Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett, Education Secretary Tomalis Honor 2012 Migrant Education Graduates

May 24, 2012, 11:32 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- First Lady Susan Corbett and Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis today recognized 110 students during the 2012 Migrant Education Graduation Ceremony at the State Museum in Harrisburg.

"As a parent of two children and as a former teacher, I know how difficult school can be under normal circumstances. Add to that the language barriers and multiple disruptions in academic progress and you realize why these graduates are so remarkable," First Lady Susan Corbett said. "On behalf of the Governor, I commend all of the students and their families for making education a priority."

Launched in 1959, the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program (PMEP) provides educational and social support to the children of migratory farm workers. Since its inception, PMEP has served more than 350,000 students from birth to age 22. More than 4,450 students across the state participated in the program during the 2011-12 school year.

The program assists local school districts with improving and coordinating the educational continuity for the children of migratory farm workers who have had their schooling interrupted. It works in close collaboration with school districts, intermediate units, and community agencies to help migratory children meet the same high standards expected of all students in Pennsylvania.

Of the 110 students who completed the high school segment of the program this year, 103 will receive their high school diploma and 7 will receive their General Educational Development diploma. Of those students, 84 are enrolled or planning to attend an institute of higher education while others plan to enter the work force.

"Today was a celebration of the hard work and perseverance that the young men and women enrolled in the Migrant Education Program have demonstrated, in and out of the classroom," Tomalis said. "They have overcome many challenges in their personal and academic lives, and now they are poised to take the next step toward a brighter future."  

"The Migrant Education program has helped me through high school and to graduate from high school," said Mari Ortiz, a student in North East School District, Erie County. "They helped me get more excited about college and that is why I am going now."

Other Corbett administration members attending today's event were Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine, Secretary of Labor and Industry Julia Hearthway and Secretary of General Services Sheri Phillips.

"It is extremely rewarding to see a student succeed, especially when you know the challenges they have faced along the way," Tomalis said. "On behalf of the Department of Education, I wish the 2012 graduates the best of luck in their future."

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Media contact:  Tim Eller, 717-783-9802

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education