For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Tammy Lanier, Director
Communications and Public Information
Cell: 281.543.7845 or Office: 713.696.0752

Carol Vaughn, Communications Manager
Communications and Public Information
Cell: 281.660.9205 or Office: 713.696.0756

An extraordinary graduation 2009:
30 HCDE Adult Education GED grads passing rigorous test are eager, diverse
Harris County Department of Education Adult Education GED valedictorian Allison Istre finds many things to be thankful for. She celebrates her successes as a student, new mother and recovering addict.

The 19-year-old scored in the upper 90 percentile in all areas of her GED. Three weeks ago she had a healthy baby boy named Wesley. Originally from Katy, she is successfully progressing through a drug rehab program for women headquartered in Spring Branch called Santa Maria Hostel Halfway House.

Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) provides GED classes for women in Santa Maria facilities. HCDE also hosts adult learning centers and 90 satellite locations for classes throughout Harris County.

Thirty students walked across the stage to gain their GED certificates at Harris County Department of Education on May 29. Since July 1, 2008, 191 students have obtained their GED certificates since September 2008.

The task of gaining a GED isn’t easy, said Harris County Department of Education Director Eduardo Honold. The Texas Education Agency reports that those who obtain scores high enough to earn a GED certificate outperform 40 percent of today's graduating high school seniors.

“By passing the GED Tests, our graduates meet rigorous standards in communication, information processing, problem solving and critical thinking,” said Honold. These are skills our students will need to continue with their education at the college level or get a good job in today’s increasingly demanding job market.”

HCDE GED Salutatorian Eduardo J. Correa is also enlisted in a rehabilitation program that provides GED classes through Harris County Department of Education. He also scored in the 90 percentile in all five of his GED tests. This summer he begins the next phase of his education at a San Jacinto College while he continues to undergo drug abuse treatment at Cenikor in Deer Park.

Correa, 19, says his journey through Cenikor has helped him understand that the energy put forth comes back to you. He calls that force the power of will.

“You reap what you sow,” said Correa, who wants to gain a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Valedictorian Istre told her fellow graduates spanning in age from their teens to 50s that they can overcome anything.

“I was addicted to the lifestyle that went with drug and alcohol addiction,” she said. “I believe that the things I overcame make me what I am today.”

GED teacher Maxceine David says Istre is the type of student who reaches out to others. After she passed her GED, she returned to David’s class to offer tutorials to fellow students.

Two other GED graduates were named honor graduates at graduation. They are Cory A. Gressett of Irvington Learning Center in northeast Houston and Kellie R. Martinez of Pasadena. In addition, Istre and Dora Martinez of Pasadena were inducted into the National Adult Education Honor Society.

The 30 HCDE graduates are: Irvington Learning Center—Patricia Alvarez, Josue Alviter, Rosalva L. Escoto, Cory A. Gressett, Laleea Homes, Nathalie Leyva, Maria A. Martinez, Kristy Marie Reighard, Marina Sanchez, Angie J. Trevino and Ricardo Villalpando; Alief Community Center—Laureen P. Sims; Pasadena—Alfa Cisneros, Leonides A. Hernandez, Dora Martinez, Kellie R. Martinez, Jennifer M. Mendoza, Jenny I. Porter; Baytown—Susie Ramirez; Galena Park—Kareen I. Rivera, Catalina C. Delgado, Francisca R. Duarte; Harris County—Adrien P. Bennett, Eduardo J. Correa, Kyle O. Gilley, Jesse G. Rozelle, James Slade; Spring Branch (Santa Maria Hostel)—Allison M. Istre, Jasmine Porter; Katy—Alice M. Espinoza

In addition to GED classes, HCDE offers multiple levels of English as a second language courses, adult basic education, adult secondary education, English literacy/civics and workplace literacy.

For more information about programs or locations for classes, call (713) 692-6216 or access

About Harris County Department of Education Adult Education: About 10,000 adult students are served yearly at the three adult education centers and 90 satellite locations throughout Harris County. Harris County Department of Education Adult Education programs reach out to students from numerous inner-city locations and from the suburbs of Katy, Alief, Baytown, Crosby, Galena Park, Huffman and Pasadena. In addition to ESL courses, classes are offered in GED, adult basic education, adult secondary education, English literacy/civics and workplace literacy. For more information, call (713) 692-6216
or access
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