Adversity did not stop 37 ambitious students being recognized for their outstanding achievements as adult learners. Stories of struggle and rebound were abundant at the Harris County Department of Education National Honor Society 2012 induction ceremony on Dec. 12. Still, the power of their dreams is stronger.
The National Adult Education Honor Society recognizes adult learners who excel as leaders and overcome difficult circumstances to pursue adult learning successes. Inductees also visibly improve their lives and others through learning.
Students are nominated for induction into the honor society by their teachers and live in neighborhoods through greater Harris County. Students are given positive recommendations for employment and educational advancement recommendations as result of the inductions. They receive a pin and certificate at the ceremony. GED graduates receive a gold honor cord to wear during commencement.
“Our adult students are dedicated and eager to learn when they come into our classes,” said HCDE Adult Education Director Eduardo Honold. “There are so many success stories, and we are honored to educate the 10,000 adults we serve each year.”
HCDE serves students through its Adult Education Irvington Learning Center, 6515 Irvington, and from learning centers and classrooms located in urban and suburban areas such as Spring Branch, Katy, Pasadena, Baytown, Klein, Cy-Fair and Galena Park. In total, 65 satellite locations in 15 school districts serve the adults.
Classes include English as a second language, citizenship, workplace literacy, adult basic education and GED preparation.
For more information about classes, go to www.hcde-texas.org or 713-692-6216.
The following students were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society at HCDE in 2012: Mayra Aguilar-Perez, Nancy Kaye Allen, Zooleyka Antonio, Ana Ruth Arellano, Maria Argueta, Claudia Ayala, Rosalinda Botello, Jacqueline Briggs, Carolina Cabrera, Christina Cantu and Elizabeth Carmona. Other inductees are Virginia Chavez, Tiyanna Clark, Amada De La Torre, Maria Dominguez, Olga Garcia, Wilfredo Guevara, Bao Chi Hoang and Stephen Hommel, Amirali Maknojia, Jose Delfino Martinez, Celsa Munoz Olvera, Maria Luisa Ortiz and Saleema Rahmatullah. More inductees include Adelaida Ramirez, Jose G. Ramirez, Griselda Reyna, Angelica Rivas, Victor Rodriguez, Bijana Sharma, Mareli Torres, Shameka Tyler, Mary Vargas, Veronica Vazquez-Mota, Flor Velasquez Torres, Krzysztof Zakrzewski and Guadalupe Zuniga-Vargas.
Mary Vargas (77502) Pasadena, Texas:
Mary Vargas’ journey to earn her GED started seven years ago after dropping out of school at age 15 to marry. Her four children and husband came first. Although she never gave up, sometimes there were gaps in her ability to attend classes because of work. In September 2012, she earned her GED. No one could be more proud than her Harris County Department of Education teacher Margie Dobbins.
Throughout the years as a mother, Vargas served as soccer coach, organized fundraisers for school and chaperoned on band trips. In times of need during Hurricane Rita and Ike, she volunteered at the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
As Vargas earned one of 37 honors at HCDE on Dec. 12, 2012, she dreams big. She will become a counselor or motivational speaker. With education, the sky’s the limit.
Wilfredo Lopez Guevara (77091) Houston, Texas:
Wilfredo was born in Honduras and received schooling through the fifth grade. He worked afterward to earn a living for his family and migrated to Houston five years ago. As a construction worker, he sends much of his wages to his family in Honduras.
In class, Wilfredo progresses through English as a second language courses and teacher Osias Mendoza appreciates his leadership. He reminds classmates of assignments deadlines and collects books and assignments without being asked. In group activities, he initiates the role of leader.
“Continuing my education has improved my belief in myself,” he said. “My father always tells me that if I get a good education, I will be successful. My parents are the special people that encouraged me to continue my education.”
Veronica Vazquez-Mota (77043) Spring Branch:
Growing up in Mexico was difficult for Veronica Vazquez Mota as her father abandoned the family when she was 5. She continued through school until 10th grade and moved to Houston in 2002.
As mother to four children, she also works in the evenings at a local hospital. At the urging of her children, she enrolled in ESL classes to communicate with their teachers. Today she has progressed to the low-intermediate level of language proficiency.
As a leader, Vazquez-Mota coordinates PTA meetings and fundraisers for her children’s schools.“My future plans are many, but the main ones are to work with two languages, earn more money and send my children to a university,” she said.
Two HCDE teachers nominated Vazquez-Mota for the award because of her commitment to education and helping others: Sandra Stevens and Simone Chiles.
Bao Chi Hoang (77072) Alief:
Bao Chi Hoang says that almost everyone in the world has dreams. Some want to have a new house. Others like to become the president. Still others wish to win the lottery. “With me, everything in life should be simple,” he said. “So I only dream about a happy family. I think that learning more English, getting a good job and having time with the people I love is my dream. I hope it will come true.”
Teacher Gwen Montano says Hoang, 45, came to the United States from Vietnam about 20 years ago but never had time for class until this year because of work.
“For many years, he single-handedly supported his parents and siblings by working seven days a week,” Montano said.
Hoang learned English by watching TV. He gained his citizenship. As the only Asian student in a classroom of Hispanic English-language learners, he is enthusiastic about diversity and greets his classmates with handshakes each day.
“Chi Personifies excellence as a student and is a model immigrant citizen,” said his teacher. “He is a dedicated hard worked pursuing his American Dream.”
About HCDE: Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 26 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, and Head Start and Early Childhood Intervention programs. We offer purchasing procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support. Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at www.hcde-texas.org.
Adult learners are honored by Harris County Department of Education and inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society. The ceremony held on Dec. 12, 2012 at HCDE celebrated the accomplishments of 37 adult learners who overcame adversity and displayed leadership in gaining their education. Left: HCDE County School Superintendent John E. Sawyer; student Bao Chi Hoang (77072) Alief; student Mary Vargas (77502) Pasadena; and HCDE Adult Education Director Eduardo Honold.
Carol E. Vaughn, Communications/Media Relations Manager
Harris County Department of Education
6300 Irvington Blvd., Houston TX 77022
713-696-0756 office, 281-660-9205 cell