Dreams Do Come True “At Last”

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June 29, 2023 by HCDE Communications

Marcela Pineda has dreamed of wearing a cap and gown for two decades. The recent graduate of HCDE’s Adult Education High School Equivalency program dropped out of high school when she was 17 after having moved to the United States from Mexico. Economics drove her decision to leave high school for the workforce. Now, 20 years later she turned the tassel on her graduation cap and showed her children that anything is possible.

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“Today I see my dream come true after 20 years,” Pineda said at the graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 25. “I wanted my children to see that if I can do it, they can do it. In this country we have opportunity.”

Pineda joined nearly 50 other graduates at HCDE’s first in-person graduation ceremony since 2019. For many students, the walk across the stage represented the culmination of years of hard work and support from family and friends. For others, it was the beginning of a new journey into a better job, college, or trade school.

At Last” is a very fitting theme for our ceremony today. For many of these students it required them to work very hard, overcome obstacles at home, and at work,” said Dr. Eduardo Honold, senior director of HCDE’s Adult Education program. “Getting that high school equivalency diploma is very exciting and at the heart of what education is all about: getting people to succeed and take the next step in their lives.”

The ceremony, held at HCDE’s administrative conference center, featured traditional graduation components including having the graduates march to “Pomp and Circumstance” and an emotional, heartfelt speech by Jordan Rodriguez, class of 2023 Valedictorian. Rodriguez, who plans to enter the Information Technology field, remarked upon the challenges that many graduates faced during their journey, noting they shattered barriers and expectations while proving it is never too late to rewrite the narrative of their life.

“My dear fellow graduates, as we celebrate our personal victories let us also recognize the transformative power of education,” Rodriguez said. “Our GED certificate symbolizes not only academic achievement but also personal growth, resilience, and the pursuit of a better future. Armed with our newfound knowledge and skills, let us go out into the world to make a difference.”

HCDE Superintendent James Colbert Jr., said Adult Education graduation is one of his favorite days of the year, as the organization recognizes students for whom life got in the way of their high school diploma, and now, they get to finally walk across that finish line.

“The amazing thing about the students that walked across the stage today is their grit,” Colbert remarked. “There are so many people who dropped out of school or whatever happens, and they fall down and don’t get back up. What we saw today were the people that pushed themselves back up, finished, and walked across the stage. They are some of our best citizens in society for sure.”

To learn more about HCDE’s Adult Education programs, visit hcde-texas.org/adult-education.

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