Juárez Pérez Farmworker Summer Scholarship

The Juárez Pérez Farmworker Summer Scholarship was created to honor David Juárez and Evangelina Pérez. David and Eva, themselves children of Braceros, migrated to California’s San Joaquin Valley in the 1960’s. They first started as migrant laborers, moving through the state until establishing a home in Hughson, California. The Juárez Pérez Family highly values education and aim to empower and support those children of farmworkers who are currently pursuing their own educational journeys. We seek to fund two undergraduate students who through scholarship or activism are working to better the lives of farmworkers in the United States.  

 

2019 Summer Scholarship Recipients

Marisol de la Torre

Sophomore, Oregon State University

What motivated you to attend college?

 

Prior to enrolling at Oregon State University, I always thought my motivation to pursue higher education was my parents. It wasn’t until November 22, 2017, that I discovered that my motivation derived from much more than my parents. As a first-generation college student and a product of two immigrants from a small town in Jalisco, México named Huejuquilla El Alto, the whole process of applying and being in college was not easy for me. I graduated from a primarily white high school in which many students only doubt in regards to college was where not how. My transition to a university felt like a student winging a presentation on the spot. I felt unprepared and unqualified. I found myself questioning my intelligence and capability in class constantly. On that Wednesday morning, I had stayed at the library for hours and I was beginning to get frustrated as the assignment I was working on was yet to be finished. I felt exhausted and disappointed in myself. I was getting ready to leave when I stumbled upon a quote I had saved on my computer months ago, it read, “all that your ancestors had to go for you to be here… and you doubt yourself? How dare you. You come from a legacy of survival that is to never be questioned” (Bolajoko). At that moment I felt the tension in my head and shoulders release and hot tears stream down my cheek. It was after reading this again, in the library at 12:30 am, shoulders tense and head aching that I realized exactly what the phrase beaming at me through my screen meant. All that it took for me to be here, in a table on the third floor at the Valley Library of Oregon State University. I did not get to that location by myself, all the little moments and events that built up for me to be there--stressed, but I felt blessed. I was not just studying for a degree or for a “steady job” or for an income or for myself or even for my parents--I am studying for my ancestors, for my grandfather who was in the Bracero Program back in the 50s and for my father who migrated to the U.S. at the age of 19 in 1984, and spilled blood, sweat, and tears picking various fruits upon his arrival to California, and for all those that would come after related by blood or not. I didn’t feel alone as I stayed in the library for another hour. I felt guided--almost lifted-and I was able to complete my assignment. After that night, I read that quote almost every week to remind myself that despite the obstacles and doubts, I can and will earn that degree.

Rafael Garcia-Carreno

Freshman, University of California-Davis

What motivated you to attend college?

 

Out of my seven siblings, I was the only child that was born in the United States, which meant that I had a significant advantage in achieving higher education or which meant that I had greater educational opportunities that I had to take advantage of. In my household, education has always been my parent’s priority for my siblings and I. Although, we lacked the guidance of our parents, we had to figure things on our own because my parents did not attend college nor did they had the time to help me due to their long hours, working in the fields. Throughout my childhood, my family struggled financially, which encouraged my oldest siblings to drop out of school and start working. Until this day my parents, who are both in their late 50s wake up at 4 a.m in the morning to start their day; working from sunrise to sundown in the fields. As a result, they missed my student of the month awards day, parent meetings and birthdays. I understood them because they had to bring bread to the table. My parents would always tell me when they would get home, “echale ganas mijo,” meaning “work hard son.” During my tough days in school, I would always remember their words to keep going to one day be in college. This day has come and this year I will be attending a fouryear university, first generation and low income majoring in human biology to one day become a doctor. I will be making my parents and siblings proud by graduating and furthering my education.