Migrant Education Program welcomes new tutor
Elvia Reyna has come full circle.
Having been in the migrant education program in Montgomery County as a child, she can easily relate to the students in her job as the new Migrant Education tutor for Clark County Public Schools.
Reyna was born in Texas but moved to Kentucky while she was still an infant; her parents are from Mexico. At 27, she is the youngest of eight children.
Reyna grew up in Mount Sterling, graduated from Montgomery County High School and then went on to Morehead State University to study sociology.
“I went through a lot of majors actually when I was in college,” Reyna said. “At first, I wanted to be a teacher, and then I did a Spanish major, and then I did a criminology major. And then I landed on sociology just because it was more generalized… learning about why people do things or why society is the way society is. So that’s just what piqued my interest in sociology.”
Before coming to CCPS, she worked in the foster care sector, working for Benchmark Family Services in Morehead and then moving to Gateway Children’s Services in Mount Sterling. This year will be her first time working in a school setting.
“When we first came here, of course, we knew very little English, so we were in the migrant program,” Reyna said. “… I think it was just going back to my roots.”
Reyna is currently settling into her new role; she officially started the position a little over a month ago. Reyna said she has enjoyed working with the students so far.
“I just want these kids to better themselves,” Reyna said. “I know their parents work hard to give them a better life, just like my parents worked hard to give me a better life. So, I want them to grasp every opportunity they can here. It’s never a bad thing to have help or ask for help. So I want these kids to know they are very fortunate to have this opportunity.”
Reyna works with any student who needs tutoring in the Migrant Education Program, which means she could work with a kindergarten student up to a senior in high school.
Reyna said the students have been the best part about her job so far. There are nearly 100 students in the program this year, and that number is expected to continue to grow.
“Just knowing that, hopefully, they’ll take away something from this program, just because I know I did when I was little,” Reyna said. “These kids are our future… I want successful kids so they can become successful, functioning adults in our society.”
Reyna said it’s also interesting to see how different this generation of students is in comparison to her generation and others.
In her first week on the new job, Reyna had her students fill out an “about me” worksheet, and one of the questions asked students to name what they want to be when they “grow up.”
One young student’s answer made her laugh, Reyna said.
“He picked either a police officer or a YouTuber,” she said. “… Today’s generation is striving to be a YouTuber… that’s great. He would make a lot of money, maybe even more than a police officer… this little boy is very charismatic. He could have a YouTube channel, and people would watch it, so I just thought that was funny.”
Outside of work, Reyna enjoys camping with her family, hiking and spending time with her cats and her boyfriend. Reyna is also involved in the ladies group at her church, Sugar Grove Christian Church in Owingsville. She is also a board member of Sterling Health Solutions in Mount Sterling.
“I’m proud of that because I feel like they’re doing amazing things,” she said.
As she continues to get into the groove of things at her new job, Reyna said she would like to give a piece of advice to her students.
“Make good choices,” she said. “That’s what I tell my nieces and nephews whenever I drop them off at school. I would always yell out the window, “make good choices…” That’s the last thing they hear from me.
“I was in their shoes once… I know we think we know it all, but really, we don’t until we’re older, and even then, we still can learn some things. So make good choices.”
Reyna said she also hopes to spread the message of why the migrant education program is so important.
“It’s important because these people get the help that they wouldn’t normally get,” she said.