March 1, 2019 by HCDE-Texas
The Teaching and Learning Center supported the Youth Symposium in Feb. 22 as more than 650 teens and their parents attended the career exploration day at Moody Gardens in Galveston. The day is sponsored annually in collaboration with the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators Conference.
Colleges provided information booths and career professionals supplied breakout sessions in areas ranging from medicine to the military. Several motivational speakers opened the symposium. Parents were supported through a parent roundtable discussion which focused on the rigors and routines of college and offered mentorships.
“We’re concerned about engaging with our local students and informing them of their options,” said Frances Watson-Hester, senior director for TLC. “Also, our data supports that some kids that make it to college don’t know how to navigate once they get there. When parents haven’t attended, they often don’t know either.”
The TLC division’s primary mission is providing support for educators, but Hester stressed the need to also support local students by letting them hear about career options outside the school day.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn something new,” said Galveston Independent School District senior Barb Goodeaux, 18, an aspiring youth counselor.
Goodeaux will be a first-generation college student and admits she didn’t have the best childhood, but she’s using those experiences to begin her path to help others.
HCDE Assistant Superintendent for Education and Enrichment Kimberly McLeod, who also served as board president for TABSE this year, said the turnout for the symposium was the largest in history, with students attending from Houston, Aldine, Galveston and Manor school districts as well as Provision Academy Charter School. TABSE provided two, $5,000 student scholarships to needy students in the foster care system.
“We wanted to provide access for the students to meet people who can teach and guide them and give them hope for the future by providing support resources,” McLeod said.