• Emmy De La Garza

    My name is Emmy de la Garza, born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. I was born into a hard-working lower class family who believed in the American Dream. In the early 1970s, due to my family’s socioeconomic position and limited resources, we would travel “up north” as we would say and work the summer fields. We traveled as far as Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, and California. At the early age of six, I was given simple tasks such as driving a tractor and dropping off bushel baskets throughout the field. I had to estimate where a new basket would be needed while my brothers and sisters picked tomatoes. As I got older, I graduated to manual work. I would pick strawberries, weed sugar beets and pinto beans. My days would start before dawn and end at sunset. One thing I looked forward to was special occasions. My family always found time to celebrate our birthdays with a special meal. We would splurge from our family earnings to buy dinner from Church’s Fried Chicken, other than that, we had sunbaked ‘bean tacos’. The American Dream was becoming a reality. Our family’s hard work led to a family business, Guerrero's Grass Farms and later my degree in education. I am fifth of six children and 2nd of a third generation family to graduate from a university. My years of a migrant worker instilled discipline, determination, endurance, value and family unity. My education was not only in the classroom, but out in the fields under a hot Ohio sun.

    "You may encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated"-- Dr. Mayou Angelou

    Emmy De La Garza


    B.G. Guzman Elementary

  • Ricardo Perez

     As a migrant child, I traveled to Alabama, New Mexico, Indiana, and Michigan where we picked tomatoes, potatoes, cherries, strawberries, pickles, zucchinis, blueberries, onions, and detasseled corn.

    The powerful lessons that I learned as a migrant student are an undying work ethic driven by perseverance and unyielding efforts, along with the value of teamwork. In addition, I learned the importance of unity, family, and our migratory lifestyle – a hard, yet fun-filled memorable life that taught me to be humble and grateful for all my blessings.

    The advice that I would give all migrant students is to take advantage of the skills that you have earned as migrant farmworkers and pursue a career that has meaning and purpose for you in order to live a rewarding and bountiful life.

    I am currently working as a Migrant Strategist for our amazing school- Donna North High School. My main purpose is to ensure the academic success of our wonderful migrant students that are from the extraordinary Donna community.

    Rick Perez

    Migrant Strategiest

    Donna North High School 

  • Dr. Diana Villanueva

    As a migrant child, I traveled to…Wyoming, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. I worked with various crops including tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, oranges, strawberries, cheeries, blueberries, and sugar beets.

    The powerful lessons that I learned as a migrant student….I learned incredible work ethics at a very young age that are rock solid to this day. My dad taught us the value of discipline and commitment. He taught us to stick to our work schedule without fail. Reporting to the fields by no later than 6 a.m. and not calling it a day until 6 p.m. - rain or shine-Monday through Saturday became routine. I learned to become resilient when it comes to working conditions and weather conditions.  

    As a migrant, I witnessed the incredible strength of women-like my fierce mom. My mom not only put in the same grueling working hours as everyone else did but also cooked and cleaned and did all the other household chores before and after a hard day’s work like nothing.  As migrants, my parents took bold risks for my family in the hopes of a better future. My parents are definitely my warriors, my inspiration, and my role models for life.

    The advice that I would give all migrant students….Do not ever feel ashamed of your family, parents, or financial situation your family may be experiencing. Trust that your parents are doing their best to make a better life for you. Respect and appreciate their efforts by making them proud.  Stay out of trouble. Be a good person and make good decisions on a daily basis. Stay in school and excel in your school work because you have a greater purpose in life. Let any challenges that are out of your control be a motivation to acquire the knowledge and skills to make things better. Let education catapult you to where you were meant to be in life. Do not be afraid to want to be the best in the room. Believe that you have what it takes to lead by letting education guide you. Your parents have already set the example of working hard and doing everything they can on their end. It is your turn to continue with those goals by taking it to the next level.

    Dr. Diana Villanueva


    Department of Academic Support



  • Noemi Guerrero Jackson

    My name is Noemi Guerrero Jackson and I was born in Weslaco, Texas and raised in Donna, Texas.  I was born a migrant child until the age of 14.  We traveled to Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, and California.  We picked tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.  We also cleared the brush from bean and sugar beet plants.  The days were long and hard for our family.  I remember my mom waking up at the break of dawn, in order to make us bean and egg tacos for our breakfast and lunch.  They were the best.  I remember our family gathering at the end of the rows of tomatoes and setting up baskets as our table, to enjoy our meal.  My mom would take out the bundle of tacos carefully wrapped in aluminum foil and set them out on the basket.  What a feast.  We migrated from April until early November, my older brothers and sister came back to the Valley in September, in order to attend school.  Since my sister and I were the youngest, we stayed “up north” until early November.  We got to experience the snow.  We lived in a small room with only a small gas burner for heat.  We had to walk through the snow to use the outhouse (restroom), those were hard times.  We also had good times, the best times that I remember were going to the grocery store on Sundays.  If we had a good work week, my parents would allow us to buy a bag of Fritos and a can of chili and we would sit in front of the T.V. all afternoon eating Frito pie and watching TV shows, what a treat.  What these experiences have taught me, is the value of my education and good work ethic.  After living as a migrant and working in the fields, none of my jobs after that have been as hard those days.  I am glad I got to experience the migrant life, I empathize with families that travel to work, in order to make a better life.  I understand their pursuit of the American dream because I finally got my dream and so can they.

    Noemi Guerrero Jackson

    Curriculum Specialist

    J.P. LeNoir Elementary