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Fast Tracking Their Futures

Ericka Martinez works toward her GED at CHRISTUS Learning Center

In addition to the traditional ESL classes andEnglish-speaking GED classes, CHRISTUS Learning Center is now offering a hybrid ESL/GED class. Classes are held Mondays and Wednesdays with students splitting their time between the ESL class and the GED class.

Learning Center GED instructor Yolanda Hunt is partnering with ESL instructor Norma Vargas to teach this accelerated class. “We have three students in this initial class,” Hunt said. “They came to the program already knowing some English, so this integrated class allows for them to move through the process more quickly.”

Ericka Martinez together with her mother Esther recently arrived in Houston from Honduras. “Ericka aspires to go to college,” Hunt said. “This class will speed up the process of both taking and passing the GED, allowing her to apply for college programs sooner.” CHRISTUS Learning Center is truly a family affair for the Martinez family. Four years ago, Ericka’s father moved to Houston to get established before bringing his family over. He also went through the Learning Center program and secured his GED. Now, Ericka and her mother are taking the class together.

One method that Hunt and Vargas are utilizing for this new class is a weekly presentation in front of Vargas’ ESL class. “All of the content in the presentation is information that they need to know in order to pass the GED,” Hunt said. The students pair up for the presentation with one student presenting in English and the other student translating it into Spanish. “The presentation provides a challenge to them to see if they are comprehending the English to accurately translate it into Spanish.”

Also from Honduras, Yeffry Villeda-Caballero has joined the accelerated class to obtain his GED and join the police force. “We teach our students about the difference between a job and a career,” Hunt said. “We encourage them to see their time with the Learning Center as a path to a career. This new class will allow them to achieve their dreams sooner.”

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