itself and a terrific goal, but to show them that going to CSUSM is a possibility as well, it is an inspiring dream come true!”