2014 Connect to Success Walk: Removing barriers towards graduation

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Former Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District students are once again on the path toward graduation after rejoining the district through the fifth annual Connect to Success Walk. The event took place Saturday, September 13.

Every year, the walk allows teams comprised of HCISD administrators, members of the Parental Involvement Department, and community leaders to visit the homes of each individual to discuss options for a graduation plan.

“Today we are reaching out to students that maybe have had some challenges in their lives and decided not to return to school,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos as he spoke to the teams. “We should be on a mission to break the poverty cycle here in Harlingen and ensure that kids are going to school, getting their education, doing what’s right, and becoming the responsible citizens that we need them to be. We are better off if we have an educated population, and we will not lose our footing if we continue to bring grassroots movements like Connect to Success to get our kids back in school.”

Before community members and HCISD staff headed out to knock on doors, Board President Greg Powers also took a moment to address the groups.

“This is a terrific program. If we could save one kid and get them back in school, it is worth it,” said Powers. “We have graduations every year, but I love going to graduation at KEYS Academy in particular because I have the opportunity to hear the testimonies of those kids who come back and finish school with the hardships that life gives them. It really touches your heart. It’s because of the people here today that get these kids back in, that they get the opportunity to change their lives for the better.”

The groups went to various homes to hear students’ stories, and offer encouragement as they discussed the steps they needed to take in order to accomplish their goals.

Rafael Lucio is one of several students that returned to HCISD as a result of the home visits on Saturday. Lucio is just one test away from attaining his high school diploma. He began classes the week following the event in order to pursue his dream of becoming a U.S. Marine.

“We want to make sure that all of our Harlingen students graduate. We are inviting them to our program that we have in the evening, called the Evening School of Opportunities. We have options for every single student, and we want to make sure that they have all the credits they need to graduate,” said Dr. Jose Luis Cavazos director of Parental Involvement/Dropout Prevention.

Four students registered with the district Saturday morning and presently, young men and women continue to return to HCISD with the help of the Connect to Success program.

The Connect to Success Walk is organized every year by HCISD’s Parental Involvement/Dropout Prevention department. The program is responsible for providing the community with programs that keep parents involved in their child’s education and stressing that students make education a top priority.

Parental Involvement also connects students to several HCISD offerings, including the Evening School of Opportunities, credit recovery, State of Texas assessment tutorials, ESL classes, and GED classes.

Individuals, who were unable to register during that time, can visit the HCISD Intake Center, located at 905 E. Tyler Ave. The goal of the event is to re-enroll students in high school, but ultimately, the district’s goal is to get graduation rates at 100 percent. By providing multiple options for students to graduate, the district’s goal is closer to becoming a reality every year.

To view photos of the event click here.

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