Miguel Salinas, an educator who has used his retirement to document and disseminate stories of migrant farm workers, was inducted into the Gervais Hall of Fame last month.
Salinas was the first Mexican to graduate from Gervais High School in 1966.

As a young student, he worked in the strawberry and hops fields alongside his parents after class, at night and during the summer. He went on to earn a master’s degree in education and credentialing for education administration. Salinas was part of the first team in the state to design bilingual education curriculum at Woodburn School District in 1970.

“He’s an advocate for Hispanic people in the entire Willamette Valley,” said Mike Solem, Gervais principal. “He’s created a historical roadmap, and it gives our students connections with their ancestors who they might not ever known had existed or been a part of making Gervais what it is today.”

Today, Gervais’s student population is nearly 70 percent Hispanic.

In October, Salinas and his wife launched texmexorusa.org, a website that shares historical research, stories and photos of the migrant experience in Oregon from the 1930s to today. Salinas and Lidia have more than a decade of research, which they continue to add to the website.

Salinas said his goal is to use his life experiences, professional training and skills to help other people to realize their potential in education, economics and civic engagement, one person at a time.

Each year, Gervais School District leadership honor two to four graduates who have gone on to do extraordinary things with their lives.

The 1966 Gervais yearbook lists Salinas as “best dressed” senior.