Migrant high school students spend week at BSU to learn what life as a college student is like

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 25, 2019

BOISE — Migrant high school students from across Idaho are living at Boise State University for the week, to see what life as a college student is like.

The program is for children of migratory farmworkers who have just finished either their sophomore or junior year of high school. They learn about career leadership, and how to get a head start on transitioning from high school to post-graduation success.

"It completely teaches them about everything," said Cintia Gallegos, a student in the program.

It's the third annual Migrant Student Leadership Institute, bringing together 34 migrant high school students from across the state, to teach them about college life and career options.

"I had no idea, like I knew I had the ambition to go to college, and the motivation to do it all, but I didn't know if I had the support to do it.... It's taught me how to get scholarships, FAFSA, how to complete my FAFSA." said Gallegos.

Children of migratory farmworkers traditionally have a lower graduation rate, leading to fewer of them continuing their education after high school. That was the inspiration behind this program.

"This is one of the federal programs, kind of like Title I, this is actually technically Title IC, and it is to help the children of migratory farmworkers, and those kids can be of any ethnicity, speak any language," said Sarah Seamount, Idaho’s Migrant Education Coordinator.

They kicked off the program in Cascade at a migrant student leadership camp, then they were brought to Boise State, which is where they've been spent the last week.

"When I first came in here, I didn't know anyone, and I thought it was just gonna be like boring and classes everywhere and blah blah blah, but I got to meet people, right," said Jose Zamarripa, a student in the program.

And while the week was packed with classes, Zamarripa said, "The classes like really made me think about who I want to become in the future."

They visited a wide range of local Boise businesses, and they learned what it takes to pursue careers that capture their interest.

"This institute is for students who have just finished their sophomore or junior year, that are in the program for migratory farm workers children,” said Seamount.

The only requirements for students in the program is that they've moved within the last three years, and that their parents work in agriculture.

The program is free to the students who qualify, and it's paid for by the federal funds that the Idaho State Department of Education gets for the program.