Words of motivation, tears of joy and the sound of laughter were highlights of Harris County Department of Education’s Adult Education Graduation 2019 on May 18.
Commencement speaker Mike Temple, director for Gulf Coast Workforce Board, encouraged the 65 graduates with three pieces of advice: Be curious, always learn and look for the good jobs.
“Do what you like to do and want to do, but remember you always have to learn,” he said.
Temple pointed to jobs in medicine, technology and education as being in demand positions in the employment sector. Before leaving the stage, he urged the grads to be proud, happy and have fun.
New teacher Emmanuel Nieves-Aviles from the HCDE Baytown Learning Center handed out the diplomas and later talked about his own struggles learning English as a native Spanish speaker. The instructor provides classes in Spanish for GED students who are also learning English while studying for the GED. Many of his students have degrees and are professionals in their native countries but must start over when they come to America.
“I try to be a teacher but also a friend,” he said.
Handshakes and congratulations were delivered collectively by Temple and HCDE Board President Josh Flynn; board members Danyahel Norris and Richard Cantu; HCDE Superintendent James Colbert Jr.; assistant superintendents Kimberly McLeod and Jonathan Parker; and Adult Education director Stephanie Ross.
Valedictorian Allison Poindexter, 18, is a homeschool student who went back to get her GED in order to attend her college of choice. She gave words of inspiration and urged her fellow classmates to never give up their dreams.
“My speech was to remind people that they have a purpose and that they are loved and to tell people they have a future and will do great things with it,” she said.
Many of the students are continuing to attend workforce classes in the medical and construction fields offered through HCDE and Gulf Coast Workforce. For more information, go to www.hcde-texas.org/adult-education.