Voices From the Lab: TFA Site Celebrates its Students

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EastSide University Village Community Learning Center (ESUVCLC) is a school, a community center, and a resource in one of Houston’s more impoverished neighborhoods. While the University of Houston and Texas Southern University all frame their skyline, Third Ward residents flock to the accredited courses offered by ESUVCLC, which are free thanks to several community grants. 

Held inside the Holman Street Baptist Church across the street, family and friends joined students and teachers for the Spring 2012 Awards Ceremony, a hallmark event that signals the end of every spring, summer and fall semester. Awards for Completion, Outstanding Achievement, and more are bestowed upon students who spent weeks in General Development Education (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), Spanish, Financial Literacy, Microsoft Office Skills and Computer Basics. 

“We have had our largest increase in students finding employment at ESUVCLC!” said Jackie Aguilar, who teaches Financial Literacy and ESL. “Spanish skills, computer skills, GEDs—these are the skills of the workforce!”

Our Texas Connects Coalition trainer Rebecca is first to present, as she is the Morning and Afternoon Computer Basics teacher. ESUVCLC Site Manager Bracy Johnson introduced Rebecca as a teacher who “enhances the overall atmosphere of the school.” But Rebecca gave the credit to her students, who are primarily first-time computer users: “Basic computer skills aren’t that basic if you’ve never used the computer before. These certificates are a great honor for me because these students came in knowing little to nothing. It’s really fun to teach them computers.”

Besides an education that can elevate their employment status, the students receive unfailing support from the entire school and community. When presenting awards, teachers often shared a funny anecdote, an inspiring moment or words of pride over individual students. “This next young man has no idea how much I wish for him to do well,” said Edward Jessie of his youngest GED Preparation student. One our previous Voices From the Labs, Kerri, was hailed as the “poster child for facing your fears.” The audience laughed with Rebecca as she told of one student’s constant pranks. “If I had a certificate for class clown, this man would have it,” she said.

“We don’t get anywhere without you [students],” Jackie said. “We would be a tool that sits in the shed and rusts.”

The ceremony also honored ESUVCLC partners with awards, including Technology For All. “Our relationships are friendships that last a lifetime, they care about what we do here,” said Bracy. “For them to extend their hand and resources—we appreciate that.”

The ceremony was celebrated with a homemade meal, to which everyone was welcome to meet and mingle in this community of learning.

Eastside University Village Community Learning Center is located in Houston’s historic Third Ward. Among other adult education projects, it holds regular GED, ESL and computer courses. For more information, call 713-747-9255 or visit at 3614 Holman St.

Source: Technology For All

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