May 29, 2018 by HCDE-Texas
At 58, Silvia Cruz rides her bike everywhere she goes and finds it liberating. She promised herself when she moved to America in 2015 that she would improve her health and learn everything she could about her new country.
On May 19, Cruz rode that bike 12 miles to her own GED graduation at Harris County Department of Education in northeast Houston. She made it just in time to grab her gown, get her photo taken and walk the stage.
The same bike delivered her to ESL and GED classes nine miles each way at the Memorial Assistance Ministries, one of 50-plus community locations where Harris County Department of Education holds adult education and workforce classes.
Before she moved to Houston to join her husband, she suffered a debilitating accident. While climbing onto a bus in her hometown in Mexico in 2013, someone pushed her. She spent the next month unconscious in the hospital. Upon release, she created her own rehab program and learned to use her limbs again. Finally, she learned to ride her bike.
Since the accident, Cruz never stopped propelling forward.
“I want to better my life,” she said. “I don’t want to be ignorant.”
Sometimes she feels frustrated that she can’t speak English quicker, that it takes her longer to translate the words. However, she remembers how far she has come since the fall that sent her tumbling into darkness.
“I want to learn more because I know I can help somebody else with their problems and encourage other people to continue with their lives.”
Rosie Coleman, Cruz’s GED teacher, said she admires her student’s diligence and her desire to help other classmates.
“She expressed her goal to become a psychologist in the United States,” Coleman said.
Even though that goal will lead to another long ride, Coleman is convinced her student can reach her destination.
HCDE provides free adult education classes in 65 community locations throughout Harris and Liberty counties. Classes include English as a second language, GED preparation and workforce development. Partnerships with churches and community centers allow adult learners to go back to school in their own communities. Neighborhoods include inner-city Houston, Cy-Fair, Goose Creek, Hardin, Klein, Liberty, Cleveland, Pasadena, Baytown, Galena Park, Spring Branch and Katy. For ESL, GED or workforce classes, go to www.hcde-texas.org/adulteducation or call 713-692-6216.