Each year, more than 1,200 adults attend AAMA Adelante classes and approximately 200 students receive the GED certificate in graduation ceremonies held in February and August.
Through these courses, students move forward to better opportunities for themselves and their families. And many, like Isabel, are inspired to become leaders.
A resident of Houston’s East End for nearly two decades, Isabel had heard about AAMA, but didn’t know much about it. When her son Belisario began having trouble in high school, she thought AAMA might be able to help and decided to learn more.
“He needed his GED and nowhere else was working,” she said. So Belisario enrolled in AAMA’s GED program and, in spite of the challenging classes, he earned his GED within three months. His mother was so impressed with his success that she enrolled in the same class with the same teacher, Wendell Webster, a few years later.
Although her English skills were limited, she was determined to complete the course in English instead of Spanish. “I wanted to understand my kids at the dinner table,” Isabel said. She credits her teacher for encouraging her when the work was hard and helping her to reach her goal.
And when Isabel walked across the stage with 100 other AAMA GED graduates, her sister-in-law Jessica decided she could do it too. The next semester, Jessica was in Webster’s GED class. At first she struggled, but she too persevered and completed the program in just a few months. At AAMA’s next GED graduation, Jessica walked across the stage as class valedictorian.
Both Isabel and Jessica plan to continue their education at local colleges. While Isabel’s ultimate goal is to be a teacher, she is quick to point out that enrolling in that first class at AAMA was a very personal decision.
“People had always told me I should go to school,” Isabel said. “But I did it for myself. That’s very important.”