Going back to school as an adult requires grit and determination. Factors like age, health, children and work often affect the journey. Twenty-four students shared stories of strife and success as they were inducted by Harris County Department of Education into the Adult Education National Honor Society in December.
The event, held on Dec. 7, 2016, was an emotional hour filled with pride and gratitude as student leaders were commended by their teachers.
Included was a student from Galena Park who overcame drug problems and suffered from low self-esteem. Another 84-year-old student from Mexico dropped out of school in fourth grade to work to feed his family before attending HCDE’s learning center in Pasadena. A third Alief-area mother of five suffered domestic abuse but is determined to get an education to raise her boys.
The National Adult Education Honor Society recognizes adult learners who excel as leaders and overcome difficult circumstances to pursue adult learning successes. Inductees also visibly improve their lives and others’ through learning.
Students are nominated for induction into the honor society by their teachers and live in neighborhoods throughout greater Harris County. Students are given positive recommendations for employment and educational advancement recommendations as a result of the inductions. They receive a pin and certificate at the ceremony. GED graduates receive a gold honor cord to wear during commencement to recognize the honor.
“Our adult students are dedicated and eager to learn when they come into our classes,” said HCDE Adult Education Director Eduardo Honold. “There are so many success stories, but these students are recognized as leaders among their peers.”
The following students were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society at HCDE in 2016: Nancy Aguilar, Victoria Andrade, Maria Arias, Carolina Bustos, Eva Castillo, Marina Cebrian, Adela de la Cruz, Maria Dominquez, Joshua Doyle, Salvador Escobedo, Veronica Espinola, Astrid Gamarra, LaShanda Glass, Adolfo Gomez, Norge Gomez, Kelsey Hess, Jucelin M. Linares, Marlon Maitland, Yuri Mandujano, Maria D. Marcial-Gallardo, Job Neasbitt, James Quinn, Daniel Rodriguez and Shawnetta Talton.
Profiles of three inductees:
Salvador Escobedo, 84, Pasadena, (teacher Evelyn Steptoe):
When Salvador Escobedo first walked through the doors of HCDE Adult Education’s Sunset location, he had a fourth grade education and knew very little English. Now, due to remarkable attendance and dedication, Salvador reads and writes English very well and is teacher Evelyn Steptoe’s nominee for the National Honor Society Outstanding Learner award.
In his native Mexico, Salvador was not able to finish his studies because he had to work to help support his family. That teamwork spirit carried over into his GED and English as a second language (ESL) classrooms, according to Steptoe.
“Salvador has been a mentor to many of the students in the GED classroom,” Steptoe said. “He loves working in groups.”
Formerly a TV repairman, Salvador is looking into new career paths and is even considering enrolling in college to advance his options.
Josh Doyle, 26, Irvington Learning Center, (teacher Brigett Bentley):
Josh Doyle is an HCDE Adult Education student who broke the mold and excelled in his construction class. Before enrolling at HCDE’s 6311 Irvington location, Josh was a high school dropout from a family that did not produce many male role models; most men he knew were not successful, and some were incarcerated.
His teacher, Brigett T. Bentley, nominated Josh for the National Honor Society Outstanding Learner award because he not only showed extra dedication and zeal for learning but also shared his time with struggling classmates.
“Josh came to class daily with a sense of purpose, vigor and appetite to learn,” said Bentley. “He encouraged other students to have an open mind and saw them as team members rather than as individuals.”
Now that he has completed his six-week course, the Galena Park resident is applying to jobs and looking forward to making his family proud.
LaShonda Glass, 32, Alief, (teacher Barbara Booker):
As a mother of five boys, LaShonda Glass strives to lead by example and demonstrate the importance of education. Glass has overcome mountainous obstacles to get to where she is today, including homelessness, but her determination and resilience allowed her to persevere.
“I’m very determined and know that with a better education, life has so much more to offer,” said Glass.
Glass possesses natural leadership abilities in her current job as an office manager, as well as in the classroom. Her GED teacher Barbara Booker says Glass is always willing to assist other students in class.
“She grasps the concepts quickly and is willing to share what she learns with others.”
Glass dreams of one day owning her own company and says that dream, along with her five boys, keeps her motivated and positive.
About HCDE Adult Education: With a 30-year track record, HCDE Adult Education provides classes to adult learners with a goal to “learn to earn,” including adult basic literacy and math skills, GED, English as a second language and vocational training. Classes are held in 35 community locations throughout Harris and Liberty counties. Communities include Baytown, Alief, Channelview, Cy-Fair, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Katy, Klein, Pasadena, Sheldon, Spring Branch and Liberty. Corporations also benefit from HCDE services provided to English language learning employees aimed at improving productivity and safety in the workplace. For more information access http://www.hcde-texas.org/adulteducation or 713-692-6216.