Student project uncovers migrant stories

Project and exhibit in downtown studio captures interviews and photographs of 32 immigrants and their journeys

Forty five students across two classes at Paso Robles High School, CA are showcasing stories and large format photographs of persons who have migrated to Paso Robles from other countries after a seven week project now on exhibit at Studios on the Park. Participants, ranging in age from 15 through 57, shared their experiences immigrating from Mexico, Thailand, China, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria, El Salvador, and Vietnam.


  • Juan Campos
    Juan Campos
    A Dream Come True
  • Riken Ahir
    Riken Ahir
    The Business of a New Life
  • Glory Amida
    Glory Amida
    Finding Freedom
  • Alma Anguiano
    Alma Anguiano
    Juntos de nuevo: Together again
  • Valentina Banderas
    Valentina Banderas
    San Juan, Michoacan
    Risking it All
  • Bernadette Boddington
    Bernadette Boddington
    From Crazy Sao Paulo to Quaint Paso Robles
  • Maria Campos
    Maria Campos
    From the Ruins to Paradise
  • Carmela Castro
    Carmela Castro
    Sinaloa, Mexico
    Traveling for Two
  • Adrian Cervantes
    Adrian Cervantes
    Agua Caliente, Mexico
    Migration on the Mind
  • Jimmy Chen
    Jimmy Chen
    A new culture across the Pacific
  • Mingyang Chen
    Mingyang Chen
    Shenyang, China
    The Truth Behind “Freedom”
  • Maria Cruz
    Maria Cruz
    Torn Apart, But Still United
  • Octavio Garcia
    Octavio Garcia
    Oaxaca, Mexico
    An American dream come true
  • Marilu Gomez
    Marilu Gomez
    Arteaga, Michoacán
    From Mexico to California
  • Maria Jaimes
    Maria Jaimes
    The Emotional 1,889 Mile Journey
  • Miguel Lara
    Miguel Lara
    Sacrifice and a work ethic pays off in the end.
  • Belyn Magdonal
    Belyn Magdonal
    The journey
  • Edwin Martinez
    Edwin Martinez
    Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    From El Salvador to Paso Robles
  • Octavio Meraz
    Octavio Meraz
    Sinaloa, Mazatlàn
    Leaving Family Behind
  • Everardo Morales
    Everardo Morales
    El Salvador
    No Other Option
  • Gabriela Mowery
    Gabriela Mowery
    Ameca, Jalisco, Mexico
    An immigrant since eight
  • Lucas Padilla
    Lucas Padilla
    Turn of Events: Lucas's story on Immigration
  • Juan Padilla
    Juan Padilla
    Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    Fleeing for a future
  • Methawadee Pattanathongdee
    Methawadee Pattanathongdee
    Bangkok, Thailand
    The story about Methawadee Pattanathongdee’s trip from Thailand to Paso Robles.
  • Gonzalo De la Pena
    Gonzalo De la Pena
    Cancun, Mexico
    Dealing out Disaster
  • Doraneli Rocha Cardenas
    Doraneli Rocha Cardenas
    Doraneli Rocha Cardenas
    Cardenas and her trip for a Better Future
  • Chelcy Salvador
    Chelcy Salvador
    Quezon city, Philipines
    New adventures await
  • Rosa Idalia Sanchez
    Rosa Idalia Sanchez
    The Journey
  • Noe Santacruz
    Noe Santacruz
    A permanent vacation to america
  • Jose Vargas
    Jose Vargas
    The Story of José Vargas
  • Mauro Fierro
    Mauro Fierro
    Escaping the violence and the poverty
  • Vy Minh
    Vy Minh
    In her own words

Students interviewed and photographed the immigrants above in a seven week project needing Google apps, voice recordings, camera equipment, and meetings in libraries or Starbucks shops.

“Some are English learners in classes at Cuesta College’s County Campus, some are relatives or neighbors of students, and a few are students themselves. Some have already established themselves in the community,two are teachers in the school district, and one arrived this past April,” according to a Geof Land, Social Studies teacher at PRHS.

Students realized early they were onto something big.

“I was not fully aware of the great depth of sacrifice and the immense sorrow people face to come here,” ninth grade journalist Natalia Bogdan wrote. “This is an opportunity to tell the truth about immigrants, and their stories of leaving family, often escaping grinding poverty and dangerous violence, to start over in a new country.”


Geof Land and Jeff Mount

The project spawned from teacher Geof Land’s grade 10 unit on world migrations. He joined forces with journalism teacher Jeff Mount and 30 first year journalism students to interview and photograph the 32 participants. Most of the interviews and communications occurred in Spanish.

Students were hearing from Mexico within days of the release that family and friends were viewing and respecting their work.

The exhibition runs at Studios on the Park through the end of June. Students, teachers, project participants and parents will be on hand Opening Night May 20, 2016 at 5 p.m.



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