tu_puedes - Tu Puedes/You Can: An Interview with Mari...

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Tu Puedes/You Can: An Interview with Mari Carmen Lopez From Voices From the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories , Interviews and photographs by S. Beth Atkin. 1993 Education is the primary means by which Mexican and Mexican-American farmworker children can have a life different from their parents. Yet 43 percent of the Hispanic populations in the U.S. drops out of high school by the age of seventeen. Out of this percentage for Hispanics, Mexican-Americans have the lowest educational level. Even though more Hispanics in California are completing high school than in the past, the children of farmworkers will often work in the fields after high school. Through the perseverance of teachers, parents, and the students themselves, exemplary schools and programs help these children finish high school and continue on to college. In addition to student programs, those that teach parents how to support their children in school are particularly valuable for farmworkers who did not have the opportunity to finish school. Still, many programs are not extensive enough and are now low on funds. Eighteen year old Mari Carmen Lopez has just graduated from high school. In the fall she will start college at California State University at Fresno, which is not yet a typical accomplishment for farmworker children. Although Mari Carmen and her parents work in the fields, she and, hopefully, her sisters will help alter these statistics. I moved to the United states three years ago, when I was fifteen. Until then, I lived in Mexico City with my grandmother and my eight aunts and uncles. When I was a baby, my grandfather, mother, and father moved to America without me because the work opportunities were better. When I was very little, my mother sent my younger sister Jessica soon after she was born into the U.S. to be with me in Mexico. My mother did that so I would have a part of my family with me. I know it was hard for her. My mother waited until she was a United States citizen to bring me here. She and my father gave me a choice to stay in Mexico or come here. Even though I did not want to leave my relatives there, I told them that I wanted to come to the U.S. to study. I wanted to be here with my parents, Jessica, and my youngest sister, Ariana. I wanted to learn English because I’ve always been told that with two languages one can be more prepared. I think that it was a good
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tu_puedes - Tu Puedes/You Can: An Interview with Mari...

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