California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

HEP/CAMP Graduate Rewarded

Published: December 5, 2016

María C. Holguin, who migrated to the United Stated with the hope of finding a better life and to pursue her dreams, is doing just that.

Holguin received the High School Equivalency Program (HEP)/College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Champion Award, recognizing her for being a model student as she earned her high school equivalency diploma through the CSULB HEP/CAMP Program offered in partnership with Migrant Education Program of the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD).

She recently received the award in Sacramento during a conference of the National HEP/CAMP Association, which includes universities, colleges and nonprofits that administer a HEP or CAMP. She is the only person in the nation to receive this year’s award.

Holguin, who was born in the city of Gomez Palacios, Durango, in Mexico, migrated to the United States in 2005. She began working as a housekeeper to help support her family. Along with her husband, she performed the arduous and sacrificing job of working in the crop fields of Oxnard during the strawberry-picking season. The back-breaking job allowed them to qualify in 2014 to be part of the Migrant Education Program in the LBUSD.

That led her to pursue the equivalency program at the CSULB site, where LBUSD Senior Interpreter Oscar Herrera, a CSULB alum, taught the HEP diploma test preparation class.

“Mrs. Holguin embodies the values, personal engagement and unconditional commitment that move HEP students to be true ‘writers’ of success stories in our community. She knows the meaning of hard work,” said Herrera, who noted she was a very active participant in class, contributing with thought-provoking discussions and serving as an inspiration to her classmates.

HEP and CAMP, both programs highly supported by the Director of CSULB HEP/CAMP, Rafael Topete, can be truly life-altering, assisting students who are migrant or seasonal farmworkers, or children of such workers, in receiving a higher education.

Maria Holquin
Maria Holquin

Through the program Holguin was given the opportunity to resume her education goals and was a student of CSULB’s HEP preparation class. HEP is commonly known as the GED, general education diploma.

She enrolled in the HEP program in October 2015 and received her high school equivalency diploma the following May. She was the very first to complete the program during that school year and, to further her success story, she also encouraged her husband to register for HEP and he too has received a high school equivalency degree.

A parent volunteer at Burcham Elementary School, Holguin is very actively involved in various parent advisory groups in the local community. She is currently pursuing higher education in Long Beach City College.

–Shayne Schroeder