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2017 National Migrant PASS Student of the Year: Jocelyn Martinez (ND)


"I don't know what the future holds for me but I do hope it's filled with accomplishments and many opportunities. With all my dedication and hard work, I'm proud to say I'm a migrant, and that I have been striving for the best all my life."

Jocelyn Martinez


Student Success

Target Audience:

High School Migrant Students, Migrant Education Program (MEP) Staff


The PASS (Portable Assisted Study Sequence) program was established in 1978 to help provide instruction for migrant farm worker students in California. It offers courses in English, algebra, geometry, biology, world geography and history, environmental science, and other subjects. Thirty states offer PASS programs, according to the National PASS Center, based in Leicester, NY, which develops and coordinates course work and offers instructional materials and training.

North Dakota's summer migrant programs are operated at Grafton and Manvel. Migrant students attend classes at the two schools during June and July. The 2015, 2016, and 2017 National PASS Student of the Year, and the 2010 honoree all took instruction at Manvel. Jocelyn Martinez is the 2017 National PASS Student of the Year and below is her story.

Jocelyn Martinez's Story

Even though nobody said it would be easy, being a migrant worker and student has taught me many things.

My experience as a migrant has its ways of being the best. For this reason, since I was a little girl my parents were at the wheel, taking us back and forth, six months in Texas and six months in Minnesota. Therefore, I don’t have a stable residence, but both my parents were and still are always guiding me and teaching both my sisters and I the true meaning of hard work. I don’t just say this due to them teaching us that money doesn't grow on trees, and to be extremely thankful for everything, but because they’re always wanting better for us. They believe that waking up at five in the morning and getting our hands dirty in the fields isn’t any good for us. Having said that, both my parents worked full time during the fall putting food on our table while we were at school studying.

School hasn’t been easy for me. Ever since I entered middle school I started losing focus and I couldn’t comprehend what both schools were trying to teach me. For instance, I would start a lesson on one of my core classes down in Texas and I would be getting used to it, then it was time for me to head up north and I would lose track. Either Minnesota was too advanced for me, or I just got behind due to all the traveling. I thought after entering high school everything would change. I also hoped things would get easier. On the contrary, things got much more difficult. Withdrawal papers were faxed and lost, my transcripts didn’t match up with both schools, and I took classes I didn’t need. Eventually, I got help from my counselors in both high schools, and I was finally on the right track after many years.

After so much hard work and stress I am now a junior, ready to become a senior, and then graduate. Due to the remarkable help of the summer PASS program of Manvel, North Dakota, I have earned more credits than most of my fellow classmates. I finished algebra II as a sophomore and took pre-calculus my junior year. Now I want to start college algebra as a senior. This is just one instance in which PASS has aided me with credits whether it's on my own time, or when I manage to go to school after work. I’m extremely thankful for the PASS program for giving me the opportunity to let me finish my high school education. Without it I wouldn't have gotten to where I am at right now.  I couldn’t be happier for achieving all my goals and becoming president of the Migrant club in La Grulla High School. I know to never give up, and I have faith in myself realizing how far I’ve come. After walking in the fields all my life, I can’t wait to see myself walking across a stage and getting my diploma.

Along with getting my diploma I also have other goals. I haven’t decided what my major will be, but I know I do want to attend college. Perhaps I will attend The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley or Michigan State. I don't know what the future holds for me but I do hope it's filled with accomplishments and many opportunities. With all my dedication and hard work, I'm proud to say I'm a migrant, and that I have been striving for the best all my life.  

All things considered, nobody said being a migrant was easy but I’m saying it’s all worth it. With the guidance of my family, all my teachers pushing and supporting me to go far beyond the limits, and in challenging myself that anything is possible, I have come this far. Above all, I will always remember: “Do your best!  What you plant now, you will harvest later.” 

DISCLAIMER: This announcement contains information from a non-government organization that may be useful to you. Inclusion of this information does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product or services offered or views expressed. The event may also give information that contains hyperlinks and URLs created and maintained by outside organizations and provided for the audience's convenience. The Department is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.

Contact Information

Ms. Sandy Peterson
Program Administrator
Department of Public Instruction
Phone: (701) 328-2170

The National PASS Center