May 23, 2017 – The Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) was proud to host the 7th Annual Statewide Migrant Speech & Debate Tournament during the Cinco de Mayo weekend. BCSD is home to Migrant Education Region 21 and this is the first time that the District has hosted this event.
The event began with a dinner on the evening of Cinco de Mayo at the Doubletree Ballroom where more than 500 students and staff representing school districts from across the State of California gathered to participate in the annual competition. BCSD Superintendent Harry ‘Doc’ Ervin welcomed attendees by recognizing their hard work, the importance of driving student excellence, and acknowledging the important contributions of the California Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program. The Director of Region 21, Janie Flores, shared the exciting news that this was the first year where every migrant region throughout the state was represented at the tournament. Migrant Director, Dr. Joe I. Mendoza, who is considered the founder of the program, also spoke words of motivation to attendees setting the stage for the next day’s competition.
The competition portion of the event began on Saturday morning, May 6th, at Cato Middle School. Participants faced off during five hours of competition. Nearly 200 community volunteers, BCSD Staff, and Regional representatives joined the 500 participants to make the day possible. A new addition to the competition was the recognition of participating seniors who shared their graduation plans, which include attending various collegiate programs throughout the state of California, as well as nationally renowned programs at universities such as Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley.
The weekend concluded on Sunday, with an early morning awards celebration. Trophies were distributed to high school and middle school students in both Spanish and English speech and debate categories. During the ceremony, Erica Fernandez, former Migrant student, Stanford graduate, and community activist, described her own journey proving even the biggest dreams can be fulfilled for every migrant student.
The 2018 tournament will be hosted by Migrant Education Region 8, based out of the Tulare County Office of Education. Congratulations to all of 2017’s participants, and many thanks to all who made this event possible.