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[Congressional Record: October 17, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E1906]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []



                         HON. MICHAEL M. HONDA

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, October 16, 2002

  Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the achievements of a 
remarkable man, Francisco Jimenez. Born to Mexican migrant farm 
workers, he has become a professor of Modern Languages at Santa Clara 
University, an acclaimed author, and the winner of numerous awards 
including this year's National Professor of the Year Award. He is a 
credit to Silicon Valley, to California, and to our nation.
  At the age of 4, Professor Jimenez crawled under a fence crossing the 
border between Mexico and America with his family. They made their way 
to the San Joaquin Valley where they picked strawberries in Santa Maria 
during the summer, grapes in Fresno during September, and cotton in 
Corcoran and Bakersfield during the winter. Working from sunrise to 
sunset, the entire family made only $15 a day by following the harvest 
throughout the year. The family, which eventually grew to nine 
children, lived in one room shacks and tents without electricity or 
running water. When they visited the local dump, they collected 
discarded clothes, wood for floors, and Francisco Jimenez would pick up 
  As a result of his family's illiteracy, persistent poverty, and 
transient lifestyle, Professor Jimenez' education was sporadic at best. 
He struggled to keep up with his classmates, was labeled ``mentally 
retarded'' by one of his teachers, and flunked first grade. His 
classmates were unforgiving and often cruel. Nevertheless, he loved 
school. His alternatives were spending the day in his family's shack or 
working in the fields, an experience his brother, Roberto, lived every 
  Mr. Jimenez's sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Lema recognized Francisco's 
desire to learn and helped him with his English during lunch. 
Unfortunately, not long after connecting with Mr. Lema, Francisco's 
family needed to move again to follow the harvest. Mr. Jimenez 
continued his education by teaching himself using as a guide the 
discarded books he found at the dump.
  Eventually, he and his brother were able to get jobs working for a 
janitorial company. The stable job allowed him to stay in school. His 
junior year in high school, an INS agent entered his classroom and 
arrested him as an undocumented immigrant. He and his family were 
deported to Mexico, but returned only weeks later with visas. After his 
return, Francisco went on to become the student body president of his 
high school and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. A guidance counselor 
recognized his talent and helped him obtain the scholarships and 
student loans he would need to attend Santa Clara University. He became 
a U.S. citizen during his junior year in college.
  Francisco Jimenez went on to receive his Masters from Santa Clara 
University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is the author of 
the award winning book, ``The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a 
Migrant Child,'' which tells the story of his childhood experiences. 
Before accepting a professorship at Santa Clara University, he taught 
at Columbia University and the University of Cincinnati. While his 
dedication to teaching is worthy of praise in and of itself, he has 
been recognized locally and nationally for his skills. Santa Clara 
County gave him the Dia del Maestro Teacher of the Year Award and Santa 
Clara University awarded him the Dave Logathetti Award for Excellence 
in Teaching among others. I am privileged to represent a man who can 
now add to this exceptional list of honors, the National Professor of 
the Year Award.
  Professor Jimenez was given the award because of his outstanding 
teaching. He tailors his lessons to his students' backgrounds and works 
with them one on one. He tries to instill in each of them a global 
consciousness and an understanding of the human condition. Moreover, he 
believes it is important to bridge the gap between the university and 
society. To achieve this, he visits communities of migrant farm workers 
to talk to them about education. As a leader of the Hispanic community 
and an advocate of human rights, he is concerned with the current anti-
immigration backlash, particularly efforts to deny education to the 
children of undocumented immigrants.
  Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, please join me in honoring Professor 
Francisco Jimenez for being awarded the National Professor of the Year 
Award. He has dedicated his life to others and his achievements reflect 
his dedication. He is a citizen of the world who I am humbled to call a 


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