AVANCE Holds Adult Education Graduation

Family, friends, board members, and staff celebrated the success of the 16 students who participated in the 2017 AVANCE GED graduation ceremony at Southwest Schools-Mangum Center on June 15. Fourteen graduates from the Early Head Start Pasadena High School program were also recognized.

The ceremony began with Board Member Sheila Briones, who led de Pledge of Allegiance followed by AVANCE Executive Director Luz Flores opening remarks. Flores congratulated graduates for their hard work and dedication and encouraged them to continue their path in education. She also recognized members of the staff for earning their Bachelors and Masters Degrees while remarking that AVANCE is a college bound agency.  

“Adult education students overcome all kinds of obstacles to achieve their dreams,” according to GED instructor Dr. Linda Pattin.

Executive Director, Luz Flores presented diplomas. Board members Sheila Briones Bob McCallister, AVANCE staff Kristi Mireles, and Cindy Tran congratulated each graduate as they walked across the stage.

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During the event, the two guest speakers challenged the graduates to think beyond the GED certificate. Former AVANCE Executive Director José Villarreal delivered the commencement address. During his speech, he encouraged graduates to recognize the importance of purpose, to recognize and to persevere in your purpose no matter what has taken place in the past. He added that it is important to also recognize and utilize the resources in your community.

Such is the case of GED graduates Vanessa Leon (26) and Cynthia Ocampo (20) who shared with the audience the impact of the program in their lives. Both students shared examples of the program’s transformation from difficult situations into positive advancements. Leon will attend Houston Community College (HCC) and will pursue a certificate in Billing Coding while Ocampo will pursue a degree in nursing from Lone Star College.

Among the many graduates in the event, Eduardo Cruztitla (23) had to drop out of school to become a father at an early age. He came to AVANCE in April then he took the GED classes and exceled in all subjects. He is now enrolled at a training center for law enforcement to become a peace officer. His ultimate goal is to become a police officer.

“Find a place that will support you and push you to be a better person,” he stated. “So far in life, your parents have often chosen the communities for you. But going forward, this is going to be more of your responsibility for you and your family.”

In his closing statement, Board member Bob McCallister urged students to remain open to all opportunities, and to maintain a focused collaboration in this rapidly changing world.

Congratulations Class of 2017!