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EAST ALDINE: Community Forum introduces new faces

NORTHEAST – The East Aldine District held their quarterly Community Forum last Thursday at BakerRipley, and used the opportunity to introduce several new educational leaders to the community.

The meeting was chaired by East Aldine’s Richard Cantu, who introduced Jometra Hawkins, the Community Developer representative for BakerRipley, and Diana Del Pilar, the principal of the new Avalos P-Tech high school, part of the Lone Star College’s new building. Also speaking was the dean of the Lone Star College East Aldine campus, Luis Lucio.

The lunch meeting started with everyone present introducing themselves, and their affiliation.

Jometra “Jo” Hawkins spoke first, about her personal history, and then her “Vision for this Community.” As a representative of BakerRipley, they see their goal to connect individuals to opportunities, so they can reach their full potential. She said, “Everyone has something to contribute.” It is important to BakerRipley to recognize the resources in the community, and encourage their usage toward a productive community. Her mantra is “Earn. Learn. Belong.”

Diana del Pilar was raised and educated in Aldine, and sees her life story as a progression to success possible for everyone in Aldine. Through computer programming skills she learned at Carver High School, she was able to use this as a stepping stone to a successful career, first in corporate life and then in teaching. Her goal, as the principal of the new Avalos P-Tech high school, is to give others the same opportunities to excel and succeed. Pilar told her story in a parable of “Windows. Mirrors. Doors” where you see opportunities, you don’t look at yourself as incapable, and you step through to new skills and opportunities. She illustrated this concept with the history of her family, immigrants from Mexico that took full advantage of opportunities in Aldine and America. She expects the skills taught at the new Avalos P-Tech high school to be a stepping stone for others.

P-Tech, or Pathways in Technology High School, is an innovative program that prepares you for college and high-demand, high-skilled and high-wage careers. Students have a choice of four career paths:

— Computer Networking and Cybersecurity

— Inspection Technology

— Teaching

— Paralegal More information is available at avaloshs.aldineisd.org.

P-Tech is a partnership with Lone Star College. The new dean of the East Aldine campus, Luis Lucio, spoke about the courses that will be offered, including welding, education courses (introduction to teaching and special populations), paralegal, English/Spanish Interpreter program, accounting, and more. He said that the campus plans on introducing Saturday and evening classes in the near future.

Lucio emphasized how the LSC-EA campus is integrating with the community, participating in many events such as National Night Out, Little Free Library, Dia De Los Muertos Festival, and a Health and Wellness Fair.

The enthusiasm of each of the speakers was evident, and well received by the community.