The “Spartan” Army: Mulberry Students Forge a Path to Michigan State University

The “Spartan” Army: Mulberry Students Forge a Path to Michigan State University

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Photo of Mulberry High student with a Michigan State University flag

The students from Mulberry’s migrant community have often been defined by their unwavering resilience, and pursuit of success.

It’s no surprise, then, that many are earning the title of Spartan.

Last week, Mulberry High announced that five students — Rebecca Martinez, Nayelie Pineda, Jeanette Rocendo, Gisselle Chavez Santiago, and Luz Vasquez — had all been accepted to Michigan State University (home of the Spartans).

Photo of Luz Vasquez, Rebecca Martinez, Gisselle Chavez Santiago and Jeanette Rocendo

From left: Luz Vasquez, Rebecca Martinez, Gisselle Chavez Santiago and Jeanette Rocendo

Photo of Nayelie Pineda

Nayelie Pineda

At the same time, another student from Mulberry — Estela Lucas, who attends Summerlin Academy — also received her nod from MSU.

Photo of Estela Lucas

Estela Lucas

The PCPS to MSU pipeline is the result of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), a U.S. Department of Education initiative available to students with migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds.

CAMP provides financial and academic assistance to about 2,000 students each year, helping them transition to university life and complete their first year of studies.

Dani Higgins, a PCPS migrant interventionist based at Mulberry High, said our district has established a particularly successful relationship with Michigan State’s CAMP program — inviting recruiters to speak with high school seniors via Zoom, and have virtual college visits and admissions sessions with students and their families.

“I encourage my students to apply because of the support and heavy financial aid,” Higgins said. “They are hardworking and determined to succeed!”

Through CAMP opportunities, PCPS students have also been accepted to the University of South Florida, Abraham Baldwin College, Valdosta State University and Western Michigan University, among other schools.

Higgins said six of her Mulberry High graduates are currently enrolled at Michigan State. She is proud to see that number grow.

“They’re amazing kids,” Higgins said. “I’m astounded by what they can do.”

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