2022 Lifetime Service Award Winner
Mrs. Diana Alejos
Johnny Economedes High School
Mrs. Diana Alejos has served the migrant community for over 17 years. During that time, she has impacted and influenced the lives of countless students and families. Mrs. Alejos, being a migrant farm worker herself, traveled to Michigan, Delaware and New Jersey where she worked with cucumbers, cherries and apples. Those experiences have allowed her to understand the struggles and triumphs her migratory students and families face each year. She has dedicated herself to not only serving her students and families, but also the migrant community through outreach and awareness.
Throughout her career in migrant education, she has implemented numerous student programs such as the Sky’s the Limit Migrant Student Club. She was instrumental in the production of the Harvest of Dreams play based on the life of one of her students and the documentary feature by Umberto Romano The Harvest. She has coordinated with her city and Migrants in Action to establish a citywide proclamation on the dangers of Pesticides. She further organized her students to develop, coordinate and perform a student play in the district titled “El Moscas Y Los Pesticidas”, which was also performed in the Pharr Convention Center in front of over 1,500 students and staff from across the Rio Grande Valley.
A parent writes, I don’t know much about the college application process, but I'm glad Mrs. Alejos was there to guide my kids and I admired the way she would advise my children about college, applying for scholarships, and their academics. It was an unexpected turn of events that took us back to the farm work life; however, it was all part of God’s master plan. Everything happened for a reason and I’m grateful it did, especially for all the time Mrs. Alejos took to guide most of my kids. All of this is appreciated as a parent.
Another parent writes, one of my biggest blessings has been witnessing 6 of my 7 children obtain their high school diploma and continue their education. It takes a village to raise a child and Ms. Alejos was most definitely a part of that village. Due to the lack of knowledge, my husband and I were not able to assist our children with their college and scholarship applications. That is where Ms. Alejos came in with her expertise and I am eternally grateful to her who guided my children throughout the process from beginning to end. Although we didn’t understand the process, Ms. Alejos made sure we knew our daughters were taken care of. By the time we knew it, my husband and I were sitting at dinners where my daughters were being recognized for their academic achievements and being awarded multiple migrant scholarships. My children have achieved what my husband and I were not able to.
A student shares, I needed help applying for the National Migrant Farmworker Baccalaureate Scholarship. It was the summer after my freshman year in college, and I reached out to Mrs. Alejos for guidance. She extended her immediate help and even took the time to write a lengthy and detailed recommendation letter. I ended up receiving the National Migrant Farmworker Baccalaureate Scholarship, a $30,000.00 scholarship, that helped me with my bachelor’s and later with my master’s degree. Without the help of Mrs. Alejos, I don’t know where I would be or where my siblings would be. Three of us have attained a bachelor’s degree and two of us have gotten our master’s degrees. The impact Mrs. Alejos made in our lives will continue to transcend generations.
As per the chair of the National Association of State Directors Scholarship Committee, Johnny G. Economedes High School has had the most Albert Lee Wright, Jr., Scholarship Honorees from any one school in the Nation, due in no small part to the excellence in Guidance Counseling they receive from Ms. Alejos and the Sky’s the Limit Migrant Club. From students like Anna Maldonado in 2007 to Giselle Gonzalez Chavez in 2022, who was recently featured on CBS Saturday Morning as she began her journey in post-secondary education, countless Johnny Economedes High School migratory students have benefitted from Ms. Alejos’ encouragement and wisdom.