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Migrant Ed Students Continue Winning Streak

Group of students from LBUSD Black Literary Society

The Long Beach Unified School District’s Migrant Education Program secured another grand victory at the 2024 Regional Speech and Debate Tournament by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).

For the fourth consecutive year, the LBUSD scholars earned top honors, winning a record number of 28 individual awards and one first-place team award — the highest number of wins to date by a single school district team.

The annual LACOE competition brings together migrant education students in grades 6 to 12 from school districts across Los Angeles County to compete in Speech or Debate. This year, 23 students from LBUSD participated in the full-day tournament.

“The value of bilingual and bicultural skills was highly evident as our bilingual students demonstrated their biliteracy through all four domains of language proficiency in English and/or Spanish,” shared Martha Ensminger, a coordinator for the LBUSD Migrant Education Program.

“The arduous work that students and coaches put through long sessions of research, argumentative essay writing and endless hours of rehearsal of public speaking skills paid off as the winners were announced during the awards ceremony,” Ensminger continued.

Michael Prado of Millikan High School and Oscar Herrera of Wilson High School, both teachers and coaches for LBUSD’s Migrant Education Program, also attributed the unprecedented success to parent involvement. Parents have served as coaches for the LBUSD students by helping their children maintain impeccable attendance, supporting their academic commitment and even serving as timekeepers during home rehearsals.

“These students come from humble families who know the meaning of hard work, and they truly appreciate the value of a great education,” Herrera said. 

As for the next steps, 16 LBUSD students will advance to the State Migrant Education Speech and Debate Tournament scheduled for early May. The participating students will represent the official team of the Los Angeles Country Region. 

The LBUSD Migrant Education Program began in 1994 and serves children and young adults whose parents work in jobs related to fishing, forestry, nurseries, livestock and agriculture. The federal program aims to prevent the discontinuity in education that can occur when a family relocates repeatedly due to seasonal work. The program also aids in offering extra support for the unique challenges that migrant students face, such as frequent moves, language barriers and limited access to educational resources.

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