EAST ALDINE – The Aldine community turned out last Thursday night, to “Meet the Dean” of the new Lone Star College – North Harris/East Aldine campus. The meeting was held at the BakerRipley Reunion Hall at the Town Center.
The East Aldine District sponsored the meeting, one of its quarterly Civic Connections, Community Forums.
Dr. Luis Lucio is the new dean, and one of the first employees of the new Lone Star College East Aldine campus, now under construction and set to open for classes in the fall.
Dr. Lucio gave a very personal and candid talk about his life story, emphasizing that he was a native of Aldine and was pleased to be returning to his “roots.”
Lucio attended Aldine schools in his youth, and is a graduate of MacArthur High School. He took classes at Lone Star College, and has two degrees from Sam Houston State University. He also holds a Doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Houston.
Many in the community remembered him when he taught at Oleson Elementary, his first teaching job, or as principal at Carrol Academy, where the school under Lucio’s leadership won notice as Best in State for Scholastic Reading, and Distinctions in Mathematics from the TEA.
Lucio’s specialty is bilingual education, both for teachers and students. He has held a number of positions where this was a positive influence. These include a position as Adjunct Professor at the University of St. Thomas, and a senior recruiter for the Houston ISD school district.
Lucio’s goals for the new college in East Aldine are student excellence, proficiency in bilingual education, and student retention.
A part of Dr. Lucio’s presentation was a candid review of his own life story, and credit to his mother, a single parent, for guidance in his life decisions, and to the Aldine Grown Your Own Scholarship program for opening his eyes to the opportunity to go on to a college education. He explained all of this in a revealing and heartwarming narrative, to show other families and students that they have the potential to succeed from their start in life in Aldine. He also mentioned that his family was originally from the Rio Grand Valley, and Mexico.
Lucio also spoke about his experiences growing up in Aldine, including a tragic car accident. After working at several local fast food establishments, Lucio had saved enough money for his first car, and was driving his friends home from an event in West Houston when he had an accident on Aldine Westfield. He lost control of the car making a turn, and his a utility pole, destroying the car and injuring three of his friends in the car and seriously hurting himself. He suffered a broken collar bone, internal bleeding, and head injuries that put him in Ben Taub hospital for two months, in a coma.
Eventually he recovered, but had to graduate from high school in a wheelchair.
Considering his accomplishments in education, and his background of growing up in Aldine, he summarized, “You did not make a bad choice when you chose me to head your new campus.”
Dr. Lucio then went on to show slides of the new Lone Star College – East Aldine Center building under construction, and pointed out that besides the facilities in the new two story building, it also has substantial parking, its own bus stop on Aldine Mail Route, an adjacent water feature and walking trail, and proximity to Keith Wiess Park with a new entrance from the Town Center.
Dr. Lucio said that the 2 story section of the building would house the academic functions, bookstore, offices, student lounge, and other support functions. The one story section of the building will house the workforce training classes, including building trades and welding. In fact, he said the whole welding department of the main campus is moving to the new East Aldine building. Dr. Lucio delivered his talk in a folksy, friendly manor, indicating the atmosphere that will prevail at the educational facility set in the Aldine neighborhood.
The program included a demonstration by karate students of the American Society of Karate, who hold classes in the East Aldine offices, and plan to have a program at BakerRipley.
After Dr. Lucio’s talk, he posed for pictures with many members of the community, and his family, who he had emphasized in his talk were responsible for his success. He specifically thanked the “four women in my life,” his mother, grandmother, sister, and wife.
The program finished with East Aldine District director Richard Cantu speaking about some of the development to come on the Town Center site, including a new supermarket, kid’s playground, and an office building for the District and the community.