Chemeketa hosted the 2019 Oregon Migrant Education Conference, led by the Oregon Migrant Education Service Center, on Nov. 8-9.
“Many families do not think of a higher education as being attainable, and when opportunities of attending (free) an all-day conference facilitated by individuals who speak your language, look like you, and are teachers and other professionals, it gives hope, ‘my son or daughter’ can go to Chemeketa and receive a degree and be a viable contributor to our community,” said Linda Ringo-Reyna, Chemeketa multicultural student services coordinator and logistics coordinator of the event. “We are the harbingers of hope.”
Twenty-five high school students from around the state participated in the pre-forum on Nov. 8, where they took part in sessions on how immigration, loss of cultural identity, and the prison industrial complex impact migrant youth and how they can overcome through education.
The students also created 320 Butterfly Boxes for families seeking refuge and asylum. The boxes, containing items such as clothing, hygiene products and school supplies, are given to newly-arrived immigrants throughout the state to help them in their first few days.
Day two of the event saw more than 800 attendees, including parents and youth. Parents were able to attend all-day sessions, hosted entirely in Spanish, on parenting, legal rights, education, and resources. Meanwhile, high school students were able to interact with Chemeketa’s career technical education (CTE) programs and collegiate student panel. Younger children took an all-day field trip to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
The sessions, which incorporated information on Chemeketa programs that provide student assistance, including the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and TRIO, were facilitated by Chemeketa’s CTE programs, Student Retention and College Life Coordinator Joel Gisbert, and Chemeketa Instructor Leo Rasca.