Persistence Helps Adult Student Bike the Distance to Gain GED, State Award

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February 15, 2019 by HCDE Communications

GED student Silvia Cruz, 58, rode her bike nine miles each way to her class at Harris County Department of Education last year and ultimately earned her high school equivalency degree.

Her persistence literally paid off this month as she received a $500 check from Burlington English along with the “English as a Second Language Persistence Award” through the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE). The nonprofit provides professional development, networking and state-wide recognition to adult education programs in Texas.

HCDE Adult Education Manager May O’Brien nominated Cruz for the award after learning about Cruz’s dogged determination to get to class. Through heat, humidity and rain, the Mexico native braved the elements and served as a role model to her fellow students as she logged in 473 class hours.

Cruz attended classes at the Spring Branch Family Development Center as an ESL adult learner and Memorial Assistance Ministries for GED classes, two of the 50-plus community locations where HCDE holds adult education and workforce classes. Teacher Rosie Coleman called her student an inspiration to her fellow students as she assisted them as a peer tutor.

Although Cruz couldn’t attend the TALAE Conference to claim her award, she got the proverbial “check in the mail” after moving to her new home in New Mexico.
O’Brien said Cruz expressed her gratitude for the award via phone.
Each Texas region awards one “persistence” award to an ESL student who is an exceptional student, according to O’Brien.

“The coastal region is quite competitive for the award because it serves more than 50 percent of adult learners of the whole state,” she said.

Adult Education Director Stephanie Ross explained that HCDE Adult Education offers 10,000 adults the opportunity to go back to school each year through its flexible scheduling that includes morning, afternoon, evening and online or distance learning. GED, ESL and workforce training classes help adults gain the skills necessary to take advantage of better job opportunities or move into higher education.

For more information about adult education classes, go to

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