SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

The migrant education program’s speech and debate tournament challenged many students.

Marian Andrade, a student, said “If it wasn’t for the teachers I wouldn’t be here.”

The program was created to help students of migrant parents. The tournament is only one part of it, other programs offered include mentoring.

Maria Garcia helped organize the speech and debate tournament at Santa Maria High School on Saturday. Around 400 students attended from 13 regions including Sacramento, Merced, Fresno Santa Barbara,  and Kern County.

Garcia said, “The program for migrant education is to support the students of farm workers that move about following the seasonal crop.”

Garcia said many times students of parents who live a mobile lifestyle tend to miss out on lessons or time at school. The program is intended to help keep them on track and help students excel.