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Migrant Education Program – and HardWork – Lead Immigrant Twins to College

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Didiel Vazquez Morales is graduating from Hueneme High School with a 3.83 grade-point average; his fraternal twin Manuel is not far behind with a 3.75 GPA. Didiel plans to attend California State University Channel Islands and major in chemistry after completing his general education courses at Oxnard College; his goal is to be a dentist.Manuel will accompany his twin to Oxnard College but hopes to enroll at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, or Cal Poly Pomona in two years; he plans a career in agricultural science.

It’s an impressive achievement, particularly when you consider that Didiel and Manuel emigrated from Mexico just three years ago speaking little English. Consider also the culture shock the twins experienced moving from their grandfather’s tiny farm in rural Michoacan to live with their mother, a factory worker living in a Southern California city with a population of over 200,000.

“It’s not easy,” Didiel said. “It’s a new life. Everything is different.”

“They came from a one-room, K-6 school to a school with 2,000 students,” said Mark Ramos, Hueneme High’s Migrant Education special programs counselor. “That’s scary for them.”

Even so, the 18-year-olds are heading to college and are on track for successful careers. Both credit their school’s Migrant Education program with helping them achieve in school.

“I’m very grateful,” Didiel said. “It’s helped me learn English, do my schoolwork and focus on my goals.”

“Mr. Ramos is awesome,” Manuel added.“He’s always there. He helps me, even if I don’t’t ask for it. He’s the best.”

Ramos, deflecting the credit back to the twins, pointed out that both voluntarily attended Saturday classes offered through the Migrant Education program as well as summer school in order to catch up on their credits.

Didiel and Manuel also took full advantage of the Portable Assisted Study Sequence (PASS)program that helps Migrant Education students meet graduation requirements by allowing them to complete their course work semi-independentaly through correspondence study.

Due to their diligence, the twins, who arrived on campus with zero credits, earned enough credits in three years to graduate.

“Not many students can do that,” Ramos said. “They are highly motivated kids.

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