Miranda is first Migrant Scholar

Published 6:54 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Rosa Miranda, a graduating senior at Bainbridge High School, was named on May 13 the first recipient of the newly established migrant scholarship.

The announcement was made by Bainbridge College President Tom Wilkerson on Thursday evening at a year-end celebration for parents and students sponsored by the Decatur County Schools Migrant Education Department. The dinner event was held at John Johnson Elementary School.

Earlier this spring, it was announced by Migrant Education Coordinator and John Johnson Assistant Principal April Aldridge and Wendy Smith, coordinator of the home school liaison team, that a scholarship fund designated for Bainbridge High School migrant students had been established.

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Introductory remarks from Dewey Robinson, executive member of the Bainbridge College Foundation, and BC Development Director Emory Smith, explained how the foundation raises money to establish scholarships.

Robinson said after meeting with Aldridge and Smith a few weeks ago, the BC Foundation decided it would be a good time to establish a migrant scholarship to be given each year. Following that decision, an anonymous donor contributed the first $500, and an additional $250 was contributed by First National Bank, for a total of $750.

Robinson said when President Wilkerson came to Bainbridge College five years ago the scholarship fund had approximately $60,000 in it. Today, it has $600,000, and the college will give away approximately 50 scholarships this year alone, according to Robinson.

Miranda’s story

Miss Miranda submitted a written essay with her application. It told the story of how her family followed her father from Mexico City to the United States to find what they called “The American Dream.”

The family first settled in North Carolina, where Rosa enrolled in fifth grade. This was a difficult time for her as she found herself in a classroom of 20 students she did not know and she spoke no English. She did not understand what was going on and said she felt like she was in the wrong place. However, she was fortunate to have a great teacher the first three months of school who helped her pass an English test that was required to advance to sixth grade.

Within three months of her arrival in this country, with the help of that special teacher, she passed the test, even though it took her most of a whole day to complete it.

The family relocated to Virginia when Rosa was in seventh grade, and she only arrived in Bainbridge for this, her senior year of school.

In one short year, she has become an active participant in school and community events.

She is an officer of the Spanish club, is in varsity club, played varsity soccer and joined Students Against Drunk Drivers at school, helped with the Special Olympics, family festivals, community clean-ups and fund-raisers for soccer uniforms, passed out menus in Spanish at Angel Food Ministries, volunteered at local clinics, worked for the Census, volunteered at the animal shelter, and helped feed needy people in the soup kitchen.

Her goal is to attend college and major in sociology with a minor in interior design.

While in Virginia she had dual enrollment at Patrick Henry Community College where she completed college level course work in speech, English, pre-calculus math, U.S. history, word processing, theater, advanced placement Spanish and human geography.

Miranda is the first in her family to graduate from high school, and she hopes to set an example for her two sisters, one older and one younger, to encourage them to graduate.

Her mother, Araceli Garcia, also received recognition Thursday evening when she was presented with a certificate for completing her GED here in Bainbridge.

School liaison team members Wendy Smith, Erika Mills, Jennifer Brock, Esther Gomez and Maria Granados concluded the evening by recognizing individual student academic and artistic accomplishments at all grade levels from elementary school through adults.

Aldridge concluded the evening with a reading from Dr. Seuss “Oh! The Thinks You Can Think!”—if only you try.

The program was presented in both English and Spanish thanks to translation being made by Esther Gomez.