Documenting migrant farm workers in the Nebraska Panhandle

Ruth Escamilla: Migrant Education Program

Photos by Bethany Trueblood

Ruth Escamilla is all too familiar with the migrant lifestyle; her family used to migrate from Mexico to Texas, then to Oklahoma, Kansas and Washington. Ruth remembers beginning her education at age 13 in Washington, but it was only for certain months of the year since her father did agricultural work and the family travelled a lot. When she was still 13 her parents decided to go to Nebraska and her dad did not want to work so many months and be away from Mexico. Ruth began working in the fields with her parents; although it was hard work, she said it taught her how to value education.

Several years after she and her husband were married, they decided to leave field work to make a better life for their children. Ruth went back to school and got her GED with the help of the National Association of Farmworkers (NAF). For fourteen years she worked with the Migrant Head Start program to inform migrant families on the importance of education before she started working as a bilingual para for the Alliance middle school.

Ruth continues to work with migrant families to teach them to value education. Currently, she works as a data specialist for the summer Migrant Education Program. She makes sure that all of the information they have for the families, including addresses and phone numbers, is up to date so that they can keep in touch with the families and make sure the bus route can pick up migrant students from around Alliance.


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