A senior at won first place in the statewide Migrant Speech and Debate Competition in Sacramento last week.
Magaly Rodriguez, 17, advanced to the state level after winning the Ventura County competition and prevailing over 140 students from 22 schools.
"I was very shy before these competitions," said the teen who wrote her speeches herself. "But I got a lot of input from my teachers and my coach."
Rodriguez' coach is April Hill who is also the advisor of the speech and debate Team at .
"She was nervous and excited at first but she didn't think she stood a chance," said Hill. "She mostly agreed to do it for the experience."
Rodriguez, a Somis resident, credits Hill and her teachers for getting her through uncharted waters.
"For my persuasive speech, I got a lot of help with hand gestures," said Rodriguez. One of her speech topics was "No to the Sale of Human Organs."
The teen admits this initial exposure to public speaking was nerve-wracking. She said, "I literally had zero experience."
By the time she got to Sacramento, her confidence just skyrocketed as she made her way through 12 hours of rounds, again dominating over 250 students, all first place winners in their respective regions.
Rodriguez who is headed to California State University-Northridge this fall said, "I just kept psyching myself that I could do it as I tried to remember everyone's encouraging words back home."
The Moorpark Migrant Program is part of Ventura County Region 17, one of a network of migrant regions spread throughout the state. Migrant Education is a federally funded program designed to provide supplementary educational and support services to eligible migrant students. The Migrant Program serves students and families who work in the agriculture industry.