GED graduates celebrate

Over 200 GED graduates celebrated their accomplishment with family and friends at Houston Community College General Education Development Program commencement Wednesday, May 11, at the auditorium at HCC Central.

“It was really nerve wracking,” says Monica Hernandez referring to the course of study.  She left school more than a decade ago due to illness. “A lot of stuff I had forgotten since high school so I needed to re-teach myself how to keep up with my peers. It was like regular high school but with the difference that my teachers were more understanding.”

“This is a celebration for the students achieving this milestone and for them going on to the next phase of their education and their career,” said HCC Chancellor, Dr. Cesar Maldonado. “This is part of building that pipeline of success. By talking to students tonight I see that commitment in them. Some already have signed up for the next step of their education.”

One of those students is Angel Morris.

“The program at HCC helped me a lot. I want to continue at HCC to get an associate degree in business management and I want to open my own business,” said Norris. “Don’t be ashamed. As long as you have your education you can keep going after your goals.”

In one of the most moving moments of the ceremony, keynote speaker HCC Chief of Staff Melissa Gonzalez shared her memories of how the GED program impacted her future and that of her family. She remembered the flyer for GED classes she brought home from elementary school.  After seeing it, both her parents, who were migrant farm workers, registered for classes.

“That one decision was my special day. It changed our lives. Despite not having more than a sixth-grade education, despite the challenges, my parents’ motivation to break the cycle of us not becoming migrant workers was strong. I truly appreciate the support they gave each other,” said Gonzalez as her voice nearly broke.

At the ceremony, the HCC Foundation awarded three $1000 scholarships to three GED graduates so they could continue their education at HCC. Recipients were: Reza Khavari, Ariel Velosa and Brenda Carolina Sanchez.